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Aubrey De Vere papers

Collection MS-1999-004: Aubrey De Vere papers


  • Creation: circa 1886-1905

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains letters written by and about De Vere, an original manuscript and a photographic portrait of De Vere. Besides a single loose letter, the materials are contained within two bound volumes. The material is dated between 1886 and 1905.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical Note

Aubrey Thomas De Vere was born on January 10, 1814 at the family estate, Currage Chase, in County Limerick, Ireland. He was the third son of poet and dramatist Sir Aubrey De Vere (1788-1846). De Vere was educated at Trinity College where he focused his studies on metaphysics. He had friendships with many prominent men of the day, including: Thomas Carlye, John Henry Newman, Sir Henry Taylor, Alfred Lord Tennyson and William Wordsworth. After much thought, De Vere left the Church of England and was received into Roman Catholicism by John Henry Newman. De Vere was considered to be a deeply pious man and he never married.

De Vere was greatly disturbed by Ireland's troubles, especially the economic difficulties arising from the Famine. The De Vere family worked hard to lessen the suffering of their poorer neighbors. Aubrey aided his oldest brother Sir Stephen De Vere (1812-1904) in relief activities and they visited many of the most troubled areas. Based on these experiences, De Vere published English Misrule and Irish Misdeeds (1848). The work charged England with poor governance and encouraged emigration as a solution to Ireland's trouble. De Vere was not exactly a strident Irish patriot but rather an enlightened member of the Irish landowning class.

De Vere was a man of leisure who devoted most of his time to writing. During his lifetime, he produced many published works. These included volumes of poetry, poetic dramas, literary essays, travel writing, and memoirs. De Vere is best known for his poetry. Much of his poetry has religious themes and approximately only one third of his poetic works deal specifically with Irish themes. Many critics consider Inisfail (1861) to be his most successful poem. In this work, he records Irish history from the Norman Conquest to the repeal of the Penal Laws. The Foray of Queen Maeve (1882) was De Vere's retelling of Brian O'Lonney's translation of Táin Bó Cuailnge and offers the poet's own interpretation of the ancient Irish heroes.

De Vere's poetry is generally not identified with the "modern" Irish poets. William Butler Yeats once described his writing as "poetical" rather than "poetic." Nevertheless, critics generally agree that De Vere fashioned very fluent verse with a strong command over narrative and character. He died on January 21, 1902."Aubrey De Vere" in The Dictionary of Irish Literature edited by Robert Hogan (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996): 348-350 and "Aubrey De Vere" in The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature edited by Robert Welch (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996): 144.


.75 Linear Feet (1 container)

Language of Materials



Small collection of correspondence and manuscripts of Irish poet Aubrey De Vere from 1886-1905.

Arrangement Note

Organized into two series: (1) Correspondence and (2) Manuscripts.

Aubrey De Vere Papers
Edward Copenhagen
Summer 2001
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States