By Tom Walker
This research makes a speciality of Louis MacNeice's artistic and significant engagement with different Irish poets in the course of his lifetime. It attracts on vast archival learn to discover the formerly unrecognized quantity of the poet's touch with Irish literary mores and networks. Poetic dialogues with contemporaries together with F.R. Higgins, John Hewitt, W.R. Rodgers, Austin Clarke, Patrick Kavanagh, John Montague, and Richard Murphy are traced opposed to the continual rhetoric of cultural and geographical attachment at huge in Irish poetry and feedback in the course of the interval. those comparative readings are framed by way of money owed of MacNeice's complicated courting with the oeuvre of W.B. Yeats, which kinds a meta-narrative to MacNeice's broader engagement with Irish poetry. Yeats is proven to were MacNeice's modern within the Nineteen Thirties, examining and reacting to the more youthful poet's paintings, simply as MacNeice learn and reacted to the older poet's paintings. however the ongoing problem of the highbrow and formal complexity of Yeats's poetry additionally supplied a way wherein MacNeice, throughout his entire profession, dialectically constructed numerous modes by which to confront modernity's cultural, political and philosophical demanding situations. This e-book bargains new and revisionary views on MacNeice's paintings and its courting to Ireland's literary traditions, in addition to making an cutting edge contribution to the heritage of Irish literature and anglophone poetry within the 20th century.
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Extra info for Louis MacNeice and the Irish poetry of his time
99 In contrast, he registers ‘a plea for impure poetry [ . . ] conditioned by the poet’s life and the world around him’, based on a sense of words as ‘a community product’ and ‘a vehicle of communication’. But Yeats has ‘a foot in both worlds’: he is a disciple of Pater who remembers forgotten beauty and a poet capable of expressing strong opinions on contemporary events who talks of writing ‘our thoughts down in as nearly as possible the language we thought them in’. 100 He is making the case for Auden and Spender as poets who offer a return to ‘impure’ poetry.
This is similar to ‘Train to Dublin’, though this lack is more overtly foregrounded in ‘Ode’ by the generic formality towards which the poem’s title gestures. In ‘A Prayer for my Daughter’ the speaker’s consolations are effected, in part, through form, tone, and mode. The turbulent weather and apocalyptic future of the opening stanzas is followed by the serene arrival at prayer in the third stanza: May she be granted beauty and yet not Beauty to make a stranger’s eye distraught, Or hers before a looking-glass, for such, Being made beautiful overmuch, Consider beauty a sufﬁcient end, Lose natural kindness and maybe The heart-revealing intimacy That chooses right, and never ﬁnd a friend.
96 Louis MacNeice, ‘Subject in Modern Poetry’ (1936), repr. in Selected Literary Criticism of Louis MacNeice, 57–74: 64–5, 72–3. 97 The critical engagement with Yeats was burgeoning. But the older poet retained enigmatic status; MacNeice could not yet acknowledge that part of the problem was with his own critical criteria. That Yeats does not ﬁt into this schema becomes clear in 1938’s Modern Poetry. ’99 In contrast, he registers ‘a plea for impure poetry [ . . ] conditioned by the poet’s life and the world around him’, based on a sense of words as ‘a community product’ and ‘a vehicle of communication’.