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Poetry & Responsibility$
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Neil Corcoran

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9781781380352

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.5949/liverpool/9781781380352.001.0001

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The Same Again? Louis MacNeice’s Repetitions

The Same Again? Louis MacNeice’s Repetitions

(p.92) Chapter 6 The Same Again? Louis MacNeice’s Repetitions
Poetry & Responsibility

Neil Corcoran

Liverpool University Press

This chapter examines a characteristic verbal and formal effect in MacNeice's poetry: the use of various forms of repetition, including refrain and repetend. These are read as having various kinds of significance in the work: psychological, political and cultural. Paying close attention to the ways in which such mechanisms work in individual poems, the chapter examines such matters as MacNeice's relationship with Yeats; the effect on MacNeice of childhood trauma and the ways in which this is transformed poetically; and the characteristics of his poems of both love and the fear of death. The chapter argues that these devices in MacNeice present us with a modern poet in many ways indebted to the modernist writings of both Yeats and Eliot but independently located in relation to them also. It is proposed that these aesthetic decisions have strong political ramifications, and that MacNeice's poetry opposes the authoritarianism of High Modernism with a democratically oriented spirit always cognizant of popular cultural forms and means.

Keywords:   MacNeice, Repetition, Refrain

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