Vol. 2: McLoughlin, T.O.

Type: Article

McLoughlin, T.O. ‘The Context of Edmund Burke’s The Reformer’, Eighteenth-century Ireland/Iris an dá chultúr, Vol. 2 (1987), pp 37-55.

This essay deals with the successes and failures of one of Edmund Burke’s earliest publications, The Reformer, a weekly paper edited and for the most part written by Burke when he was an undergraduate at Trinity College Dublin in 1748. McLoughlin discusses the format, style, tone, authorship and management of the paper, and Burke’s transformation of the paper into the only one of its time to deal with Dublin’s theatre “as a manifestation of the cultural vitality of a national socio-economic system”. While it was well known that Burke was the main editorial force behind the paper, the author of many of the articles were signed only with the initials ‘B’, ‘AE’, or ‘U’. “Burke uses his anonymity not as a cover for abuse but to provoke readers against the general climate of dullness and insolence in the theatre and in Irish cultural life generally,” states McLoughlin.