Northern Irish Poetry and the Russian Turn: Intertextuality in the Work of Seamus Heaney, Tom Paulin (BOK)
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Seamus Heaney, Tom Paulin and Medbh McGuckian are the three most influential poets from Northern Ireland who have composed poems with a link to pre- and post-revolutionary Russia. Their attraction to the Tsarist Empire and the Soviet Union reflects the increasing fascination with Eastern European literature among western writers. Russian authors finding their way into the poetry are, among others, Alexander Pushkin, Osip Mandelstam, Vladimir Mayakovsky, Anna Akhmatova, Marina Tsvetaeva, Boris Pasternak and Joseph Brodsky. By incorporating intertextual links into their work, Heaney, Paulin and McGuckian establish parallels between Russia and Northern Ireland in terms of history, politics, literature and culture. They attempt to reconsider the Northern Irish conflict through a Russian framework in order to subvert the established discourse of the Troubles based on British Unionism and Irish Nationalism. Their references to Russia allow the three poets to achieve a geographical and mental detachment in order to turn a fresh eye on the Northern Irish situation.