“Giving a Sense of History”: Brecht, Rimbaud and Akhmatova in a Northern Irish Context

Stephanie Schwerter


Tom Paulin is one of the major Northern Irish poets attempting to communicate a new perspective on contemporary Northern Ireland through the lens of different literary traditions. He chooses translation as a mode of discourse and seizes upon the differences and similarities of Northern Ireland and various European countries. Through the identification with foreign cultures, histories and political conflicts, Paulin challenges established interpretations of the Northern Irish Troubles. This article focuses on Paulin’s versions of poems by Bertold Brecht, Arthur Rimbaud and Anna Akhmatova. It sets out to examine the deconstruction and redefinition of Irish identities through displacement. Taken out of the context of their culture of origin, the poems transformed by Paulin gain new meanings and new relevances against the background of the
Northern Irish conflict. Considering Paulin’s versions of German, French and Russian poems, I will explore the role of poetry in a particular historical and cultural environment. In this context, the article is intended to shed light on the question why Paulin feels urged to strive for otherness and “elsewheres” outside Ireland in order to overcome the established political framework of Irish Nationalism and British Unionism.


Tom Paulin; Northern Irish Troubles; Bertold Brecht; Arthur Rimbaud; Anna Akhmatova

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.37389/abei.v10i0.3671


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Esta obra está licenciada sob uma licença Creative Commons Atribuição 4.0 Internacional.