Of Neuter Gender, tho’ of Irish Growth: Charles Churchill’s Fribble

Kavanagh, Declan (2013) Of Neuter Gender, tho’ of Irish Growth: Charles Churchill’s Fribble. Irish University Review: A Journal of Irish Studies, Special Issue: Queering the Issue, 43 (1). pp. 119-130. ISSN 0021-1427. (doi:10.3366/iur.2013.0053) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided. (Contact us about this Publication)
Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.3366/iur.2013.0053

Abstract

This essay argues that the work of a lesser-known mid-eighteenth-century satirist Charles Churchill (1731-1764) provides a rich literary source for queer historical considerations of the conflation of xenophobia with effeminophobia in colonial imaginings of Ireland. This article analyzes Churchill's verse-satire The Rosciad (1761) through a queer lens in order to reengage the complex history of queer figurations of Ireland and the Irish within the British popular imagination. In the eighth edition of The Rosciad - a popular and controversial survey of London's contemporary players - Churchill portrays the Irish actor Thady Fitzpatrick as an effeminate fribble, before championing the manly acting abilities of the English actor David Garrick. The phobic attack on Fitzpatrick in The Rosciad is a direct response to Fitzpatrick's involvement in the 'Fitzgiggo' riots of January 1763 at the Drury Lane and Covent-Garden theatres. While Churchill's lampooning of the actor recalls Garrick's earlier satirizing of Fitzpatrick as a fribble in The Fribbleriad (1741) and Miss in her Teens (1747), The Rosciad is unique in its explicit conflation of androgyny with ethnicity through Irish classification. The portraiture of Fitzpatrick functions, alongside interrelated axes of ethnicity, class and gender, to prohibit access to a 'normative' middle-class English identity, figured through the 'manly' theatrical sensibility of the poem's hero, Garrick. Moreover, in celebrating a 'Truly British Age', the poem privileges English female players, in essentialist and curiously de-eroticized terms, as 'natural' though flawed performers. By analyzing Churchill's phobic juxtaposition of Garrick and the female players against the Irish fribble, this article evinces how mid-century discourses of effeminacy were also instrumental in enforcing racial taxonomies.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3366/iur.2013.0053
Subjects: P Language and Literature
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Faculties > Humanities > School of English > Centre for Gender, Sexuality and Writing
Depositing User: Declan Gilmore-Kavanagh
Date Deposited: 17 May 2016 11:01 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:21 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/55457 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):