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Louis MacNeice and the Irish Poetry of his Time$
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Tom Walker

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780198745150

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198745150.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 19 April 2021

A Little Solemnity

A Little Solemnity

(p.135) 5 A Little Solemnity
Louis MacNeice and the Irish Poetry of his Time

Tom Walker

Oxford University Press

This chapter explores how MacNeice’s growing wariness of the notion of Irish character in the second half of the 1950s was paralleled in the work of other Irish poets, mostly of a younger generation, including Anthony Cronin, John Montague, Thomas Kinsella, and Richard Murphy, as well as developments in the work of older poets such as Austin Clarke and Patrick Kavanagh. MacNeice’s own belated contribution to ‘The Character of Ireland’ project, a verse prologue, is read as a critique of the way in which national character gets written and of the historiography on which it is based. Furthermore, MacNeice is shown as attempting to move Ireland beyond the trap of character in recasting Irish place as a space, and an interconnected reformulation of a poetic’s of song as a vehicle for the profound contemplation of existence, in sequences such as ‘Donegal Triptych’ and ‘A Hand of Snapshots’.

Keywords:   literariness, internationalism, existentialism, place, space, song, Shakespeare

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