Oliver Goldsmith (1728–1774) moved between the genres and geographies of enlightenment writing with considerable dexterity. As a consequence he has been characterized as a passive purveyor of enlightenment thought, a hack, a harried translator of the French enlightenment for an English audience, an ideological lackey, and a subtle ironist. In poetry, he is either a compliant pastoralist or an engaged social critic. Yet Goldsmith’s career is as complex and as contradictory as the enlightenment currents across which he wrote, and there is in Goldsmith’s oeuvre a set of themesincluding his opposition to the new imperialism and to glibly declared principles of libertywhich this book addresses as a manifestation of his Irishness.
Michael Griffin places Goldsmith in two contexts: one is the intellectual and political culture in which he worked as a professional author living in London; the other is that of his nationality and his as yet unstudied Jacobite politics. Enlightenment in Ruins thereby reveals a body of work that is compellingly marked by tensions and transits between Irishness and Englishness, between poetic and professional imperatives, and between cultural and scientific spheres.
|Publisher:||Bucknell University Press|
|Series:||Transits: Literature, Thought & Culture, 1650-1850 Series|
|Product dimensions:||6.05(w) x 8.87(h) x 0.66(d)|
About the Author
Michael Griffin lectures in eighteenth-century and Irish studies at the University of Limerick, where he is Director of the Eighteenth Century Research Group. He has published widely on eighteenth-century studies, utopian satire, and Irish writing in English.
Table of Contents
Chronology of Goldsmith’s career
List of Abbreviations
Part 1: Comparative views of races and nations
1. The cultural climate: natural histories of national character
2. The lie of the land: liberty and travel
Part 2: Political landscapes and bodies politic
3. Delicate allegories: Ireland and the East
4. Geographies of Ruin: Ireland, America and Auburn’s absentees
Ill Fares the Land: Conclusion