Rural Ireland, mythmaking and transatlantic translation
in American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55
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The efforts of the Celtic Revivalists had done much to persuade American writers that Ireland was a rural idyll – even if this was largely due to a fantastic reading of the Irish countryside and its inhabitants. When American modernists turn to the Irish landscape in their writing, therefore, we find a contemplation of this rural myth of Ireland that is by turns naïve and knowing, enchanted by the promise of a bucolic haven and either indulging knowingly in the construction of the myth or deriving pleasure from its unreality. This chapter describes how this preoccupation with the rural, and a comparative disinterest (or even disgust) in the urban, shaped the ways in which American poets including Moore, Bishop, Whitman and Stevens, and writers Bogan and Steinbeck, responded to, and translated, the Irish landscape within their works.

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