For Oxford, Penguin, and Faber and Faber, he has edited many volumes of British poetry and is currently editing the complete poems of T. Eliot while completing an eleven volume edition of Victorian Jurist James Fitzjames Stephen, a project generously funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to be published by Oxford University Press. Serving as co-director of the Institute, Archie Burnett is Professor of English at Boston University, a renown Milton scholar, teacher and lecturer, acclaimed editor of A.
Housman's poetry and letters , now undertaking the complete poems of Philip Larkin. As Director of Publications, Francis Whistler brings vast experience from working with the Clarendon Press, and while serving as a skillful mentor and teacher, she assists on the Stephen edition. A more important prose work from is Modern Poetry. The book as a whole offers a defense of modern poetry, in particular the poetry of Auden, Spender, Day Lewis, and MacNeice himself.
MacNeice wants to reduce the romantic distinction between the poet and the ordinary man.
There has been little development in manner, and little was added to his reputation. It is made up of twenty-four cantos composed of interwoven quatrains, rhyming on alternate lines—usually the second and fourth, sometimes the first and third.
The lines vary in length from two to six feet, with the changes in rhythm controlled by an informal, colloquial tone and frequent use of enjambment. The poem begins at breakfast time in the suburbs, and other cantos follow the poet to London for his working days and nights. Events in the present stir old memories—of Ireland, rejected with hatred; of his own schooling, remembered with irony; of his wife, much missed, still loved.
But the poet cannot immerse himself in his personal past and present.
Autumn Journal | Faber & Faber
The voice of Hitler, speaking on the wireless, intrudes upon his life, and the eventual settlement at Munich fills him with shame. He visits Paris and Barcelona, where the Spanish speak to him of the necessity of choice and action. The technical merits of Autumn Journal have been generally conceded. The poem retains the coherence of tone and rhythm through its many subjects and variations. The poem also convinces most readers of its essential honesty. To the extent that MacNeice was representative of a larger class of liberal individualists trapped in a polarized world which made their personal values seem less and less relevant, the poem earns the praise it has sometimes received as a historical document.
Such critics would argue that MacNeice fails to demonstrate the kind of belief or system he himself thought necessary for great poetry. In the spring of , MacNeice visited America to give some lectures and fell in love with a young woman there. He returned to America the next spring to teach at Cornell.
Dodds as The Strings Are False Many of his friends urged him to escape the war by staying in America, and the woman he loved would not return with him to England; nevertheless, MacNeice felt he had to go back. After some months of delay caused by a serious illness, he recrossed the Atlantic late in Barred from active service by bad eyesight, he joined the Features Department of the British Broadcasting Corporation in the spring of Despite the harsh things he had said of Ireland in Autumn Journal , MacNeice spent much of the fall of there, even applying unsuccessfully for a teaching position at Trinity College in Dublin.
In a few lyrics he seems interested in exploring the possibilities of specifically Irish subject matter.
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The Last Ditch as a whole gives the impression that MacNeice was looking for new directions after the impasse depicted in Autumn Journal. The love lyrics and character vignettes of this volume look forward to later work.
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Yeats Poetry, MacNeice now conceded, could be more than communication, and even mystic experiences have their place in it. The technique had matured and the poet grown, but in some ways the poet seems in much the same situation as the undergraduate of Oxford Poetry, and Blind Fireworks. Like The Last Ditch , from which some poems are included, Plant and Phantom has a miscellaneous character, as though the poet had exhausted the possibilities of an old poetic identity without finding a new one.
He remained a scriptwriter and producer with the Features Department until and worked with the department on a contract basis from then until his death.
Although he traveled frequently after the war and eventually moved to the country, he remained a familiar figure in London pubs, approachable, but aloof with strangers. His interest in drama and his preference for poetry that communicates made him one of the leaders among those poets who, mostly for the BBC, brought to maturity the short-lived genre of radio drama in verse. MacNeice was a prolific scriptwriter, creating more than scripts in his years of association with the BBC and serving as producer for many of them.
MacNeice undertook this task with some initial reluctance, for his command of German was imperfect. His verse translation was prepared by E. Stahl and with the aid of frequent consultations with Stahl. The character of the abridgment was naturally affected by the demands and limitations of radio as a medium. The two new volumes of poetry he produced in this decade, Springboard, Poems , and Holes in the Sky, Poems , maintain the level of his earlier work but represent no advance upon it.
MacNeice continues the series of character vignettes begun with The Last Ditch , but both his satirical portraits of contemporary types and his tributes to living and dead friends are among his weaker efforts. In the title poem of Springboard he finds an effective image for his own dilemma in the figure of a man poised high on his springboard above London, prepared to sacrifice himself but uncertain what the gain would be, crucified by his own unbelief.
The most attractive poem of Holes in the Sky owes its inspiration to his second wife, the singer Hedli Anderson, whom he maried in April , and to whom both Springboard and Holes in the Sky are dedicated. They were separated in When it was merged with the British Council the next fall, he stayed on as assistant representative through June Article PDF first page preview.
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Autumn Journal: A Poem (Faber Poetry)
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