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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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Genius in the Humbler Walks of Life

Genius in the Humbler Walks of Life

(p.173) 7 Genius in the Humbler Walks of Life
The Irish Classical Self

Laurie O’Higgins

Oxford University Press

This chapter considers two generations of modestly situated intellectuals devoted to Irish learning, a learning that encompassed older Irish literature, contemporary Irish poetry, Greek and Latin. They were all educated informally in hedge schools. The first generation (Theophilus O’Flanagan, Richard McElligott, and Patrick Lynch) came of age in the eighteenth century, but worked in the early decades of the ninteenth; the second (Thomas Harney and Nicholas O’Kearney) belonged entirely to the new century. In every case their work testifies to a capacious vision of Irish identity, and to their belief that people “in the humbler walks of life” deserved and needed access to a broad literary education, rather than a narrowly utilitarian one.

Keywords:   Greek, Latin, Irish identity, Thomas Harney, Nicholas O’Kearney

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