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Palgrave Macmillan

Northern Irish Poetry and Theology

ISBN 9781137343833
Publication Date June 2014
Formats Hardcover Ebook (EPUB) Ebook (PDF) 
Publisher Palgrave Macmillan

Northern Irish literature has traditionally been examined through a sociology of religion. This original new study proposes a theology of the text. Northern Irish Poetry and Theology argues that theology shapes subjectivity, language and poetic form, and provides original studies of three internationally acclaimed poets: Seamus Heaney, Michael Longley and Derek Mahon. It resists and critiques devotional modes of analysis and those rooted in Northern Irish identity politics. The book draws on early modern scholarship to theorise the relationship of literature and theology, and traces continuities and parallels between early modern religious history and contemporary Northern Irish culture. Outlining three structures of thought and feeling, it argues for the importance of iconography and sacramentalism in the poetry of Seamus Heaney; of iconoclasm and catechism in the poetry of Michael Longley; and of Calvinism, rupture and revision in the poetry of Derek Mahon.

Gail McConnell is Lecturer in English at Queen's University Belfast, UK. She has published in The Irish Review and contributed to The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry.

List of Abbreviations
1. Religion and Identity Politics in Contemporary Northern Irish Poetry: The Critical Landscape
2. 'Its flesh was sweet / Like thickened wine': Iconography and Sacramentalism in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney
3. 'A hole / In the cathedral wall': Iconoclasm and Catechism in the Poetry of Michael Longley
4. 'The only way out of 'the tongue-tied profanity'': Calvinism, Rupture and Revision in the Poetry of Derek Mahon


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