chapter  1
14 Pages

The Imagined Unities of Thomas Moore 1

WithHarry White

This chapter argues Moore's fundamental importance in the formative role music played in the growth of the Irish literary imagination from Moore himself to the present day. It identifies the two imagined unities, first as between music and politics, and second as between music and verse, because both of them would prove vital to Moore's purpose and vital, indeed, to the success and controversy which the Melodies stimulated from their earliest appearance. The reception of the Irish Melodies so rapidly overcame the initial hostility afforded to them by Tory sentiment that in the end, Moore's assimilation into polite society would render his songs politically innocuous. The waning reputation of Moore's Irish Melodies – as a mode of political expression, as the realization of imagined unities between music, politics and poetry, indeed as an originary and exemplary moment in the history of Irish writing in English – has been recently redeemed at least in part by the resurgence of Moore scholarship.