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Classics and National Cultures$
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Susan A. Stephens and Phiroze Vasunia

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199212989

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199212989.001.0001

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‘out of eure sanscreed into oure eryan’: Ireland, the Classics, and Independence

‘out of eure sanscreed into oure eryan’: Ireland, the Classics, and Independence

(p.16) 1 ‘out of eure sanscreed into oure eryan’: Ireland, the Classics, and Independence
Classics and National Cultures

Nicholas Allen

Oxford University Press

The relationship between the study of classical culture and the formation of empire is well established. This chapter traces alternate spaces of engagement within the decolonizing public sphere in Ireland. It focuses on a range of twentieth‐century writers, including James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, Louis MacNeice, Michael Longley, and Seamus Heaney. Specific focus is given to the ways in which contemporary events, including independence, partition and state formation, have been represented through images of the ancient past in a form of vernacular classicism. Ideas of literary and political language, from the epic to the republic, took revolutionary form in the modernist works of Joyce and Yeats. For the subsequent generations of MacNeice, Longley, and Heaney, the classical world has allowed culture to engage with, and question, the violent legacies of colonization.

Keywords:   reception, modernism, decolonization, empire, Joyce, Yeats, Heaney

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