Starting Lines in Scottish, Irish, and English Poetry: From Burns to Heaney

Hardcover | December 30, 2000

byFiona Stafford

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Why should a poem begin with a line from another poem? Is an eighteenth-century epigraph working in the same way as a post-modern quotation? And how are the dynamics of the new text and the source affected by issues of nationhood, language, history, and cultural tradition? Are literary ideasof originality and imitation, allusion and influence inherently political if the poems emerge from different sides of a border or of a colonial relationship?Taking as a framework the history of relations between Ireland, England, and Scotland since the 1707 Union, the book explores such questions through a series of close readings. Textual encounters singled out for detailed discussion include Burns's use of Shakespeare, Coleridge's reference to 'SirPatrick Spens', James Clarence Mangan's adaptation of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Ciaran Carson's quotation from John Keats, Seamus Heaney's meditation on Henry Vaughan, and the evolution of 'The Homes of England' from Felicia Hemans to Noel Coward.

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Why should a poem begin with a line from another poem? Is an eighteenth-century epigraph working in the same way as a post-modern quotation? And how are the dynamics of the new text and the source affected by issues of nationhood, language, history, and cultural tradition? Are literary ideasof originality and imitation, allusion and in...

Fion Stafford is CUF Lecturer in English at Oxford University, and Fellow at Somerville College, Oxford.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:368 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.91 inPublished:December 30, 2000Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198186371

ISBN - 13:9780198186373

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Table of Contents

1. 'What's Past is Prologue'2. ScottishBards and English Epigraphs: Robert Burns's 'A Winter Night'3. The Grand Old Ballad in Coleridge's 'Dejection'4. James Clarence Mangan and Percy Bysshe Shelley5. The Homes of England6. 'The Irish for No'7. Seamus Heaney and the Caught LineEpilogue: George Mackay Brown, 'All Soul's'Conclusion: George Mackay Brown, 'All Soul's' (text of poem)BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The extraordinary verbal memory of poets is the underlying theme of the book, and Stafford's tracing of interconnections ... is usually deftly sensitive and intelligent, and sometimes brilliant, her patiently devoted explication placed at the service of persuasive critical ruminations" --Neil Corcoran, Notes and Queries