Muldoon's Betweenness

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Muldoon’s poetry frequently explores states of being ‘in-between’ and this can plausibly be related to his Catholic Northern Irish identity. He seems to be aware of the effects comprised in Derrida’s concept of différance, one version of which is the entre (‘between’). Nevertheless, Muldoon is more interested in exploring the experience of postmodernity than in offering a theory, or relating it to one culture. But this exploration has as many similarities with the concerns of existentialism and phenomenology as with deconstruction. Poems from Why Brownlee Left to Moy Sand and Gravel are discussed, and topics addressed include the South American exotic (new sources are suggested) and the troping on yarrow (compare Derrida’s pharmakon) in The Annals of Chile. Formal effects of repetition and difference reflect the themes. The redemption of repetition is studied with the help both of Kierkegaard and of Muldoon’s thoughts on the ‘magic mist’ of Irish romance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-134
Number of pages18
JournalEnglish: The Journal of the English Association
Volume54 (209)
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005

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