Published online by Cambridge University Press: 28 February 2020
Accounts of Irish romanticism have emphasised the centrality of primitivism and antiquarianism. This chapter argues that such accounts should be supplemented by considerations of the urban scene of Irish culture. With a particular emphasis on London, the chapter shows that Irish dramatists, particularly those associated with patriot thought, were keen to embrace urban culture and display their adroit capacity to write in that milieu. It pays particular attention to a 1780s generation of Irish playwrights, well connected to the burgeoning newspaper industry and to Foxite Whiggism, who built on the success of antecedents such as Oliver Goldsmith, Charles Macklin, and others. The chapter considers plays authored by John O’Keeffe, Frederick Pilon, Dennis O’Bryen, James Sheridan Knowles, and Alicia Lefanu.