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Title: 'Irish by descent' : Marianne Moore, Irish writers and the American-Irish Inheritance
Author: Stubbs, Tara M. C.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3488 6821
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2008
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Despite having a rather weak family connection to Ireland, the American modernist poet Marianne Moore (1887-1972) described herself in a letter to Ezra Pound in 1919 as ‘Irish by descent’. This thesis relates Moore’s claim of Irish descent to her career as a publisher, poet and playwright, and argues that her decision to shape an Irish inheritance for herself was linked with her self-identification as an American poet. Chapter 1 discusses Moore’s self-confessed susceptibility to ‘Irish magic’ in relation to the increase in contributions from Irish writers during her editorship of The Dial magazine from 1925 to 1929. Moore’s 1915 poems to the Irish writers George Moore, W. B. Yeats and George Bernard Shaw, which reveal a paradoxical desire for affiliation to, and disassociation from, Irish literary traditions, are scrutinized in Chapter 2. Chapters 3a and b discuss Moore’s ‘Irish’ poems ‘Sojourn in the Whale’ (1917) and ‘Spenser’s Ireland’ (1941). In both poems political events in Ireland – the ‘Easter Rising’ of 1916 and Ireland’s policy of neutrality during World War II – become a backdrop for Moore’s personal anxieties as an American poet of ‘Irish’ descent coming to terms with her political and cultural inheritance. Expanding upon previous chapters’ discussion of the interrelation of poetics and politics, Chapter 4 shows how Moore’s use of Irish sources in ‘Spenser’s Ireland’ and other poems including ‘Silence’ and the ‘Student’ reflects her quixotic attitude to Irish culture as alternately an inspiration and a tool for manipulation. The final chapter discusses Moore’s adaptation of the Anglo-Irish novelist Maria Edgeworth’s 1812 novel The Absentee as a play in 1954. Through this last piece of ‘Irish’ writing, Moore adopts a sentimentality that befits the later stages of her career and illustrates how Irish literature, rather than Irish politics, has emerged as her ultimate source of inspiration.
Supervisor: O'Donoghue, Bernard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: American literature in English ; English Language and Literature ; Modern Britain and Europe ; History of North America ; American studies ; Transnationalism and diaspora ; National identity ; Marianne Moore ; modernist poetry ; American modernism ; Irish literature ; culture and politics ; syllabic poetry ; transatlantic identities