Article

Macneice Among His Irish Contemporaries: 1939 and 1945

Tom Walker

in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199561247
Published online January 2013 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199561247.013.0012

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Macneice Among His Irish Contemporaries: 1939 and 1945

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The work of Louis MacNeice occupies a central place in accounts of twentieth-century Irish poetry, and critics including Terence Brown, Edna Longley, and Peter McDonald have tried to locate MacNeice among Irish concerns. In his study, Louis MacNeice and the Poetry of the 1930s (2009), Richard Danson Brown sought to recover ‘the English MacNeice’ by considering MacNeice's poems of the 1930s among those of his English contemporaries W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender, and C. Day Lewis. He implicitly shows that MacNeice's identity is less important than what his poems do. While MacNeice's Irish identity has often been discussed, it is not clear how his poems actually relate to the work of his Irish contemporaries. Derek Mahon proclaimed that MacNeice ‘had no place in the intellectual history of modern Ireland’, while Terence Brown has drawn attention to MacNeice's (mostly frustrated) attempts to become involved in Ireland's ‘intellectual history’.

Keywords: Louis MacNeice; Irish poetry; Richard Danson Brown; intellectual history; Derek Mahon; Terence Brown; Edna Longley; Peter McDonald; W. H. Auden

Article.  6892 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (20th Century onwards) ; Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets)

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