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The passing this summer of John Hume provides the context in which reflections on the themes of reconciliation, hope and the importance of place comprise many of the essays in the Winter 2020 issue of Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review. Testament is paid to Hume’s immense impact on the political focus and discourse in Northern Ireland over a period of forty years; the scale of his achievements and the global reach of his inspiration also provide a framework for surveying the synergetic relationship between Britain and Ireland through a literary lens.
‘I Feel Bould at All Times’: Irishness in Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s St Patrick’s Day and Pizarro
Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s most perceptive biographers have observed that, although Sheridan left his native Ireland shortly before his eighth birthday, never to return, he remained conscious and proud of his Irishness ‘to a degree that [was] … utterly baffling even to some of those closest to him’ for the rest of his life.
‘Ireland is the True Subject for the Irish’: Yeats’s Early Nationalist Overstatement
Yeats’ declaration that ‘Ireland is the true subject for the Irish’ is extremely bold, limiting ‘Irish’ literature to an almost singular concern. But what does Yeats mean by this alarming statement? – and does it stand up to scrutiny?
Heaney’s The Cure at Troy and the Christian Virtue of Hope
The penultimate chorus of Seamus Heaney’s Cure at Troy contains perhaps the poet’s most oft-quoted words. They cap the tone of a work that ‘proceeds from, and ends in, optimism’
Seamus Heaney and Robert Lowell: A Turbulent Friendship
In Stepping Stones (2008), Dennis O’Driscoll’s excellent book of interviews, Seamus Heaney recalled that he first met Robert Lowell in 1972 at Sonia Orwell’s party to celebrate Lowell’s wedding to Caroline Blackwood.
The Geography of the Imagination: Brendan Behan’s The Scarperer
Reasonably enough, critics have tended to dismiss Brendan Behan’s novel The Scarperer for what it is – a potboiler, a project undertaken quite literally to light a flame on the gas cooker.
The Poetics of Place in George Moore and John McGahern
This essay seeks to sketch out the way in which two, what might be called ‘canonical’, Irish writers, George Moore (1852–1933) and John McGahern (1934–2006), reveal comparable, though contrasting, sensibility to place.