The Body and Desire in Contemporary Irish Poetry


Irene Gilsenan Nordin (Ed.)

Irene Gilsenan Nordin’s collection draws together recent critical explorations of poetic representations and engagement with the bodily. In the last two decades there has been an explosion of work on the body in sociology, philosophy, literary criticism, and feminist theory. However, this interest has only recently filtered through to discussions of Irish literature which belies the importance of the body as a potent source of metaphor and identity construction.

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The essays in this collection deal with contemporary Irish poetry and the question of the desiring body as a cultural and historical product, a biological entity and a psycho-sexual construction, and not least as an existential being. Drawing upon the literary theories of, among others, the French post-structuralists, the psychoanalytic theories of Lacan and Kristeva, the philosophies of Merleau-Ponty and Levinas, and feminist philosophers, such as Donna Haraway and Susan Bordo. The contributors explore how contemporary Irish poets, both male and female, give expression to what might be termed a reassessment of material experience. With their various approaches they address the various ways in which the body can be seen as an agent of empowerment and change in the work of Eavan Boland, Ciaran Carson, Mary Dorcey, Seamus Heaney, Rita Ann Higgins, Thomas Kinsella, Michael Longley, Derek Mahon, Medbh McGuckian, Paula Meehan, John Montague, Paul Muldoon, Eilean Ni Chuilleanain and Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill.

About the Editor and the Contributors

Irene Gilsenan Nordin is a Senior Lecturer at Dalarna University College, Sweden.

Other contributors: Scott Brewster, Eluned Summers-Bremner, Robert Brazeau, Michaela Schrage, Colleen A. Hynes, Veronica House, Elin Holmsten, Lucy Collins, Helen Blakeman, Charles I Armstrong.