To Ireland, I
In To Ireland, I, the Clarendon Lectures in English 1998, Paul Muldoon produces a firework display of scholarship, wit, and intrigue, in an idiosyncratic wander through the alphabet of Irish literature. From a mischievous beginning in AmerginDSthe first poet of IrelandDSMuldoon forges link afterlink between the disparate and the unlikely, until modernists and medievalists appear as congenial neighbours on the half-lit, literary streets of Ireland. From Beckett and Bowen, through MacNeice, Swift, and YeatsDSand ever-guided by JoyceDSTo Ireland, I tip-toes delicately through the long grass ofIrish writing, pirouetting at borders, diverting streams, into a landscape of pure Muldoon: of brilliant connections and irreverent asides, of improbable alleyways and unconventional leapsDSbut always a landscape of luminous engagement and genuine revelation. Muldoons Ireland, shrouded in the fethfiada or magical mist of Gaelic literature, emerges as a strange estate, half-in, half-out of what he calls the fairy realm. A provocative A to Z, with a particular emphasis on the continuity of the tradition, To Ireland, I is an extremely enjoyable jaunt through Irish literature from one of the most important poets of his generation.
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