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Palgrave Macmillan

Northern Irish Poetry and the Russian Turn

Intertextuality in the work of Seamus Heaney, Tom Paulin and Medbh McGuckian

ISBN 9781137271730
Publication Date February 2013
Formats Ebook (EPUB) Hardcover Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Seamus Heaney, Tom Paulin and Medbh McGuckian are the three most influential poets from Northern Ireland who have composed poems with a link to pre- and post-revolutionary Russia. Their attraction to the Tsarist Empire and the Soviet Union reflects the increasing fascination with Eastern European literature among western writers. Russian authors finding their way into the poetry are, among others, Alexander Pushkin, Osip Mandelstam, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Boris Pasternak and Joseph Brodsky. By incorporating intertextual links into their work, Heaney, Paulin and McGuckian establish parallels between Russia and Northern Ireland in terms of history, politics, literature and culture. They attempt to reconsider the Northern Irish conflict through a Russian framework in order to subvert the established discourse of the Troubles based on British Unionism and Irish Nationalism. Their references to Russia allow the three poets to achieve a geographical and mental detachment in order to turn a fresh eye on the Northern Irish situation.

STEPHANIE SCHWERTER teaches translation studies and comparative literature at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales, and chairs the German-French translation programme at the Fondation Maison des sciences de l'Homme in Paris, France. Before moving to France in 2008, she lived in Northern Ireland and worked at the University of Ulster and at Queen's University Belfast.

Introduction: 'And every evening surprised I was still alive I repeated verses'
'No Vodka, Aquavit or Uisquebaugh': The Russian-Irish Connection in the Work of Seamus Heaney
'Punching Holes in History': Tom Paulin's Interest in Russia
The Russian Dimension in the Poetry of Medbh McGuckian: 'My words are traps through which you pick your way'


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