This volume contains the lectures delivered at Caen University in June 1992 for an international symposium organised by the Research Group in Anglo-Irish studies.
In memory of our dear friend, Gus Martin, 1935-1995
The theme was the creative process, successively studied in three literary genres: poetry, drama and the novel. Professor Genet selected two of the most famous representatives of each genre – Seamus Heaney and John Montague, Thomas Kilroy and Tom Murphy, John McGahern and John Banville – asking them to speak of their own creation: what happens in their minds during the birth and development of the creative work? A question that is far-reaching, abstruse and certainly indiscreet.
To challenge the writers slightly more, she had placed in front of each of them a critic – Maurice Harmon, Augustine Martin, Christopher Murray, Lynda Henderson, John Cronin, Rudiger Imhof – each of whom expounded their own point of view on the same phenomenon. These inner and outer perspectives generally converged and their complementarity throws a vivid light on the mystery of artistic creation. That was the purpose of the meeting and also the aim of this book, which should be essential reading for anyone wishing to understand the creative process of writing.
Introduction. Jacqueline Genet
I. The Irish Poets and the Creative Process
Seamus Heaney. 'The Frontier of Writing'
Maurice Harmon. 'Seamus Heaney and the Gentle Flame'
John Montague. 'The Sweet Way'
Augustine Martin. 'John Montague: Passionate Contemplative'
II. The Irish playwrights and the Creative Process'
Thomas Kilroy. 'From Page to Stage'
Christopher Murray. 'Thomas Kilroy's World Elsewhere'
Tom Murphy. 'The Creative Process'
Lynda Henderson. 'Men, Women, and the Life of the Spirit in Tom Murphy's Plays'
III. The Irish Novelists and the Creative Process
John McGahern. 'Reading and Writing'
John Cronin. 'John McGahern: A New Image?'
John Banville. 'The Personae of Summer'
Rudiger Imhof. 'In Search of the Rosy Grail: The Creative Process in the Novels of John Banville'
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