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John McGahern, Post-Revival Literature, and Irish Cultural Criticism

John McGahern, Post-Revival Literature, and Irish Cultural Criticism Stanley van der Ziel John McGahern's attitude to many Irish writers from the first half of the twentieth century was often ambivalent. He instinctively disliked and distrusted the overt polemical stance adopted by many writers in the decades immediately following Independence, even if he could find in those same writers qualities of style or vision that he admired and, on occasion, even echoed in his own fiction. His relationship with the poet Patrick Kavanagh is a case in point. As early as 1959 he wrote to Michael McLaverty that, "Kavanagh is an irresponsible critic and a careless poet. It is a pity he doesn't take more care with his poems because he is richly gifted."1 On the one hand, McGahern deplored Kavanagh's part in the brash literary culture that existed in Dublin in the 1940s and 1950s. He later immortalized his youthful experience, both of being subjected to what he described in an autobiographical essay from the 1990s as "the doubtful joy of Kavanagh's company," and of the general atmosphere of that imaginatively and intellectually stifling Dublin-bohemian milieu, by re-imagining it in his fiction.2 Such stories about rural drifters in the Hibernian metropolis as "My Love, My Umbrella" http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png New Hibernia Review Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas

John McGahern, Post-Revival Literature, and Irish Cultural Criticism

New Hibernia Review , Volume 21 (1) – May 30, 2017

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Publisher
Center for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 The University of St. Thomas.
ISSN
1534-5815
Publisher site
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Abstract

Stanley van der Ziel John McGahern's attitude to many Irish writers from the first half of the twentieth century was often ambivalent. He instinctively disliked and distrusted the overt polemical stance adopted by many writers in the decades immediately following Independence, even if he could find in those same writers qualities of style or vision that he admired and, on occasion, even echoed in his own fiction. His relationship with the poet Patrick Kavanagh is a case in point. As early as 1959 he wrote to Michael McLaverty that, "Kavanagh is an irresponsible critic and a careless poet. It is a pity he doesn't take more care with his poems because he is richly gifted."1 On the one hand, McGahern deplored Kavanagh's part in the brash literary culture that existed in Dublin in the 1940s and 1950s. He later immortalized his youthful experience, both of being subjected to what he described in an autobiographical essay from the 1990s as "the doubtful joy of Kavanagh's company," and of the general atmosphere of that imaginatively and intellectually stifling Dublin-bohemian milieu, by re-imagining it in his fiction.2 Such stories about rural drifters in the Hibernian metropolis as "My Love, My Umbrella"

Journal

New Hibernia ReviewCenter for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas

Published: May 30, 2017

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