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    Derek Mahon's Poetry of Belonging

    Shields, Kathleen (1994) Derek Mahon's Poetry of Belonging. Irish University Review, 24 (1). pp. 67-79. ISSN 1755-6198

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    The answer to the rhetorical question posed in the above epigraph is clearly "no one". "Beyond Howth Head" sets up a clear polarity between "self-knowledge" on the one hand and "prelapsarian metaphor" on the other.l But in Mahon's work as a whole the individual's pursuit of artistic statement can not so easily be wrested from collective history. Self-knowledge and prelapsarian metaphor can not be exchanged unproblematically. Rather, the "ironic conscience" uses metaphor to propose a brief continuity between the antithetical categories of self-knowledge and home and then destroys the metaphor to separate the categories again. It is this sticking point which can give a clue to the question of belonging as it is expressed in Mahon's poems. By not completely separating art and history, himself and his people, Mahon professes some kind of allegiance - no matter how muCh he qualifies it - to the idea of an overlap between these antithetical areas.

    Item Type: Article
    Keywords: Derek Mahon; Poetry; Belonging;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Arts & Humanities > School of Modern Languages, Literatures and Cultures > French
    Item ID: 9260
    Depositing User: Dr. Kathleen Shields
    Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2018 15:47
    Journal or Publication Title: Irish University Review
    Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
    Refereed: Yes
    Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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