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Irish Catholic Identities$
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Oliver P. Rafferty

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780719097317

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719097317.001.0001

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Catholic-Christian identity and modern Irish poetry

Catholic-Christian identity and modern Irish poetry

Chapter:
(p.333) 20 Catholic-Christian identity and modern Irish poetry
Source:
Irish Catholic Identities
Author(s):

Bernard O’Donoghue

Publisher:
Manchester University Press
DOI:10.7228/manchester/9780719097317.003.0021

The idea of the transcendent, the relationship between time and eternity, between the numinous and the immanent is a central theme in the poetry of many contemporary Irish writers. But in many instances what appears in such poetry is the spiritual urge towards faith rather than dogmatic Christianity as such. We are presented by poets, such as Heaney, Muldoon, Deane, with a redefinition of the religious going beyond the categories of a particular belief system. Nevertheless, the Irish poet is representative of a culture in which religious images have been so pervasive that the poet can hardly be expected to avoid theme. But such imagery has been used not only for liberation but also oppression – witness the recent Troubles. The themes of identity and religion are central to a group of Irish poets whose work is examined here, some of whom, paradoxically are no longer practicing Christians.

Keywords:   Religion poetry the Troubles transcendence imagination faith

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