A History of Verse Translation from the Irish, 1789-1897

A History of Verse Translation from the Irish, 1789-1897

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This study surveys the course of verse translation from the Irish, starting with the notorious Macpherson controversy and ending with the publication of George Sigerson’s Bards of the Gael and Gall in 1897. Professor Welch considers some of the problems and challenges relating to the translation of Irish verse into English in the context of translation theory and ideas about cultural differentiation.

He outlines the historical and cultural background of Anglo-Irish literary relations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and the surprising fashion for Celticism at the end of that period. It was this cultural phenomenon that provided the context for the endeavours of Charlotte Brooke and of later translators to render something of the spirit of Gaelic poetry in English verse. Throughout the book, we see again and again the dilemma of poets who must be faithful to the spirit or the form of Irish verse, but who rarely have the ability to capture both.

The relationship between Irish and English in the nineteenth century was, necessarily, a critical one, and the translators were often working at the centre of the crisis, whether they were aware of it or not. As Celticism evolved into nationalism and heroic idealism, these influences can be clearly seen in the development of verse translation from the Irish.

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Irish Poetry from Moore to Yeats

Irish Poetry from Moore to Yeats

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Irish Poetry from Moore to Yeats examines the work of seven of the most significant Irish poets of the nineteenth century. Beginning with the impact that Thomas Moore's nationalist sentiment and generalised tone had on the language of poetry for much of the century, Dr. Welch then discusses J. J. Callanan’s attempt to deal with a Byronic restlessness and his startling translations from the Gaelic. He shows how James Clarence Mangan tested out different ‘voices’ to express his psychic plurality and discovered a special freedom in his versions of Gaelic originals. He describes the foundering of Samuel Ferguson’s vision of the reconciliation of Gaelic and Protestant traditions and demonstrates how the transcendental Catholicism of Aubrey de Vere mirrored Ireland’s historical difficulties. He surveys William Allingham's scope, fairmindedness and attention to detail, and lastly considers the comprehensive power of W. B. Yeats’s searching, qualifying imagination that informs his early work. A tradition emerges, composite, flawed, passionate, rhetorical, anxious; its intricate entanglements underlie many of the preoccupations of twentieth century Irish life and writing.

CONTENTS
Acknowledgements
Introduction
1. Thomas Moore: An Elegiac Silence
2. J. J. Callanan: A Provincial Romantic
3. James Clarence Mangan: 'Apples from the Dead Sea Shore'
4. Sir Samuel Ferguson: The Two Races of Ireland
5. Aubrey de Vere: An Attempt at a Catholic Humanity
6. William Allingham: 'The power and zest of all appearance'
7. Yeats and Oisin
Notes
List of Works Cited
Index More info →