Dr. Gerold Sedlmayr studied English, History, and Philosophy at Trinity College Dublin and at the University of Passau, Germany, where he now teaches. He published articles on Brendan Kennelly and co-edited an English/German selection of his poems.2005 0-7734-5978-2
This book provides a comprehensive overview of the work of one of Ireland’s most prominent yet also critically neglected writers, Brendan Kennelly. While covering his output from 1959 onwards, the chosen approach is systematic rather than chronological. Shedding light on Kennelly’s poems, novels, and plays from different angles – “History and Politics”, “Spaces/Places: Country, City, Nature”, “Religion and Ethics” as well as “Gender and Sexuality” – Kennelly’s development is traced from his neo-Romanticist beginnings to a critical and highly provocative postmodern stance, above all in the later long poems: Cromwell, The Book of Judas, and Poetry My Arse. While this study is certainly valuable as an introduction for the general reader, combining in-depth analyses of the most important works with general contextual information, the embedding of these analyses within a larger theoretical framework (including deconstruction, postcolonial theory, or gender studies) will also challenge the more experienced Kennellyan. Brendan Kennelly is a painstaking critic of today’s complacencies, inhibitions and violence, a scrupulous analyst of society, and an uncompromising reader of the past who, nevertheless, remains self-critical throughout.