Robert F. Garratt, Modern Irish Poetry, Tradition ad Continuity from Yeats to Heaney (California UP 1986), 322pp. with index.

Introduction; 1] Tradition and Isolation:WB Yeats 2] Revivalism and the Revialists 3]Non Serviam: James Joyce and Modern Irish Poetry 4] Tradition and Continuity, 1:Austin Clarke 5] Tradition and Continuity:Patrick Kavanagh 7] Poetry at Mid-century, 1:Thomas Kinsella 6] Poetry at Mid-century, 2:John Montague 8] Poetry of Commitment: Seamus Heaney 9] The Trasdition of Discontinuity: A Glance at Recent Ulster Poetry; Notes; Sel. Bibl.

Austin Clarke, ‘Irish Poetry Today’, Dublin Magazine, n.s., 10, 1 (Jan-Mar 1935), pp.26-32

Padraic Fallon, review, The Winding Stair and Other Poems, dublin Magazine, n.s., 9, 2(1934), p.58

Hugh A. Low, Anglo-Irish Literature (Dublin:Talbot 1926)

Maurice Harmony, Irish Poetry After Yeats (Boston:Little, Brown & Co 1979)

English as We Speak It, rev. ed. (rep. Wolfhound 1979) [notes the ‘give and take’ where the English and Irish languages have mixed, producing a special vitality and colour]

‘Irish national Literature, III’, in Uncollected Prose of WB Yeats, vol 1 Ed., JP Frayne (Columbia UP 1970) [‘Gaelic memories and Gaelic habits of our mind … an unexhausted and inexhaustible Irish mythology which would provide symbols and characters for poems’: p.377]

‘In Ireland, the problem of language as used by Irish writers is not in the end separable from the problem of the Irish language. A place deprived of its speech is rendered deaf to its traditions. Yet, having experienced this, Ireland, in the course of two centuries, has attempted to master, not only a new language, but also the new traditions that go with it while still feeling, sometimes profoundly, sometimes with irritation, the necessity to keep some sort of formative contact with the ‘Hidden Ireland’ and its old language.’ [Seamus Deane, ‘Irish Poetry and Irish nationalism’, in D. Dunn, Two Decades of Irish Writing (Chester Springs/Dufour Eds., 1975, p.8]

Montague, In the Iris Gain, intro to Faber Book of Irish Verse (London 1970)

Deane, ‘An Example of Tradition, Crane Bag, 3 1 (1979) [argues that the continuance of the various traditions, Ascendancy, revolutionary idealism, and Joycean practice of repudiation, involves betrayal of others due to co-presence of native and colonial strains in Irish culture]

Eavan Boland: ‘Let us be rid at last of any longing for cultural unity, in a country whose most precious contribution may be precisely its insight into the anguish of disunity; let us be rid of any longing for imaginative collective dignity in a land whose final and only dignity is individuality. [PARA] Fopr there is, and at last I recognise it, no unity whatsoever in this culture of ours.’ [‘The Weasel’s Tooth’, Irish times, 7 June 1974, p.7].

Denis O’Donoghue, ‘ARomantic Ireland’, in AN Jeffares, ed., Yeats, Sligo and Ireland (Gerrards Cross 1980) [Yeats hoped that the borken tradtion of Ireland might still be mended, p.25]

Sean Ó Faolain, ‘Fifty Years of Irish Writing’, Studies 51 (Spring 1962), 93-103. [Remarks on shift from poetry of feeling to poetry of thought]

Montague: ‘Who today asks for more/-Smoke of battle blown aside-/That the struggle with casual/Graceless unheroic things,/The greater task of swimming/Against a slackening tide?’ ‘Speech for an Ideal Election’, in Selected Poems (Wake Forest, 1982, p.10).

Frank O’Connor: ‘Irish literature, as I understand it, began with Yeats and Synge and Lady Gregory; it has continued with variations of subject and talent through a second generation. Is there to be a third, or will that sort of writing be re-absorbed into the mainstream of English letters?’’The Future of Irish Literature’, in Horizon 5, 25 (Jan 1942).

CHP. 1

Irish Literary Portraits, ed. WR Rodgers (Lon:BBC 1972). Clarke: Yeats was rather like an enomrous oak-tree, which, of course, kept us in the shade and of course we always hoped that in the end we could reach the sun, but the shadow of that great oak-tree is still there.’ Quoted in Rodgers, op. cit., p.72.

Eliot on Yeats: ‘His idiom was too different for there to be any danger of imitation … the influence of which I speak is due to the figure of the poet himself, to the integirty of his passion for his act and craft which provided such an impulse for his extraordinary development.’ Selected Prose of TS Eliot, 249.

Titles quotes from Yeats, Uncollected Prose, vol. 1, ed. John Frayne: ‘Irish National Literature, III: Contemporary Irish Poets’;

Titles quotes from Yeats, Uncollected Prose, vol. 2, eds. Frayne and Johnson (Columbia UP): ‘The Growth of a Poet’, March 17 1934;

Richard Fallis, The Irish Renaissance (Syracuse UP 1977).

Yeats: ‘examples of the long and continued and resolute purpose of the Irish writers to bring their literary tradition to perfection, to discover fitting symbols for their emotions, or to accentuate what is at once Celtic and excellent in their nature, that they may be at last tongues of fire uttering the evangel of the Celtic people.’ Yeats, Uncollected Prose, Vol. 1, ed. John Frayne: ‘Irish National Literature, III: Contemporary Irish Poets’, p.382.

Yeats: ‘.. Irish legends move among known woods and seas, and have so much of a new beauty that they may well give the opening century its most memorable symbols.’ Essays and Introductions (1961; Collier Ed. 1968), p.59.

Katherine Tynan, The Middle Years (London 1916), includes copies of letters from Yeats.

[William Allingham] had the making of a great writer in him, but lacked impulse and momentum, the very things national feeling could have supplied. Whenever an Irish writer has strayd away from Irish themes and Irish feelings, in almost all cases he has done no more than make alms for oblivion.’ (Yeats, letter of 2 Sept. 1888, in Letters to the New Island, ed. Horace Reynolds, Harvard UP, 1934).

Yeats: ‘Ireland since the Yourn Irelanders has given itself up to apologetics. Every impression of life or impulse has been examined to see if it helped or hurt the glory of Ireland or the politic claim of Ireland. Gradually sincere impressions of life became impossible; all was artificial politics. ‘ Memoirs [”Journal”, &c.], ed. Denis Donoghue (NY: Macmillan 1972, p.223.

Bibl., Thomas Parkinson, W B Yeats: Self-Critic (California UP 1971); Wayne Hall, Shadowy Heroes (Syracuse UP 1980); Donald R Pearce, Senate Speeches of WB Yeats (Indiana UP 1960); Donald R Pearce, W B Yeats and Georgian Ireland (Northwestern UP 1960).

Yeats; ‘We three [Yests, Synge, Lady Gregory] have conceived an Ireland that will remain imaginary and more powereflly than we conceived ourselves. The individual victory was but a separation from causal men as a necessary thing.’ “Journal”, in Memoirs, ed. Donoghue, p.251.

Clarke, ‘W B Yeasts, Dublin Magazine, n.s., 14, 2 (1939) [‘the poet’s life-long delight as an artist in attractive and striking gestures and his characteristic antinominianism. But they [the lines from Bun Bulben, ‘Cast your eyes on other days’] recapitulate a past phase rather than prepare a future.

Patrick Kavanagh, Collected Prose (MacGibbon & Kee 1967) [Yeats created Irish tradition and found himself ‘uneasy that he [didn’t] belong to it’, p.254]

Deane, ‘Literary Myths of the Revival: A Case for their Abandonment’, Myth and Reality in Irish Literature, ed. Jospeh Ronsely (Wilfred Laurien UP, 1977), p.320.

LIBX, Garratt: Yeats wrote to Olivia Shakespear, asking for a view of The Bright Temptation: ‘Read it and tell me should I make him an Academician. I find it difficult to see, with impartial eyes, these Irish writers who are as it were part of my propaganda.’ (Wade, 795). (Quoted in Garratt, 1986, p.47.)

Corkery: ‘in the case of writers from the Ascendancy their emotional nature differs from that of the Irish people (differs also of course from that of the English people) and such as it is, is also doubtless thrown out of grear by the educational mauling it undergoes. They are therefore doubly disadvantaged. To become natural interpreters of the nation they nee to share in the people’s emotional background … The ingrained prejudices of the Ascendancy mind are so hard, so self-centred, so alien to the genius of Ireland, that no Ascendancy writer has ever succeeded in handling in literature the raw material of Irish life.’ (Synge and the Anglo-Irish, Mercier 1966, p.38.

Also cites Corkery on the poetry of the “Celtic Revival” as exotic: ‘But if one continues to live with the Irish seas, travelling the roads of the land, then the white-walled hosues, the farming life, the hilltop chapel, the memorial cross above some peasant’s grave, impressing themselves as the living pieties of life must impress themselves upon the imagination, growing into it, dominating it, all this poetry becomes after a time little else than impertinence. It is not possible to imagine it as the foundation of a school of poetry in whch those three great forces, Religion, Nationalism,m the Land, will find intense yet chastened expression. (Corkery, ibid., p.3)

Padraic Fallon, reviewing Yeats in The Dublin Magazine, 9, 2 (1934), p.58, and taking a view which Garratt calls the characteristic view of him as one fallen from Irish grace: ‘long ago, who could have foretold that the Wanderings of Ossian [sic, Fallon] would lead at length to the Tower, … that the enchanted sleeper would awaken in this midnight, the coldness of the moon about him, his mind, once a disc reflecting a land of sun, now a very moon-metal turning in dark and light … I find myself thinking of him as one of the last delicate lights of the sinking epoch, of a civilisation “half-dead at the top”—as a star trembling in the shadows with the horizon coming up. [Garratt, 49]

Clarke on Yeats: ‘his later poetry celebreate mournfully the passing of greatness. In his ranging themese he sums up an aera and for us hjis language seems to bring to a poetic and glorious end the tradition of Anglo-Irish eleoquence, for it has the vibrant timbre which can be heard in Burke’s prose … and in tht last speech by Grattan in the Irish House of Commons before the Act of Union.’ (Poetry in Modern Ireland, p.49).

FR Higgins, on the special quiddity in Irish poetry: something ‘racial’ that would manifest itself in poetry as a pagan property, ‘a rflectin of that ancient memory regarding the poet’s peculiar powers of dalliance with the mysterious … a Gaelic virility where life is furty, magnificent and yet tender … the terrors and mysteries of time.’ (unpublished essay, NL MS 10, 864.) [Garratt 50]. Garratt quotes two further paragraphs, ending: ‘Let us be sun bred not dreamers—but indeed drunkards with fire on the mind and in whose eyes shine the richness of life, the intensity of a dark people still part of the landscape moulding our song with sinew and bone. We indeed know that only minds begetting literature in our time have their being in the muscles of life.’ [ibid.]

AE’s preface to New Songs: ‘I have thought these verses deserved a better fate than to be read by one or two, not only on account of the beauty of much of the poetry, but because it revealed a new mood in irish verse … There may be traces here and there of influence of other Irish poets, but there is no mere echoing of greater voices, while some of the writers have a marked originality of their own.’ (New Songs, O’donoghue and Co., 1904, p.5) [51]

Boyd calls Colm and O’Sullivan the ‘promising successors of Yeats’. (Ireland’s Lit. Ren., NY:Knopf, 1922, 255-58.

O’Sullivan: “Twilight People” [a stanza]: ‘Twilight people, mwhy will you still be crying/Crying and crying me out of the trees?/For under the quiet grass the wise are lying/An all the strong ones are gone over the seas.’ (New Songs, p.15) Also, from Mud and Purple: Pages from the Diary of a Dublin Man (Talbot 1917): “The Mamplighter”: Soundlessly touching one by one/The waiting posts that stand to take/The faint blue bubbles in his wkae;/And when the night begins to wane/He comes to take them back again/Before the chilly dawn can blight/The delicate farail buds of light/’; “Nelson Street”

Richard Loftus, National in Modern Anglo-Irish Poetry (Wisconsin UP 1964), discusses Colum’s use of ballad tradition and Gaelic prosody, pp.176-80. [Garratt, 282]

Zack Bown, Padraic Colum (Illinois UP 1970), admits that the poems are delightful but often one dimensional.

Colum, The poet’s Cirtcuit (1961).

Synge: ‘.. when men lose their poetic feeling for ordinary life, and cannot write poetry of ordinary things, their exalted poetry is likely to lose its strength of exaltation, in the way men cease to build beautiful churches when they have lost happiness in building shops … it is the timper of peotry that wears most surely, and there is no timber that has not strong roots among the clay and worms … the strong things in life are needed in poetry also, to show that what is exalted or tender is not made by feeble blood. It may also be said that before verse can be human again it must learn to be brutal’ (Preface to Poems, 1908.) [58]

Robin Skelton, The Writings of J. M. Synge [crit. essay] (Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1971).

Beckett castigates slavish imitation of Revival as ‘antiquarianism’ (Bookman 77, 1934; p.235-36).

patrick Kavanagh identied insincerity as Higgin’s real weakness: ‘He most desparately wanted to be what mystically, or poetically, does not exist, an “Irishman” … all this was essence of insincerity, for sincerely means giving all oneself to one’s work, being absolutely real. For all his pleasant verse Higgins was a dabbler.’ Kavanagh, “The Gallivanting Poet”, Irish Writing, 3 (Nov. 1’947), p.62.

Padraic Fallon and WB Yeats, collaborative broadsheets, Cuala 1935.

Seamus Heaney on Fallon, “A Poetic Legacy”, Irish Times, 17 Aug 1974: ‘an ambiguous wrestling with the dead, an attempt to estabish territorial rights in a terrotiry that is already possessed and repossessed [by Yeats’. Garratt builds on such commentary to show how for Fallon the struggle against Yeatsian influence, partly by confrontation, leads to breakdown of style in language and rhythm. [74]

Donald Davie, “Austin Clarke and padriac Fallow”, in Douglas Dunn, ed., Two Decades of irish Writing.

Chp. 3. [in progress]

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