NUI Galway Academic Offers a New Approach to the Poetry of Thomas Moore

Dr Justin Tonra
Dec 15 2020 Posted: 10:10 GMT

NUI Galway lecturer Dr Justin Tonra has written a new book devoted solely to the poetry of Ireland’s much-loved 19th century writer Thomas Moore.

Write My Name: Authorship in the Poetry of Thomas Moore is recently published by Routledge.

The Moore Institute at NUI Galway is hosting an online book launch at 4pm on Thursday 17 December.

The focus of Dr Tonra’s book is on authorship: how Moore’s authorial persona is constructed in his poetry through his strategic self-fashioning and by the intervention of external forces such as critics, publishers, and the law.

“Moore was a deeply important writer who fell out of fashion for much of the 20th century,” Dr Tonra said.

“However, he was the major Irish poet writing in English before Yeats—and is widely regarded as Ireland’s national poet in the 19th century. Much of his work is still worthy of our attention for its historical significance, because of its immense historical popularity and - as my book argues - for the way in which it reveals the strategic fashioning of Moore’s authorial identity.”

Moore is best-known for his series of popular lyrics, the Irish Melodies, but this book includes within its scope poetic publications from Moore’s early career, from his Romantic Orientalist writings, and from selected musical works, and political and satirical verse.

Through a range of case studies which illuminate different ways in which Moore’s authorial persona is constructed, the book adopts a range of new and interdisciplinary contexts that are of increasing interest to scholarship in the 21st century and which are not usually chosen as frameworks for reading Moore’s works: digital humanities, book history, legal history, and textual theory.

Dr Tonra said: “I wrote this book because of my conviction that there are fresh ways of looking at Moore’s writing. When you take these approaches to reading his poetry it begins to look different and to yield new meanings. This is particularly the case with his early poetry, where - through this lens of authorship - you see a young man trying to write himself into becoming an author.”

Speakers at the book launch include Professor Matthew Campbell of University of York, Professor Claire Connolly of University College Cork and Professor Sean Ryder, Head of the School of English & Creative Arts at NUI Galway.

Attendance is open to the public and registration can be completed at



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