Irish and Scottish poetry in the Romantic era
Ireland and Scotland witnessed a huge explosion in the publication of printed verse in the Romantic era as a plethora of poets ventured into print in the wake of Robert Burn's Kilmarnock edition. They produced an interesting and diverse, yet largely neglected, body of verse which is characterised by aesthetic, stylistic and linguistic variety. A re-evaluation of this body of literature casts new light on the interconnections between Scottish and Irish literary traditions. The links between Irish and Scottish poets and contemporise and predecessors from other parts of the archipelago, and their involvement in wider literary trends, also suggests that Romanticism could be re-configured as an archipelagic phenomenon. There were certainly potent Hiberno-Scottish links during this period as is demonstrated by the work of Thomas Dermody and James Orr, who were profoundly influenced by Burns. This thesis identifies and studies a series of inter-connected genres that achieved a particular resonance in Ireland and Scotland during the Romantic era. The New Year poem, the apparition poem, the valediction, the self-elegy, the graveyard meditation, the Habbie elegy and dying words all draw on the motif of loss and all become conspicuous features of the literary terrain. The use of genre as an organising paradigm means that a wide range of texts can be discussed and a sense of the variety of aesthetic and stylistic approaches adopted by Irish and Scottish poets of the period can be conveyed. By employing comparative paradigms and organising the study by genre, national barriers can be transcended and Ireland and Scotland's interwoven literary histories are thrown into sharp focus. These genres demonstrate the agreements and divergences that characterise Irish and Scottish literature of the Romantic era. Several of them demonstrate the traditionally overlooked influence of Scottish literature, and in particular the poetry of Burns on Irish poets. Other genres, meanwhile, demonstrate that contrasting historical, political and cultural contexts could manifest themselves in divergences in the way the genres were manipulated in Ireland and Scotland.