Adolescence in Modern Irish History by Catherine Cox, Susannah Riordan

By Catherine Cox, Susannah Riordan

This edited assortment is the 1st to handle the subject of early life in Irish heritage. It brings jointly validated and rising students to envision the adventure of Irish teenagers from the 'affective revolution' of the early 19th century to the emergence of the teen within the Sixties.

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For Belfast’s response to the Union see Jonathan Jeffrey Wright, ‘“Steadfast supporters of the British connection”? Belfast Presbyterians and the Act of Union, c. 1798–1840’, Journal of Irish and Scottish Studies, 1:2 (2008), 107–26. William Drennan to Martha McTier, 17 Apr. ), The Drennan-McTier letters (3 vols, Dublin: Irish Manuscript Commission, 1998–9), 3, 595. ), Drennan-McTier letters, 1, xxii–xxv. A. T. Q. ), The trial of William Drennan (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1991). For Drennan more broadly, see Adrian Rice, ‘The lonely rebellion of William Drennan’ in Gerald Dawe and John Wilson Foster (eds), The poet’s place: Ulster literature and society: Essays in honour of John Hewitt, 1907–87 (Belfast: Institute of Irish Studies, 1991), 77–95 and I.

Were these young men unique, or did their preferences reflect the existence, among Belfast’s middle classes, of a broader appetite for romantic literature? Existing scholarship would suggest not. ’58 However, by the same token, there is much evidence to suggest that the tastes of Belfast’s literati changed, and changed quickly. 60 IV Rather than a remarkable exception, then, the literary preferences of the Tennent circle reflected the wider popularity of romantic literature among the literate middle classes of late Georgian Belfast.

But can their ‘bad behaviour’ be attributed to the influence of romanticism? The spectacle of young men caddishly pursuing flirtations and sharing ribald gossip was by no means unique to the romantic period: young men behaved badly before the publication of Don Juan (1818–23), and they have done since. Certainly, it should not be assumed that all of Tennent’s contemporaries were influenced by romanticism. William Mitchell consciously prided himself on his rejection of it. 86 Among Tennent’s coterie of friends and acquaintances, we thus encounter a group of politically and culturally engaged adolescents who not only read Byron, but who discussed him and sought to emulate him, going so far as to utilize his verse when conducting their flirtations.

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