From its Nobel laureates to its literary festivals, modern-day Dublin lives up to its role as a literary capital. The question of whether Ireland experienced a cultural and literary Renaissance has received increasing scholarly attention in recent years. This book extends the discussion by engaging with the specific literary culture of its capital city. It begins with an argument for the internationalised literary culture of late medieval Dublin by an analysis of James Yonge's 'Memoriale'. The citizens of Dublin engaged with and actively read texts imported from London, as Dublin's own printing was limited. The book presents case studies that establish Dublin as an emerging city of Renaissance literature by focusing on Edmund Spenser's political and social connections and by examining the literature of complaint emanating from late Elizabethan Dublin. It analyses the constructed authorial personae of Richard Bellings, James Shirley and Henry Burnell residing in Dublin, and discusses the concepts of literary friendship. Sir James Ware's scholarly achievements are analysed and his extensive intellectual community are investigated, revealing an open-minded Dublin community. In addition to being a representative Renaissance activity, translation was harnessed in the country as an 'instrument of state', as shown by translations of Gaelic poetry. The Renaissance literary production in Dublin had a multi-linguistic character with Latin orations taking place in the Trinity College Dublin. The book also addresses the question of whether the English-language drama composed and staged in Restoration Dublin is most accurately described as Anglo-Irish drama or 'English drama written in Ireland'.
1 Centre or periphery? The role of Dublin in James Yonge’s Memoriale (1412) Theresa O’Byrne In the late summer of 1411, the Hungarian knight Laurence Rathold of Pászthó and Tar arrived in Dublin with his retinue. Setting foot on Dublin’s busy quayside, Rathold reached a significant milestone on a journey that had begun for him in the early months of 1409. The Hungarian was a pilgrim, one of many who sought out the shrine of St James at Compostela, and one of far fewer who visited a lesser-known pilgrimage site that was located on the edge of the known world
’. Yet constructing this print culture tells only one story of Dublin as a Renaissance city of literature. Dublin literary identities Authors used the literary identities they constructed to fashion themselves and their city, reflecting the literary societies present in Dublin in their writing. They idealised the capital city as a geographical location that could foster the fervent intellectual and textual activity associated with ‘Renaissance’. In her contribution to this volume, Theresa O’Byrne describes the composition of Memoriale by James Yonge, a legal clerk in
noght ben used’ (VII. 4303–7). Richard II himself (to whom Gower first dedicated the Confessio , before rededicating the revised version to Henry Bolingbroke) was the subject of rumours regarding his court's alleged debauchery. In his 1422 English adaptation of the Secretum secretorum , the Dublin notary James Yonge claimed that after Richard's second marriage, ‘Than regnyde avoutry and lechurie in hym and his howse-maynage, that al the roialme thanne rumourt and lothit for that rousty Synne’ (James Yonge, The Gouernaunce of Prynces , in Three Prose Versions of
that the first account of the Purgatory actually written in Ireland is one by James Yonge, an Anglo-Irish Dublin notary, and even he was employed by Laurence Rathold of Pászthó to record the Hungarian nobleman’s own 1411 visit to the site. 54 In the accounts of this sacred Irish place, the Gaelic-Irish are curiously absent, and the holy island is presented as an open territory inviting new and fitting inhabitants, stewards and adventurers. Like the Holy Land in European accounts, the