American & Irish Literature: From Whitman to Montague

James Mc Eroy


This article traces some immediate interactions between American
and Irish literature. Beginning in the nineteenth century, it also explores
the importance of Walt Whitman to W.B. Yeats in his attempts to fashion a poetic – a democratic and un-English poetics – that would meet the requirements of what he deemed to be the new Ireland. The piece also explores, after Yeats, the ongoing desire to enter into various forms of poetic emancipation and accelerate the process of decolonization in Ireland as per the works of Patrick Kavanagh, Denis Devlin, Brian Coffey, Thomas MacGreevy and John Montague who all tapped into the unique possibilities that the American poetic experience put on offer. In so doing, the aforementioned writers – and so many more – helped to enlarge what it means to talk about “Irish” Literature in the twentieth century.


Irish Literature; American Literature; Nineteenth century.

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