Place of Publication
Known as "The Irish Chatterton," Thomas Dermody was the son of an Ennis schoolmaster. Jason Edwards observes that Dermody showed "a precocious talent for drinking, poetry, and scholarship" (ODNB), and alcoholism would ail him until his death in near vagrancy in London in 1802. His poetry, often reprinted and anthologized, has been noted for its wit and allusiveness.
Dermody was a child prodigy, learning Greek and Latin at the age of four and serving as his father's classical assistant from age nine. He ran away to Dublin at age fifteen and won the patronage of several high-profile dignitaries and aristocrats, who (in the space of one year) helped him publish three volumes of poetry, a few critical essays, and a pamphlet on the war in France. Dermody, however, resisted his patrons, boldly declaring in his poetry, "I am vicious because I like it" (ODNB). Having put up with his alcoholism and distemper, his patrons finally abandoned him when he refused a scholarship to Trinity College, Dublin.
Dermody joined the army (the 108th regiment, as a private) and served with such distinction in France that he won a commission. However, returning to London, Dermody quickly fell back into his drinking habits and died in poverty in a hovel in Kent on his half-birthday, 15 July, 1802.
Published Poetry Collections
R. Welch, ed., The Oxford companion to Irish literature (1996), 142
S. Deane, A. Carpenter, and J. Williams, eds., The Field Day anthology of Irish Writing, 1 (1991), 399, 401–3, 418, 492, 495
Basker, James G. (ed), Amazing Grace: An Anthology of Poems about Slavery 1660-1810 (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2002), 406-7
Goodridge, John, ‘Rowley’s Ghost: a Checklist of Creative Works Inspired by Thomas Chatterton’s Life and Writings’, in Thomas Chatterton and Romantic Culture, ed. by Nick Groom (London: Macmillan, 1999), 262-92, item 32;
Jackson, J.R. de R., Annals of English Verse 1770-1835. A preliminary survey of the volumes published (New York & London: Garland Publishing, 1985)
Johnson, C.R., Provincial Poetry 1789-1839: British Verse Printed in the Provinces: The Romantic Background (London: Jed Press, 1992), item 326
Richardson, Alan, Literature, Education, and Romanticism: Reading as Social Practice, 1780-1832 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), 249