"Something else, then something else again”: transformation and translation in Paul Muldoon

Brewster, Scott (2003) "Something else, then something else again”: transformation and translation in Paul Muldoon. Nordic Irish Studies, 2 (1). pp. 17-28. ISSN 1602-124X

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"Something else, then something else again”: transformation and translation in Paul Muldoon

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Abstract

The dangers of analogy and translation have cast a long shadow over Northern poetry and criticism: to translate is to overcome distance, to bridge divides, yet that very act of crossing risks the erasure of difference, a gesture that has helped to sustain a politics of determination (or determined politics) given graphic expression during the last thirty-four years in the North of Ireland. Northern Ireland is a disputed terrain partly as a result of the desire to compress historical connections and disparate temporalities into a coherent narrative, the type of coherence that Paul Muldoon’s poetry so often refuses. His work raises important questions about the stakes and potential costs involved in ‘translating’ difference in Northern Irish, and other, cultural and political contexts. This essay will explore the dangers and possibilities of ‘translation’ in Muldoon’s work, focusing selectively on Meeting the British (1987), Madoc: A Mystery (1990) and To Ireland, I (2000) and touching briefly on Muldoon’s most recent collection, Moy Sand and Gravel (2002). In Muldoon’s work, translation involves a complex, uncertain encounter with the other, and the tracing of this encounter necessarily raises questions about the relationship between politics and ethics, and the difficulties of the designation ‘postcolonial’ when applied to a Northern writer such as Muldoon.

Keywords:Northern Irish Poetry, Paul Muldoon, Translation, Walter Benjamin, Jacques Derrida, postcolonial
Subjects:Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q323 English Literature by topic
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q320 English Literature
Q Linguistics, Classics and related subjects > Q322 English Literature by author
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (English)
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ID Code:15044
Deposited On:25 Sep 2014 09:10

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