Maurice Harmon: Selected Essays assembles published articles with unpublished talks and lectures, all of which show Harmon’s lively, readable style and draw upon a lifetime of study and contemplation. They provide authoritative readings of Irish writers and their work over three centuries, beginning with discussions of the origins and development of Irish literature in the nineteenth century and of the issues and contexts that determined the formation of an indigenous literature. They conclude with assessments of Modern Irish Literature in the work of such poets as John Montague, Thomas Kinsella, Seamus Heaney, and more recent figures.
Other essays concentrate on writers and topics in the post-colonial, post-revolutionary period – Patrick Kavanagh, Seán O’Faoláin, Mary Lavin and Francis Stuart – and show the variety and the vitality of their commitment to artistic freedom. With clarity, vigour, and good sense, Harmon considers their historical and cultural milieus. Editorials from Poetry Ireland Review and the influential Advice for a Poet engage with the current generation of Irish poets and reflect his critical values.
The originality of its perspective places Selected Essays in a class of its own. It complements rather than competes with other work in the field. Scholars, students, and the general reader will benefit from these accounts of significant Irish writers and their work by a distinguished specialist.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Terence Brown
Part One: Beginnings in Prose and Poetry
- Cobwebs before the Wind: Aspects of the Peasantry in Anglo-Irish Literature, 1800-1916
- The Enigma of Samuel Ferguson
- The Rejection of Yeats: The Case of Austin Clarke and Séan O Faoláin
- Writers on Radio: A Seventy-Fifth Anniversary Talk
Part Two: Developments in Prose
- Séan O Faoláin: Man of Ideas
- Mary Lavin: Moralist of the Heart
- The Achievements of Francis Stuart
- Benedict Kiely’s ‘Great Invention’
Part Three: Developments in Poetry
- Austin Clarke, 1896-1974: Against the Odds
- Patrick Kavanagh: Touched by God
- John Montague: ‘Restless Spirit’
- Seamus Heaney: Vision and Revision
- Thomas Kinsella: Poet of Many Voices
- Irish Poets: Fresh Perspectives, Different Voices
About the Editor:
Dr Brown is Emeritus Professor who taught English and Anglo-Irish literature at Marshall University, Huntington, West Virginia. Since her retirement she has resided in Dublin, where she has given editorial assistance to a number of writers.
About Maurice Harmon:
Maurice Harmon is Professor Emeritus of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College Dublin. A respected and internationally known scholar with an extensive bibliography of published work, he has held a number of professorships in universities in America and Europe.