Complaint and reform in lateElizabethanDublin, 1579–94
In the late spring of 1593, an extensive memorandum concerning the
affairs of the kingdom of Ireland was delivered to William Cecil, Lord
Burghley and lord high treasurer of England. The fifty-three-page document, entitled ‘A breviat or sumiarie of the causes againste the lord
deputye’, had been authored by Robert Legge and outlined in stark and
expansive detail the corrupt practices engaged in by the chief governor
of Ireland at the time, William Fitzwilliam.1 Legge had sporadically held
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'.
these early chapters, establishing Dublin
as an emerging city of Renaissance literature. Hadfield examines the
intellectual culture of Dublin in the late sixteenth century. Focusing on
Spenser’s time in the city as secretary to Arthur, Lord Grey de Wilton,
the Lord Deputy, the chapter explores Spenser’s political and social
connections. Following on from Hadfield’s study of Spenser, David
Heffernan examines the literature of complaint emanating from lateElizabethanDublin. Authors composing this literature of complaint
lamented the rampant corruption and abuses
Treatise writing in late Elizabethan Ireland, 1579–1594
issues, see David Heffernan, ‘Complaint and
• debating tudor policy in sixteenth-century ireland •
Reform in lateElizabethanDublin, 1579–1594’, in Kathleen Miller and Crawford
Gribben (eds), Dublin: Renaissance City of Literature (Manchester, 2017).
70 ‘Richard Overton to William Cecil’, 1564, TNA, SP 63/10/36; ‘Richard Overton to
William Cecil’, 1564, TNA, SP 63/11/91.
71 See, for example, ‘John Symcott to Burghley’, 1574, TNA, SP 63/46/66; ‘John
Symcott to Burghley’, 1575, TNA, SP 63/49/38.
72 DIB, ‘Gerrard, William’; ODNB, ‘Gerrard, William’.