The Role of Community, Network, and Sentiment in Shaping the Reputations of Thomas Moore
This opening essay considers the different kinds of agency that helped construct Moore’s reputations in the evolving nineteenth-century marketplace. His reputation fared well in a century (the nineteenth) which saw his publishers respond to an expansion of the reading public, as well as to changes in the consumption and performance of music. Moore’s expert cultivation of sentimental response in his Irish Melodies and in the songs for Lalla Rookh serves as case studies to demonstrate the breadth of appeal that his writing holds. As subsequent essays in this volume will reveal, Moore’s diverse reputations are forged in large part by the agendas of political or cultural networks in locations as far-flung as America, England, Germany, Greece, India, and Ireland; he also appealed to communities of readers in America, English-speaking Canada, and across the Hispanic world. By the beginning of the twentieth century, however, Moore is accessed by his readers increasingly through his representation in anthologies, where the tastes and agendas of individual editors dictate his posthumous reputations.