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'.
’s insistence on English
as the proper language of literaryrenaissance and resistance than to the
22/3/02, 9:43 am
Crossing the language barrier
opposing view of Hugh MacDiarmid, who championed the vernacular.
The letter of Yeats lives on, if not the spirit.
Douglas Dunn is one of many Scottish critics who have argued for
the degree to which MacDiarmid’s was a project of recovery and renewal,
a cultural enterprise that was national as much as linguistic or literary:
MacDiarmid was trying to make a nation as well as poetry. He did so
with a language
relation to Robert Burns:
I don’t think we need a national bard. I think folk call him that out of
laziness, because they can’t be bothered to read what’s been written
since. It’s a monolithic attitude, where every era seems to have enshrined
one male. A vibrant culture, as we have, is in the hands of many, many
people. (quoted in Dunkerley, 1996)13
Hugh MacDiarmid, the writer who bestrode the Scottish literaryrenaissance (in many ways defining it), had an iconographic function similar to
Burns in Scottish intellectual and literary life after the Second World
communities associated with Bellings, Shirley and Burnell, celebrated and crystallised in print, highlight the fitfulness of any literaryrenaissance in Dublin. Such moments were short-lived, representing
‘re-mort’ rather than ‘re-naissance’. The ‘soft peace’ hailed by Bellings’
friend could not withstand political volatility for long. The seeds cast by
such influential writers as Sidney and Spenser did not take root in any
prolonged way, notwithstanding the fact that their reputations enjoyed
longevity. The extent to which Ireland experienced a renaissance has
(Toronto: Iter Inc. and the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies,
Ezell, Margaret J. M., ‘The Laughing Tortoise: Speculations on Manuscript Sources
and Women’s Book History’, English LiteraryRenaissance, 38 (2008): 331–55
Hutton, Sarah, ‘Hester Pulter (c. 1596–1678): A Woman Poet and the New Astronomy’,
Etudes Epistémè, 14 (2008): 77–87
Marcus, Leah, ‘Herrick’s “Hesperides” and the “Proclamation Made for May” ’,
Studies in Philology, 76.1 (1979): 49–74
Marcus, Leah, The Politics of Mirth: Jonson, Herrick, Milton, Marvell, and the Defense
of Old Holiday
Tragedy ’, English
LiteraryRenaissance 38 : 1 ( 2008 ): 3–33 .
Cutts , D. , ‘ Writing and revenge: The struggle for authority in Thomas Kyd’s
The Spanish Tragedy ’, Explorations in Renaissance Culture 22 ( 1996 ): 147–59 .
Dillon , J. , ‘ The Spanish Tragedy and staging languages in
Renaissance drama ’, Research
Opportunities in Renaissance Drama 34 ( 1995 ): 15–40 .
Díaz-Fernández , J. R
city’s oldest literary venues, Marsh’s
Library, for a conference entitled ‘Dublin: Renaissance City of Literature?’
Contributors travelled from universities in the USA, England and across
Ireland, representing disciplines including classics, literature and history,
to debate the character of the literary culture of early modern Dublin.
This volume emerges from that event.
The question of whether Ireland experienced a cultural and literaryRenaissance has received increasing scholarly attention in recent years,
and this volume extends the discussion by engaging with
return of focus to the domestic sphere that signals a regressive trend in
In those hundred years [between 1524 and 1623]
appeared more translations, varied female personae and experiments with
genre, style and voice as women steadily strove to establish a legitimate
place for their own literary experience. If this constitutes a literaryrenaissance for women
J. Laing , 2 vols ( New York :
Oxford University Press , 1924 ).
Hill , E. ,
‘ Senecan and Vergilian perspectives in
The Spanish Tragedy ’, English LiteraryRenaissance 15 : 2 ( 1985 ): 143–65 .
Johnson , S. F. ,
‘ The Spanish Tragedy , or Babylon
revisited ’, in R. Hosley (ed.), Essays on Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama in Honor
, but is damaging to early modern studies as well, whether we consider the period a bounded one on both sides, markedly different from both before and after, or an open-ended one, inaugurating an increasingly distant ‘modernity’. 25 One effect of the narrative of rupture on either end of the English literaryRenaissance is fragmentation within the field. 26 In this respect too, Spenser and Donne seem to stand on opposite sides of the divide, and this perception is symptomatic of the receding present in relation to the ‘early modern’ moment. It is Donne who is