MacNeice, Louis. (1907 - 1963).
L i f e
- born in Northern Ireland > his poetry marked by ambiguity and his divided loyalty between Ireland x England
- unlike the other Auden Circle poets remained neutral both in terms of politics and religion
W o r k
- pioneered radio drama, author of poetry, literary criticism, and translations
- delights in the surface of the world his senses apprehend, often adds wit and a wild gaiety (“Bagpipe Music”)
x but: remains aware of the temporality of all things: an underlying sense of sadness and sometimes tragedy
- remarkably thematically consistent: recognises his own contradictions as an artist in the external manifestations of human history and undergoes a process of questioning and balancing these contradictions
- produces open and honest poetry of a consistently high level of craftsmanship: the second only to W. H. Auden among the 1930s poets
- celebrates ‘the drunkenness of things being various’
Plant and Phantom (1941):
- claims no way to be right entirely in the modern reality
> “Prayer Before Birth”:
- a charm-like demand for the spirit of delight and freedom from those ‘who would freeze’ his humanity
Holes in the Sky (1948):
- compares his father’s relish for empty Irish moorlands x his own for the woodlands of the ‘tame’ English landscape
The Burning Perch (1963):
- a ‘Wessex Guidebook’, modelled on Thomas Hardy's landscape
- mingles portrayals of the lush and varied landscape with archaeological, historical, and literary associations
- concludes with stating the indifference of Time to men and of men to history in a deliberate and appropriately Hardyian tone
- a translation of Aeschylus’s epic, in an often colloquial and unheroic verse
AuthorFrederick Louis MacNeice. (1907 - 1963). Anglo-Irish.
WorkPoet. Playwright. Member of Auden's Circle.
Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.
Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.
Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.
Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.
Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.
Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.
"World is crazier and more of it than we think, / Incorrigibly plural. I peel and portion / A tangerine and spit the pips and feel / The drunkenness of things being various."
From "Snow" (1935).