Like pilgrims to this moment : myth, history, and politics in the early writing of Seamus Heaney and Leonard Cohen
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."
Northern Irish poetry, Belfast poetry, Montreal poets, Belfast poets, Irish literature, Canadian literature, the Troubles, Seamus Heaney, Leonard Cohen, Montreal, Belfast, Jewish poets, Irish poets, Irish Republican poetry, Quiet Revolution, Silent Revolution, Irish poetry, mythology, bog poetry, 20th century poetry, English literature, poetry, 20th century studies, ethnic minorities, religious minorities, mythologization, Hebrew scripture, Tollund Man, North, Let Us Compare Mythologies, Death of a Naturalist, Flowers For Hitler, Wintering Out, Door Into the Dark, Spice-Box of Earth, Parasites of Heaven
Master of Arts (M.A.)