James Kenney

Kenney, James, a dramatic author, was born in Ireland in 1780. The University Magazine, vol. 47, which gives a careful resume of his writings, says: "Tragedy, play, comedy, opera, farce, interlude, and melodrama alternately employed his pen, which was seldom idle for forty years, during which long period he produced as many different pieces, the greater number of which are eminently attractive, and still keep the stage with undiminished popularity." Love, Law, and Physic; Matrimony; The World; The Illustrious Stranger — were amongst the best of his works. For these he was well paid, yet he died in poverty 1st August 1849, aged about 69, his health having been for a long time broken. He suffered cruelly from a nervous affection which gave him such an eccentric appearance that he was more than once taken for an escaped lunatic. Byron, who evidently had a low estimate of him, wrote thus:

"While Kenney's World—ah! where is Kenney's wit?
Tires the sad gallery, lulls the listless pit."


Dublin University Magazine (47). Dublin, 1833-'77.