A Rebel Act: Michael Hartnett's Farewell to English

Overview

In June 1974 one of Ireland's leading poets, Michael Hartnett, announced his intention to stop writing poetry in English and concentrate on using the Irish language as his poetic medium. This was a curious and courageous decision, as Irish was not Hartnett's first language.

'I "realised" my identity and came to terms with it ... my going into Gaelic simplified things for me and gave me answers which may be naive but at least give me somewhere to stand.'

A Rebel Act is an account...

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Overview

In June 1974 one of Ireland's leading poets, Michael Hartnett, announced his intention to stop writing poetry in English and concentrate on using the Irish language as his poetic medium. This was a curious and courageous decision, as Irish was not Hartnett's first language.

'I "realised" my identity and came to terms with it ... my going into Gaelic simplified things for me and gave me answers which may be naive but at least give me somewhere to stand.'

A Rebel Act is an account of the background to Hartnett's action and the outcome of this choice on his life and career, as well as the reaction of the literary scene of the time. This is the story of one man's determination to connect to his Irish roots, a relationship he continued to pursue until the end of his life despite eventually returning to writing in English.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781856359672
  • Publisher: Mercier Press, Limited, The
  • Publication date: 10/17/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.70 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements 6

Introduction 7

1 '1941 was a terrible year' 11

2 'Look what he wrote for me' 23

3 "The Emigrant Stint' 31

4 'You Insolent Pup' 38

5 'I failed cum laude' 46

6 'Trust nothing you write' 57

7 'Golgotha, Gentlemen, please' 69

8 'The Zeal for Metre and Syllable' 77

9 'Till, Talk and Tankard' 92

10 'Exquisite Dream of a Poet' 100

11 'Táimse flabbergasted' 114

12 'To kill a language is to kill a people' 127

13 'The clinging blood upon the stones' 135

14 'A long way to come for nothing' 145

15 'No Totems, no Gods' 159

16 'A Conspiracy of One' 169

17 'Poet Causes Mayhem with Salad Saga' 184

18 'My English Dam Bursts' 189

19 'The Bible in Scouse' 196

20 'A River of Tears' 204

21 'Heartbreak in two languages' 209

22 'Alcohol's a cunning beast' 215

Conclusion 223

Endnotes 225

Bibliography 245

Index 254

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