This chapter considers MacNeice’s evolving relationship with the idea of character from the mid-1940s to the late 1950s, against the backdrop of his involvement in the ill-fated book project ‘The Character of Ireland’. The opening section explores how during the late 1940s and early 1950s MacNeice was personally and professionally involved in Irish literary matters through his brief term as poetry editor of The Bell, his radio work at the BBC, and his close working friendship with W.R. Rodgers (his co-editor on the doomed volume). Rodgers’s and others’ preoccupation with cultural definition and the idea of the Irish character is shown to be reflected in MacNeice’s own investment in the concept of the character. This is seen most clearly in the manner in which Autumn Sequel celebrates not only a community of friends but a community of characters, whose individuality sets them at odds with modernity’s homogenizing forces.
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