Chapter

From a Boy to a Man, 1744–1750

F.P. Lock

in Edmund Burke, Volume I

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199226634
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191696244 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199226634.003.0002
From a Boy to a Man, 1744–1750

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This chapter discusses the college life of Burke at Trinity College. In 1744, his first extant letter reveals a diffident schoolboy overawed by the three grand rooms of his college tutor. Burke's undergraduate record was not exceptional. He ranked among the better students but not with the outstandingly proficient. Several reasons can be suggested for Burke's undistinguished performance as a student: his dislike of a set task, the aridity of the courses and the large part played by rote learning, and the unhappiness of his home life. But above all, the young Burke wanted to be a poet. Poetry predominates in the extra-curricular reading mentioned in his undergraduate letters. By 1748, he and two friends were writing a periodical paper designed to raise the standard of taste in what they perceived as a second-rate, provincial metropolis. Burke had outgrown Dublin, though he did not leave it until 1750.

Keywords: Trinity College; Dublin; university; letters; poetry

Chapter.  18725 words. 

Subjects: Modern History (1700 to 1945)

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