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    Arthur Murphy and Florida Peat: The Gray's Inn Journal and versions of the apolitical

    Brunstrom, Conrad and Kavanagh, Declan (2012) Arthur Murphy and Florida Peat: The Gray's Inn Journal and versions of the apolitical. Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr, 27. pp. 123-141. ISSN 0790-7915

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    In the introduction to his completed Works (1786), Arthur Murphy (1727-1805) wrote: 'Of the political papers which fell from my pen many years ago, I hope no trace is left'. Although Murphy's career as a political propagandist in the late 1750s and early 1760s was relatively brief, the controversies which he both provoked and reacted to in the anti-Pitt The Test (1756-1757) and the pro-ministerial The Auditor (1762-1763) dogged his literary career long after his resignation as the self-proclaimed 'auditor' of public opinion. Reading across a range of Murphy's dramatic works and early political and popular journalism, we argue that Murphy's negative view of popular political participation is intriguing for the way in which it exemplifies a fascinating mid-century political paradox. Although Murphy wished to restrict political participation, the mid-century expansion of political discussion that bolstered the opponent essay-sheet The North Briton (1762-1763) forced him to engage an even larger readership, thus undermining his entire political philosophy. Focusing on the Florida Peat controversy, which disgraced Murphy as a political commentator, this article argues that the author's studied and self-contradictory pose of being apolitical provides us with a valuably honest and paradoxical snapshot of political culture at an (unknowing) point of radical change.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Political rhetoric; Theater; Conservatism; Political debate; Upholstery; Irish politics; Irish poetry; Peat; Political parties; Reactionaryism;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of English, Media & Theatre Studies > English
    Item ID: 11444
    Depositing User: Dr. Conrad Brunstrom
    Date Deposited: 23 Oct 2019 15:31
    Journal or Publication Title: Eighteenth-Century Ireland / Iris an dá chultúr
    Publisher: Eighteenth-Century Ireland Society
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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