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Ascendancy and Tradition in Anglo-Irish Literary History from 1789 To 1939$
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W. J. McCormack

Print publication date: 1985

Print ISBN-13: 9780198128069

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198128069.001.0001

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Introduction: Against Definitions

Introduction: Against Definitions

(p.1) Introduction: Against Definitions
Ascendancy and Tradition in Anglo-Irish Literary History from 1789 To 1939

W.J. Mc Cormack

Oxford University Press

The emergence of Anglo-Irish literature lies close to the heart of European romanticism. The Anglo-Irish Renaissance is central to modernist literature in the English language. With these two perspectives in mind, this book tries to describe the functioning of two crucial concepts from personal thoughts on heritage— the sociological formation of Protestant Ascendancy and the Yeatsian elaboration of an Irish literary tradition. This book attempts to deal with Yeats and Joyce as mutually defining figures within the totalities which historical as well as literary critical analysis depends upon. Yet while committed to the whole view of Anglo-Irish literature, the book resists the pressures which would establish the Anglo-Irish ‘thing’ as not just literature but a national literature. The book is not intended to rival the various sequential histories and personal guides to Anglo-Irish literature recently published. This book takes its bearing from the development of the romantic proposition in the 19th century which lent credence to the theory of literature as imitation of reality.

Keywords:   Anglo-Irish literature, romanticism, Protestant Ascendancy, Yeatsian, Irish literary tradition, Joyce

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