• 2,99 €

Beschreibung des Verlags

In 1998 Paul Muldoon gave the renowned Clarendon Lectures at Oxford University. This was in the year before his election as Oxford Professor of Poetry, but the lectures would be published under the title To Ireland, I already during his term (1999-2004) as holder of that honorary Chair. Muldoon's choice of title was hardly devoid of irony: for a series of pronouncements delivered ex cathedra, from a seat of academic Englishness, the Irish poet duly borrowed from Shakespeare (from Macbeth II.3.135-6); but the borrowed phrase points to the other island, and is followed in Shakespeare's text by the reflection: 'Our separated fortune / Shall keep us both the safer'. Muldoon built the lectures around an argument for the specificity, and hence the separateness, of the Irish literary tradition; but that specificity promptly defines itself as an anti-specificity, since it involves opting out of a definition based on contrariness, or in any way informed by a sense of polarities. Muldoon states his interest in 'promiscuous provenance', in an 'essential liminality', and announces that he will focus on 'a range of strategies devised by a range of Irish writers for dealing with the ideas of liminality and narthecality that are central, I think, to the Irish experience'. He further proposes that the Irish tradition is marked by an attraction to 'a critically positioned figure, a figure who is neither here nor there, at some notional interface'. (1) In their prevailing emphasis as in their chosen phrasing, such remarks leave no doubt of their author's awareness of current critical mores, and of his willingness to make such awareness apparent through the use of certain favourite tropes. These include hybridity ('promiscuous provenance', in Muldoon's words), a trope that is found in his collection Mules (1977) an early pivotal point, and has continually marked Muldoon's poetics since; (2) and 'liminality', ultimately favoured as the source of the overarching rationale of To Ireland, I--judging from the recurrence of the term throughout the book. Both these tropes derive the favour they currently enjoy from their affinity with the enabling concerns of a variety of critical discourses, ranging from the denunciation of binary oppositions by deconstruction to the querying of identity boundaries within gender studies, and of ethnicity and race within postcolonial studies. The latter, in particular, has emphasized the creative potential of 'liminal spaces', thus establishing further links with the kind of reflections on the construction of space and place that have characterized 'postmodern geography'. (3)

22. September
Irish University Review

Mehr Bücher von Irish University Review: a journal of Irish Studies