Tradition Transformed: Bardic Poetry and Patronage in Early Modern Ireland, ca. 1560-1660


ACLS Fellowship Program


Irish Language and Literature


This project deploys a sequence of historicized close readings of bardic political poems dating from c.1560 to c.1660 to demonstrate how Ireland’s professional literati recast the native tradition they inherited to confront the destructive early modern colonial cataclysm with political savvy, pathos, and wit. In the grimmer, Irish version of the renaissance, bardic poets had everything to lose as their longstanding, high status role as advisors, companions, and legitimators serving Irish noblemen came under sustained attack by the expanding Tudor-Stuart state. Drawing upon both newly published texts and familiar ones, this project demonstrates the richness of this understudied literature, thereby advancing critical innovation within the field and alerting scholars in other fields to both the intrinsic and the comparative value of this rich archive.