Lecture 15: The Irish Lecture

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11 Apr 2012
Lecture 15: The Irish Lecture
Professor Brian Cowan
Date: Oct. 7, 2011
Jonathan Swift: A Modest Proposal
- Modest Proposal: trying to get reader to think about the relationship between Ireland
and Britain
- one of the first Irish patriot; Swift born in Ireland, lived in England (becomes chief pro-
pagandists for English Tories; writes the Letter for Allies); goes back to Ireland
- tried to gain a role as a Bishop in England (much richer in England than in Ireland), but
never happened
- Queen Anne didn't like him for The Tale of the Toe; thought it was disgusting and
didn't want him to be a bishop in her church
"He was such a bad boy."
- he shot his mouth off in print too much to be trusted as a bishop
- sent back to Ireland; Dean of St. Patrick's Cathedral in Dublin
- redefines his role as a champion of Irish patriotism: writes Modest Proposal and the
- a kingdom: the king of Ireland always has to be the king of England; system existed
since the Middle Ages
- Parliament in Ireland as well; like other kingdoms within the British system
- Parliament in College Green in Dublin; just like Scotland and unlike England, when
Irish Parliament met, the king would not be there
- situation of the Parliament without a king; English thought it was a second-rate Parlia-
- had a role legislating for Ireland; took care of Irish affairs
- no king of Ireland had actually gone to Ireland until 1689; exiled James with his Jaco-
bite army tried to take over Ireland; William follows to fight Battle of Boine; very telling of
how the monarchy viewed their kingdom, when nobody would make a royal visit
- king doesn't call Irish Parliament; it would assemble on a regular basis; Lord Lieu-
tenant (rep of crown) calls the Parliament (like Canada's Governor-General)
- Ireland is extremely close to Western England and Scotland; intense cultural and so-
cial ties; yet, political relationship and economic relationship was always one as clear
- colonial relationship within the British system
- problem: it had a very multi-various pop
- Gaels: vast majority; didn't speak English, peasants, Roman Catholic; had an inde-
pendent political system of warrior clans until 17th c when Queen Elizabeth I defeated
and assimilated the Irish chiefs
- Gaelic language alive and well; bilingualism developing
- Old English: Catholic landowners who until 17th c were dominant land-owning class
of Ireland; remnants of Norman invasion; spoke English; thought of themselves as pri-
marily English settler despite living there for centuries
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