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Thomas Moore

Texts, Contexts, Hypertext

Series:

Francesca Benatti, Sean Ryder and Justin Tonra

This collection traces new directions in the study of Thomas Moore (1779–1852) and examines the multiple facets of his complex identity, not only as the foremost Irish poet of his time, but also as a lyricist, satirist, polemicist, patriot and journalist. The range of contributors is interdisciplinary and international, and includes leading scholars of literature, music, history and digital humanities.
The essays collected here present a new assessment of Moore’s career and reflect on the future directions for Moore scholars enabled by digital resources and methodologies. They highlight Moore’s far-reaching influence on nineteenth-century European Romanticism, his formative participation in Whig political discourse and his central role in the construction of Irish identity from the nineteenth to the twenty-first centuries.

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Section 2 Captain Rock

Extract

Timothy Keane Thomas Moore’s Address to England: Memoirs of Captain Rock and the Irish Question Recent scholarship on Thomas Moore’s Memoirs of Captain Rock (1824) has recovered its contribution to a burgeoning Irish nationalism. The work of Emer Nolan and Luke Gibbons, as well as Tadhg O’Sullivan and Ina Ferris, illustrates how Moore’s satire safely incorporated the figure of Captain Rock into a middle-class Irish nationalism that could ill-af ford associations with agrarian violence. This success remains impressive in the knowledge that Daniel O’Connell’s Catholic Association was formed, in part, as an attempt to eliminate Rockite outrages, or at least the support of Rockism in the popular imagination.1 Memoirs’ nationalist credentials have been resound- ingly reclaimed. There is cause, however, to extend the discussion of Memoirs beyond its service to Irish nationalism. In doing so, its inf luence upon English reform movements takes shape, one of many examples of how Irish national- ism and English radicalism converged in the nineteenth century. Moore was targeting a British audience, one either hostile or indif ferent to Ireland, in an attempt to promote the debates on Catholic Emancipation. Memoirs was enthusiastically received in Ireland, as seen in Moore’s jour- nals; but on close inspection, it is clear that it was intended for an English audience. Choosing the most nefarious and divisive figure, Captain Rock, as his medium was a risky decision. The violence of Rockism, and its dis- regard for British laws, quickly made Captain Rock the personification of Irish barbarism in the...

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