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The All-Sustaining AirRomantic Legacies and Renewals in British, American, and Irish Poetry since 1900$
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Michael O'Neill

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199299287

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199299287.001.0001

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‘Just Another Twist in the Plot’: Paul Muldoon's ‘Madoc: A Mystery’

‘Just Another Twist in the Plot’: Paul Muldoon's ‘Madoc: A Mystery’

(p.145) 7 ‘Just Another Twist in the Plot’: Paul Muldoon's ‘Madoc: A Mystery’
The All-Sustaining Air

Michael O'Neill (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses Paul Muldoon's dealings with Byron and other Romantics in ‘Madoc: A Mystery’, and looks at the degree to which Muldoon interweaves a post-modern absorption in textuality with a post-colonial critique and emerges with a post-Romantic recommitment to imaginative power, here reconceived as fictive linguistic play. Muldoon is found to be more insinuating and indirect than Byron, for all the Irish poet's admiration for the Byron who relishes ‘the rhyme on ‘Aristotle’ and ‘bottle’’. The chapter explores the ways in which Muldoon delights in the ludic and autonomous life of his words, a delight that militates against the expression of unambiguous convictions. It explores how the portrayal of Coleridge, Southey, Thomas Moore, and Byron in ‘Madoc’ involves Muldoon in playful, darkly comic critiques of the Romantic. The chapter argues that Muldoon does not simply retreat into textuality, and contends that the poet breathes new, if post-modernist, life into the Romantic quest poem.

Keywords:   Coleridge, Southey, Byron, Moore, post-colonial, post-modernist, textuality, quest, comic, rhyme

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