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Home > Catalog > The Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry, 1800–2000
The Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry, 1800–2000


  • Page extent: 258 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.35 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521609258)

  • Also available in Hardback
  • Published April 2008

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$31.99 (P)

The Cambridge Introduction to
Modern Irish Poetry, 1800 –2000

Over the last two centuries, Ireland has produced some of the world’s most outstanding and best-loved poets, from Thomas Moore to W. B. Yeats to Seamus Heaney. This introduction not only provides an essential overview of the history and development of poetry in Ireland, but also offers new approaches to aspects of the field. Justin Quinn argues that the language issues of Irish poetry have been misconceived and re-examines the divide between Gaelic and Anglophone poetry. Quinn suggests an alternative to both nationalist and revisionist interpretations and fundamentally challenges existing ideas of Irish poetry. This lucid book offers a rich contextual background against which to read the individual works, and pays close attention to the major poems and poets. Readers and students of Irish poetry will learn much from Quinn’s sharp and critically acute account.

Justin Quinn is Associate Professor of English and American Studies at the Charles University, Prague.

Cambridge Introductions to Literature

This series is designed to introduce students to key topics and authors. Accessible and lively, these introductions will also appeal to readers who want to broaden their understanding of the books and authors they enjoy.

•   Ideal for students, teachers, and lecturers

•   Concise, yet packed with essential information

•   Key suggestions for further reading

Titles in this series:

Christopher Balme    The Cambridge Introduction to Theatre Studies

Eric Bulson    The Cambridge Introduction to James Joyce

Warren Chernaik    The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare's History Plays

John Xiros Cooper    The Cambridge Introduction to T. S. Eliot

Patrick Corcoran    The Cambridge Introduction to Francophone Literature

Gregg Crane    The Cambridge Introduction to the Nineteenth-Century American Novel

Kirk Curnutt    The Cambridge Introduction to F. Scott Fitzgerald

Janette Dillon    The Cambridge Introduction to Early English Theatre

Janette Dillon    The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare's Tragedies

Jane Goldman    The Cambridge Introduction to Virginia Woolf

Kevin J. Hayes    The Cambridge Introduction to Herman Melville

Nancy Henry    The Cambridge Introduction to George Eliot

Leslie Hill    The Cambridge Introduction to Jacques Derrida

David Holdeman    The Cambridge Introduction to W. B. Yeats

Adrian Hunter    The Cambridge Introduction to the Short Story in English

C. L. Innes    The Cambridge Introduction to Postcolonial Literatures

M. Jimmie Killingsworth    The Cambridge Introduction to Walt Whitman

Pericles Lewis    The Cambridge Introduction to Modernism

Roman McDonald    The Cambridge Introduction to Samuel Beckett

Wendy Martin    The Cambridge Introduction to Emily Dickinson

Peter Messent    The Cambridge Introduction to Mark Twain

David Morley    The Cambridge Introduction to Creative Writing

Ira Nadel    The Cambridge Introduction to Ezra Pound

Leland S. Person    The Cambridge Introduction to Nathaniel Hawthorne

John Peters    The Cambridge Introduction to Joseph Conrad

Justin Quinn    The Cambridge Introduction to Modern Irish Poetry

Sarah Robbins    The Cambridge Introduction to Harriet Beecher Stowe

Martin Scofield    The Cambridge Introduction to the American Short Story

Emma Smith    The Cambridge Introduction to Shakespeare

Peter Thomson    The Cambridge Introduction to English Theatre, 1660 –1900

Janet Todd    The Cambridge Introduction to Jane Austen

Theresa M. Towner    The Cambridge Introduction to William Faulkner

Jennifer Wallace    The Cambridge Introduction to Tragedy

The Cambridge Introduction to
Modern Irish Poetry, 1800 –2000


Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 8RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press, New York
Information on this title:

© Justin Quinn 2008

This publication is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2008

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this publication is available from the British Library

ISBN 978-0-521-84673-8 hardback
ISBN 978-0-521-60925-8 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or
accuracy of URLs for external or third-party internet websites referred to
in this publication, and does not guarantee that any content on such
websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

That there is an Ireland where
Trees suddenly fly away
And leave their pigeons standing
Baffled in the air.



Acknowledgements page   x
Introduction 1
1 The appearance of Ireland 7
Thomas Moore, J. J. Callanan, James Clarence
2 Tennyson’s Ireland 26
James Henry, Samuel Ferguson, William
3 Revival 44
Douglas Hyde, Katharine Tynan, Ethna
Carbery, Emily Lawless, Eva Gore-Booth,
Padraic Colum, Susan L. Mitchell, Francis
Ledwidge, J. M. Synge, Oscar Wilde
4 W. B. Yeats 59
5 Wild earth 80
Padraic Colum, Austin Clarke, Patrick
Kavanagh, Louis MacNeice
6 The ends of Modernism: Kinsella and Irish experiment 97
Denis Devlin, Brian Coffey, Thomas Kinsella,
John Montague, Trevor Joyce, Randolph Healy,
Maurice Scully
7 Ireland’s Empire 113
Richard Murphy, Derek Mahon, Michael
8 Seamus Heaney 130
9 Irsko po Polsku: poetry and translation 143
Seán Ó Ríordáin, Máirtín Ó Direáin, Nuala Ní
Dhomhnaill, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Michael
Hartnett, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Peter
Fallon, Aidan Rooney, Samuel Beckett
10 Feminism and Irish poetry 161
Eavan Boland, Paula Meehan, Catherine Walsh,
Medbh McGuckian, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin
11 Out of Ireland: Muldoon and other émigrés 175
Paul Muldoon, Greg Delanty, Eavan Boland,
Peter Fallon, Eamon Grennan, Harry Clifton,
Peter McDonald, Tom Paulin, Bernard
O’Donoghue, Ian Duhig
12 The disappearance of Ireland 194
Paul Durcan, Dennis O’Driscoll, Kevin Higgins,
Ciaran Carson, Peter Sirr, Sinéad Morrissey,
David Wheatley, Vona Groarke, Conor
O’Callaghan, Caitríona O’Reilly
Notes 211
Guide to further reading 230
Index 236


Many individuals helped in many ways during the writing of this book and it is a pleasure to acknowledge them here: Michael Allen, Fran Brearton, Garrick Davis, Andrew Fitzsimons, Tomáš Fürstenzeller, Sylva Fischerová, Daniela Furthnerová, Robert Greacen, Aleš Klégr, Tereza Límanová, James McCabe, Peter McDonald, Síle Ní Bhroin, Štěpán Nosek, Luán ó Braonáin, Dennis O’Driscoll, Colm Quinn, Jack Quinn, Christopher Ricks, Ray Ryan (who came with the idea), Pavlína Šaldová, Moynagh Sullivan, Bill Tinley and Tereza Vohryzková. And thanks go to Audrey Cotterell for her copy-editing.

   Especial thanks go to the following, who commented in detail on one or more chapters: Louis de Paor, Selina Guinness, Maria Johnston and Jill Siddall. Matthew Campbell supported the project from the beginning and read the manuscript in the final stages. I am extremely indebted to him for his valuable criticism and encouragement. Also, David Wheatley was a constant support, source of information and valuable objection throughout the writing of this book. Much of my understanding of Irish poetry developed out of our conversations and correspondence since the early 1990s.

   I also wish to thank the Princess Grace Irish Library, Monaco, as well as the Ireland Fund of Monaco, for providing a month-long haven in 2005, which enabled me to get about a third of this book written.

   The final draft of the book was prepared while I was teaching for a semester at the Department of English at Villanova University, Pennsylvania, and I would also like to acknowledge their support here.

   Research funds were provided by a Research Grant from the Czech Ministry of Education awarded to an interdisciplinary collective at the Faculty of Arts, Charles University, Prague (‘Foundations of the Modern World as Reflected in Literature and Philosophy’, MSM0021620824).

   The excerpt from ‘For my God-daughter, B. A. H.’ and ‘Water Baby’ by Michael Hartnett is reproduced by kind permission of the Estate of Michael Hartnett and The Gallery Press, from Collected Poems (2001). ‘Love Poem’ by Maurice Craig is reproduced by kind permission of the author.

   The book is dedicated to my parents Anna and Jack Quinn.

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