Religion in the Age of Enlightenment


Book Review, Age of Enlightenment, Ireland


Patrick Tuite's book Theatre of Crisis ostensibly details the political and social underpinnings of play development and performative aesthetics in Ireland between 1662 and 1692. From a purely historical point of view, this alone would merit the writing of the text as a point of serious study since Irish drama has traditionally lagged behind its English counterpart, even during the very years on which Tuite focuses. In pursuing this subject, Tuite has crafted a text that not only encapsulates the aesthetic preferences of the relevant era on Ireland's dominant stage at the time, the Smock Alley Theatre, but he has also captured intriguing glimpses into how performance itself was utilized on a societal scale to assert the dominance of a Protestant ruling class over a native Catholic and dissident Protestant population. These various parts, which could easily prove enjoyable and enlightening in and of themselves, come together to potentially reflect something in every aesthetic culture since, and when the savvy reader begins relating with the whole that is formed, the very answers provided beg new questions that could bring into doubt the very foundations on which studies of great works are based.