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

Brunström, 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. 123-142. ISSN 0790-7915. (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)

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Abstract

In the introduction to this 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 (1763-1763) 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 an (unknowing) point of radical change.

Item Type: Article
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 11:12 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Aug 2018 15:03 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/55459 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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