Like pilgrims to this moment : myth, history, and politics in the early writing of Seamus Heaney and Leonard Cohen
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This thesis examines the early work of poets Leonard Cohen and Seamus Heaney in light of their treatment of mythology, ritual, and mythologization, moving either from personal to political awareness (Heaney), or from political to personal awareness (Cohen). Heaney, writing in the midst of the Irish Troubles throughout the late 1960s and 1970s, slowly works up to political awareness as the situation from which he is writing becomes more dire. By contrast, Cohen writes during the beginnings of the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s, moving progressively farther away from the highly political and mythologized work of his first book. This thesis analyzes both poets’ first four books of poetry and how each poet addresses the politics of his historical time and place as a minority figure: an Irish Catholic in Northern Ireland, and an Anglophone Jew in Montreal, respectively. Ultimately, each poet chooses to mythologize and use traditional mythologies as a means of addressing contemporary horrors before being poetically (and politically) exhausted by the spiritual and mental exertion involved in the "poetry of disfigurement."
DegreeMaster of Arts (M.A.)
CommitteeRoy, Wendy; Ophir, Ella; Meyers, Mark; Vargo, Lisa
Northern Irish poetry
Irish Republican poetry
20th century poetry
20th century studies
Let Us Compare Mythologies
Death of a Naturalist
Flowers For Hitler
Door Into the Dark
Spice-Box of Earth
Parasites of Heaven
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