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The Irish Classical SelfPoets and Poor Scholars in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries$
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Laurie O’Higgins

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198767107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198767107.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
The Irish Classical Self

Laurie O’Higgins

Oxford University Press

This chapter introduces the hedge school phenomenon, and briefly shows how educational initiatives among Ireland’s poor were not without contemporary parallels. Yet, at the same time, the complicated linguistic situation in Ireland and events in the seventeenth century set up a distinctive context and particular incentives for classical interests. The book will challenge the recent scholarly skepticism regarding classical learning, while acknowledging the limitations of Corkery’s Hidden Ireland. It also observes the need to situate all discussion of classical learning and aspiration within a bilingual context: eighteenth-century Ireland as a place of vigorous interaction between Irish and English, with many individuals exhibiting competence in both languages.

Keywords:   hedge school, bilingual, Corkery, Hidden Ireland, classical learning

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