Stepping Through Origins: Nature, Home, and Landscape in Irish Literature by Jefferson Holdridge
"Holdridge makes fascinating and sometimes surprising connections that thoughtfully invite the reader to seriously interrogate the imaginative and historical consequences of the nature/culture divide."
—Christine Cusick, Seton Hall University
"This is an ambitious and wide-ranging study on an important nexus of concerns prominent in Irish writing for more than 200 years. . . . Given current critical interest in spatial concerns in Irish literature and culture, this work is well positioned to make a significant contribution to the field."
—Lucy Collins, University College Dublin
Since the eighteenth century, landscape has played complex psychological and political roles in the narrative of Irishness, entailing questions of memory, family, home, exile, and forgiveness. In Stepping through Origins, Holdridge explores the interplay of these concepts in literature. For Irish writers from Swift to Heaney, the Irish landscape has remained not only a reflection of Irish troubles but, much like aesthetic experience, a space in which the bitterness of family or national life can be understood, if not entirely overcome. Through deft analysis of works by leading Irish writers including Lady Morgan, Yeats, Joyce, Louis MacNeice, and Elizabeth Bowen, Holdridge expands and enriches our understanding of how landscape has served as a palimpsest for both family and country, connecting personal with collective memory, localized places with their regions, and individual with national identity.
Jefferson Holdridge is professor of English at Wake Forest University and director of Wake Forest University Press. He is the author of The Poetry of Paul Muldoon and Those Mingled Seas: The Poetry of W. B. Yeats, the Beautiful and the Sublime.