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The Dual Tradition
Categories: 20th Century, Irish
Imprint: Lives and Letters
Publisher: Carcanet Press
Paperback (128 pages)
(Pub. May 1995)
. . . It is not a history of Irish literature, but a view of the poetry and some of the other literature which the people of those level plains helped to produce during a particularly brutal and long-suffering past, when one of that people's greatest losses was the loss of its own language . . .
Irish literature exists in two languages. A dual approach is necessary if the tradition, with its historical, political and semantic tensions, is to be understood-indeed, if some of its features are to be appreciated at all.
Separate Gaelic and Anglo-Irish anthologies and commentaries have long been readily available, but commentaries dealing with the total Irish literary response are rare. In The Dual Tradition Thomas Kinsella presents a view of poetry in Ireland from early times to the present day, concentrating on the periods of most radical adjustment and change: the coming of Christianity; Norman and later settlement; the end of the bardic period; colonialism and dispossession; politics before Famine and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries centuries. He brings Yeats and Joyce into new focus and considers in special detail the poetry of Austin Clarke, Patrick Kavanagh and Samuel Beckett. The translations from the Irish are by the author.
Awards won by Thomas Kinsella Commended, 2007 Poetry Book Society
Praise for Thomas Kinsella 'The most complex and multi-layered of the Peppercanister poems...taken with the 1968 and 1973 volumes and some of the earlier poems may comprise the most challenging, most achieved, and therefore most rewarding body of poetry from the British Isles over the past half-century.'
The Cambridge History of Irish Literature 'With unique memorability and force these poems, in the words of 'Belief and Unbelief', coax us to follow their author in search of understanding 'back to the dark / and the depths that I came from'. No one who cares about poetry should hesitate to embark on the journey.'
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