Date of Award

12-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

English

Major Professor

Nancy Henry

Committee Members

Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud, Misty G. Anderson, Mary McAlpin

Abstract

"Irish Harps, Scottish Fiddles, English Pens: Romantic Satire and British Nationalism" discusses the intersection between satire and nationalism in late eighteenth- and early nineteenthcentury British Romantic poetry. Using case studies of three prominent satirists, Robert Burns, Thomas Moore, and George Gordon, Lord Byron to represent marginalized nationalities within the British state, I examine the ways in which each poet expresses a sense of dis-ease or uncomfortableness with their own national identity, an anxiety caused either by the ways in which their nationality was perceived within the British public, or by their own ability or inability to express that nationality. Thus, Burns, Moore, and Byron use satire as a means to self -identify and/or promote a sense of national identity.

While the lyrics of Burns and Moore have been studied as examples of nationalist poetry, little attention has been given to their satires or to Byron's Hours of Idleness and English Bards and Scotch Reviewers as expressions of nationalism and national identity. Satire becomes a fitting genre for expressing the anxieties and frustration surrounding their identities, particularly as these negative emotions are directed toward the structures of power – political, cultural, and theological – that reinforce the perceived supremacy of English culture at the cost of the Scottish and Irish nations. The expressions of these identities are complicated by several variables, including education, social status, socio-economic status, and nationality itself. I argue that through the melding of satire and nationalism, ultimately, the figure of the bard, a traditional record-keeper of national culture and history, merged with the persona of the satirist to become an active, nationshaping force rather than a passive observer.

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