To Ireland, I by Paul Muldoon
In To Ireland, I, the Clarendon Lectures in English 1998, Paul Muldoon produces a firework display of scholarship, wit, and intrigue, in an idiosyncratic wander through the alphabet of Irish literature. From a mischievous beginning in Amergin DS, the first poet of IrelandDS, Muldoon forges link after link between the disparate and the unlikely, until modernists and medievalists appear as congenial neighbours on the half-lit, literary streets of Ireland. From Beckett and Bowen, through MacNeice, Swift, and Yeats DS and ever-guided by Joyce DS, To Ireland, I tiptoes through the long grass of Irish writing, pirouetting at borders, diverting streams, into a landscape of pure Muldoon: of brilliant connections and irreverent asides, of improbable byways and unconventional leaps DS, but always a landscape of luminous engagement and genuine revelation. Muldoon's Ireland, shrouded in the feth fiada or magical mist of Gaelic literature, emerges as a strange estate, half-in, half-out of what he calls the fairy realm. A provocative A to Z, with a particular emphasis on the continuity of the tradition, To Ireland, I is an extremely enjoyable jaunt through Irish literature from one of the most important poets of his generation.