This essay offers a historical and generic account of the inter-cultural British and Irish nexus of imitation surrounding Thomas Moore’s first published volume of verse, his remarkably successful Odes of Anacreon, Translated into English Verse, with Notes (1800). I situate Moore’s volume, imitative of the sixth-century BC poet Anacreon’s lyrics of wine, women and song, within the dual Irish and British contexts of Anacreontic verse published in Ireland in the eighteenth century, in the contemporary cultural milieu of glee clubs, bodies such as the Hibernian Catch Club, the Beefsteak Club, the Humbug Club and the tellingly named Anacreontic Society, whose members frequently performed Anacreontic sentimental and drinking songs, and in the Cockney School Romanticism of Leigh Hunt and John Keats. In doing so, the paper repositions Moore, in his role of Anacreontic versifier as a formative presence at the genesis of British Romanticism as the turn of the nineteenth century, in ways that allow a deeper understanding of the culturally complex formation of Four Nations Romanticism. Continue reading
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