Northern Irish Poetry and Theology

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9781137343833: Northern Irish Poetry and Theology
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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.

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“McConnell skilfully provides a compelling analysis of a wide range of poetry from each of the writers, contrasting and comparing their diverging approaches to writing, to theology, and to their position within their own histories. Northern Irish Poetry and Theology is an important and challenging document within contemporary criticism which will provoke as many questions as it answers and which clearly situates Gail McConnell as a key figure within upcoming Northern Irish criticism.” (Kirsten Kearney, Literature and Theology, Vol. 30 (1), March, 2016)

About the Author:

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.

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