'He will live in his "Irish Melodies", they will go down to posterity with the music; both will last as long as Ireland, or as music and poetry' - Lord Byron. In this enthralling new biography of Thomas Moore, Linda Kelly evokes the life and times of a great Irish writer - romantic poet, political satirist, pioneering biographer and above all creator of the "Irish Melodies", those heartfelt lyrics set to traditional Irish airs by which he is best remembered. Tom Moore, a Dublin grocer's son, was a student at Trinity College, Dublin, at the time of the doomed Irish rising of 1798. The experience intensified his sense of identity as an Irish Catholic, and though his charm and talents won him entry to the highest reaches of English society, he never lost sight of his own country's causes, and through his songs and satires became one of Ireland's most eloquent and persuasive advocates. Immensely successful in his lifetime, though always dogged by poverty, Moore was ranked with Walter Scott and Byron; his oriental epic Lalla Rookh was more widely translated than any other poem of the period.
But like most modern readers Moore himself was in no doubt about the pre-eminence of the Irish Melodies, still known and loved on both sides of the Atlantic. The recent discovery of Moore's original journals provides fascinating new material on Moore's social and literary life, not least the vexed episode of the burning of Byron's memoirs. Linda Kelly draws extensively on these to give a warm and insightful picture of one of the most delightful figures of the age, capturing the charm of Whig society and casting new light on his relationship with Byron.
Linda Kelly's previous books include The Young Romantics,Women of the French Revolution and Richard Brinsley Sheridan. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and a Trustee of the Wordsworth Trust. Her husband is the writer, Laurence Kelly; they live in London but spend some time each year in Ireland, where they have a cottage on the Wexford coast.