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Grupo RALLY 101 MUSEOS

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Ashot Vorobyov
Ashot Vorobyov

Subtitle Skyline


As noted, there is much that iswell done in thiswork;the readingsin postmodern elegy are particularly arresting,for example, although the overall tendency is to reinforceexistingversionsof the fourpoets ratherthan to introducefreshones. TRINITY COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF DUBLIN STEPHEN MATTERSON Poets ofModern Ireland: Text,Context, Intertext. ByNEILCORCORAN. Cardiff:University of Wales Press. I999. xiv + 223 pp. I4.99. Passage totheCenter: Imagination andtheSacred inthePoetry ofSeamus Heaney.By DANIEL TOBIN. (IrishLiterature,History, and Culture)Lexington:University Pressof Kentucky. I999. ix + 338 pp. $34. Both these books are valuable contributions to modern Irish literary scholarship; with certainreservations,both areinvigoratingand commendable. Neil Corcoran's study is a collection of quasi-independentessays, on Yeats,Austin Clarke, Padraic Fallon, MacNeice, Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, and Ciaran Carson, with mention of various others, including Tom Paulin. Corcoran's writing operates at a highly suggestivelevel of insight, so that perceptive comment on one poet leads revealingly to illumination of the work of another and the relationships between them. This procedure allows an intricate and complex culturalfabric to be experienced as if from the inside. Individualpoems are given close analyses, but it is, as his subtitle emphasizes, a relational understanding Corcoran is concerned with. Conspicuouslyabsent, therefore,is any chapteron women and the phenomenon of the woman poet in the Irish national tradition, so usefullyemphasized in recent years by Eavan Boland. Medbh McGuckian and Nuala Ni Dhomnaill are the source of an anecdote (theyrecommend Heaney because 'his great strengthis that he is actually a woman - a great big benevolent mountain, standing protectively behind you, like your mother should do' (p. 121)) but they are not considered extensively as poets on an equal footing with any of the men. Both in terms of the quality of the poetry that commands our attention and the argumentsengendered more broadly,which reach to the heartof the questionof nationalismand tradition, it would have been welcome if Corcoranhad developed this aspectof his book. The widening of reference entailed may be one reason why it did not happen. The precision,patience, and meticulouscare of, say, Corcoran'sreadingof Michael Longley, are delicate instruments. When he approves Longley's desire to 'make room for bog cotton, a desert flower', an unobtrusivefootnote refersthe reader to Hugh MacDiarmid's marvellous poem 'Milk-Wortand Bog Cotton'. This small point is extremely suggestive of a larger range of reference by which the critical operation of the book could be helped. The contextualization of the Irish poets among themselves as poets 'of modern Ireland' reminds us, as Dermot Bolger has said more generally of certain aspects of Irish society, that they have taken to the modern world 'like Hollywood Indians to whiskey'. Necessarily, Corcoran sees them all against a terrainwhere Ben Bulben Yeatsis stillimpressiveon the skyline, though when Yeats is ranged alongside Clarke, Fallon, and MacNeice, he is less monumentallyisolatedthan he may have once seemed. Butto suggestthat the poets who are the object of Corcoran's study might be helpfully considered alongside their contemporaries in Scotland (or Wales, given the publisher) seems firmly outsidethe book'sremit.This is not to suggesta differentbook, but only to note one possible and I think desirable way in which the contexts and intertexts might be profitably extended. As it stands, the national paradigm seems relatively unquestioned at preciselythe moment when it could usefullybe opened out. As noted, there is much that iswell done in thiswork;the readingsin postmodern elegy are particularly arresting,for example, although the overall tendency is to reinforceexistingversionsof the fourpoets ratherthan to introducefreshones. TRINITY COLLEGE, UNIVERSITY OF DUBLIN STEPHEN MATTERSON Poets ofModern Ireland: Text,Context, Intertext. ByNEILCORCORAN. Cardiff:University of Wales Press. I999. xiv + 223 pp. I4.99. Passage totheCenter: Imagination andtheSacred inthePoetry ofSeamus Heaney.By DANIEL TOBIN. (IrishLiterature,History, and Culture)Lexington:University Pressof Kentucky. I999. ix + 338 pp. $34. Both these books are valuable contributions to modern Irish literary scholarship; with certainreservations,both areinvigoratingand commendable. Neil Corcoran's study is a collection of quasi-independentessays, on Yeats,Austin Clarke, Padraic Fallon, MacNeice, Heaney, Paul Muldoon, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley, and Ciaran Carson, with mention of various others, including Tom Paulin. Corcoran's writing operates at a highly suggestivelevel of insight, so that perceptive comment on one poet leads revealingly to illumination of...




subtitle Skyline

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