Chapter

Louis MacNeice's Posterity

PETER McDONALD

in Serious Poetry

Published in print November 2007 | ISBN: 9780199235803
Published online January 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191714542 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199235803.003.0007
 Louis MacNeice's Posterity

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In his volume Visitations (1957), Louis MacNeice published the short poem ‘To Posterity’, in which a speaker in mid-career (MacNeice was fifty years old) tries to look beyond the horizon of his own contemporary reception. In fact, that career was closer to being over than either the poet or his readers could reasonably have supposed, for MacNeice was to publish only another two collections, Solstices (1961) and the posthumous The Burning Perch (1963), dying a week or so short of his fifty-sixth birthday. That MacNeice's poetry persists in British and, especially, Northern Irish literature as a living influence, does not answer completely the kinds of question which ‘To Posterity’ raises. This chapter examines MacNeice's perspectives on posterity in his poem ‘To Posterity’ and posterity in the poem ‘Heraclitus on Rivers’ by Derek Mahon.

Keywords: Louis MacNeice; posterity; poetry; English literature; To Posterity; Derek Mahon; Heraclitus on Rivers

Chapter.  7918 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (20th Century onwards)

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