James Arbuckle

Richard Holmes (University of East Anglia)
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James Arbuckle, Belfast-born poet and essayist, survives in the footnotes of better-known writers: the Scottish poet Allan Ramsay; Francis Hutcheson; and Jonathan Swift, whose work he criticized and parodied with such success that it has often been mistaken for Swift’s own. His neglect is due in part to his ambivalent national identity: not Scottish enough for a Scottish literary tradition that in any case has not much valued its “English” writers; in his native land neither part of Celtic “Hidden Ireland” nor of Yeats’s Anglo-Irish tradition.

Arbuckle was one of a generation of Irish Presbyterians who attended Glasgow University and developed the liberal “New Light” theology. He was at one time a Divinity student but his first published poem, Snuff (1717), announced his

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Citation: Holmes, Richard. "James Arbuckle". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 07 December 2007 [https://www.litencyc.com/php/speople.php?rec=true&UID=137, accessed 26 May 2024.]

137 James Arbuckle 1 Historical context notes are intended to give basic and preliminary information on a topic. In some cases they will be expanded into longer entries as the Literary Encyclopedia evolves.

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