Festschrift for Tadhg Foley
Some Notes on Hutcheson Macauley Posnett (1855–1927) Joep Leerssen 111
Some Notes on Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett (1855–1927) Joep Leerssen Tadhg Foley’s rich work on Ireland’s imperial connections, in that tangled interaction between the field of scientifically informed imperial policy- making, and the imperially informed emergence of the social sciences, has opened up a fascinating area of interest for which all his colleagues will be grateful – grateful in different ways, to the extent that they work in different specialisms. To Tadhg’s great record of highlighting exemplary figures in Irish intellectual and scientific history I want to add a modest contribution from my own specialism, that of Comparative Literature. The figure I want to present is that of Hutcheson Macaulay Posnett. He is in fact briefly men- tioned in Thomas Boylan and Tadhg’s own Political Economy and Colonial Ireland, where it is rightly stressed that Ireland’s problem of rent and land ownership informed Posnett’s interesting treatise on The Ricardian Theory of Rent of 1884.1 But Posnett’s main claim to fame is that he wrote the first handbook in English (or practically indeed in any language) on Compara- tive Literature. That, too was the book’s title; it appeared in 1886, in the International Scientific Series. Since then, handbooks in Comparative Literature habitually cite Posnett as one of the great early harbingers of the discipline – alongside other late-nineteenth-century figures such as the Frenchman Joseph Texte, the Swiss Louis-Paul Betz, the Dane Georg Brandes, the Italians Arturo Graf and Arturo Farinelli, and the German-Transylvanian Hugo Meltzl 1 Quoted in Thomas A. Boylan and Timothy...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.