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Charting an Uncertain Flight Path: Irish Writers and the Question of Nation, Identity, and Literature

Charting an Uncertain Flight Path: Irish Writers and the Question of Nation, Identity, and... CHARTING AN UNCERTAIN FLIGHT PATH: IRISH WRITERS AND THE QUESTION OF NATION, IDENTITY, AND LITERATURE Michael R. Molino Recently, Seamus Heaney published a poem dedicated to the British poet Donald Davie, with whom Heaney has had a long-term, public correspondence on such topics as the abiding influence of tradition, the debilitating impact of colonialism, and the indelible mark of one's patria. Heaney's poem, entitled "The Flight Path," continues a preoccupation with transitions, passageways, and movement through space that has recurred in much of his later poetry. The poem, divided into eight numbered sections, directly addresses Davie only in one short, acerbic section in which the exchanges and barbs between the two poets receive a quick and intolerant précis: 'Tour 'Ireland of the Bombers.' Your yes and no/ And praises and dispraises and poems to me./ Your Royal Navy Days. Your TCD./ England your England. Low Church. High ground. Heigho!" (5). This less than collégial sentiment has its roots in Davie's earlier claim that what some disparagingly call British colonialism is in fact "the utilitarian logic of 'the greatest good of the greatest number'" and that the people who employ this logic speak not the "language of the master http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Comparatist University of North Carolina Press

Charting an Uncertain Flight Path: Irish Writers and the Question of Nation, Identity, and Literature

The Comparatist , Volume 20 (1) – Oct 3, 1996

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © Southern Comparative Literature Association.
ISSN
1559-0887
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Abstract

CHARTING AN UNCERTAIN FLIGHT PATH: IRISH WRITERS AND THE QUESTION OF NATION, IDENTITY, AND LITERATURE Michael R. Molino Recently, Seamus Heaney published a poem dedicated to the British poet Donald Davie, with whom Heaney has had a long-term, public correspondence on such topics as the abiding influence of tradition, the debilitating impact of colonialism, and the indelible mark of one's patria. Heaney's poem, entitled "The Flight Path," continues a preoccupation with transitions, passageways, and movement through space that has recurred in much of his later poetry. The poem, divided into eight numbered sections, directly addresses Davie only in one short, acerbic section in which the exchanges and barbs between the two poets receive a quick and intolerant précis: 'Tour 'Ireland of the Bombers.' Your yes and no/ And praises and dispraises and poems to me./ Your Royal Navy Days. Your TCD./ England your England. Low Church. High ground. Heigho!" (5). This less than collégial sentiment has its roots in Davie's earlier claim that what some disparagingly call British colonialism is in fact "the utilitarian logic of 'the greatest good of the greatest number'" and that the people who employ this logic speak not the "language of the master

Journal

The ComparatistUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Oct 3, 1996

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