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n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Richard Murphy : autobiography and the Connemara landscape : original research

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Abstract

It could be argued that an important feature of Richard Murphy's work, and of his identity as a poet is the relationship between the creative self and a particular place, where 'place' should be understood as referring not just to physical qualities of the natural environment, but in a broader sense to denote an environment in which everything is interrelated and connected, and in which there is no sharp division between the natural and the human. The landscape providing inspiration for Murphy's poetic imagination is the landscapes and seascapes of Connemara in north-west Ireland. In 1959 he settled in this environment which was to be his base for the next 20 years and from this period and this location emanated the bulk of his poetic oeuvre. For Murphy committing to a life of writing poetry necessarily means being in the Connemara landscape. Returning to this environment in adulthood represents a quest for recovering childhood feelings, of belonging and love, as connected to particular places. Murphy's Connemara poems could be read as an account of this process of re-placement, as a type of autobiographical text in which the artist creates a 'double portrait': in writing about the landscape he also writes about himself, creating a place-portrait which is, at the same time, a self-portrait.


'n Noue verbintenis tussen die kreatiewe self en 'n spesifieke plek kan gesien word as 'n belangrike kenmerk van die werk van die Ierse digter Richard Murphy. 'Plek' binne hierdie verband beteken nie bloot die fisiese kenmerke van die natuurlike omgewing nie, maar dui in 'n breër sin die omgewing aan waarin alles onderling verbind is en waarin daar geen skerp verdeling bestaan tussen natuur en mens nie. Die landskap van Murphy se poëtiese inspirasie is die gebied bekend as Connemara in die noordweste van Ierland. Murphy vestig hom in 1959 in hierdie omgewing waar hy vir die volgende 20 jaar sou bly en waar die grootste gedeelte van sy poëtiese oeuvre tot stand kom. Toewyding aan 'n lewe as digter is vir Murphy onlosmaaklik verbonde aan die Connemara-landskap. Hy keer as volwassene terug na hierdie omgewing in 'n poging om die geborgenheid en liefde terug te vind wat hy in sy kinderdae ervaar het en wat vir hom gekoppel is aan spesifieke milieus. Murphy se Connemara-gedigte kan gelees word as die verwoording van hierdie proses van hervestiging; as 'n tipe outobiografiese teks waarin die digter 'n 'dubbelportret' tot stand bring: wanneer hy oor die landskap skryf, skryf hy terselfdertyd oor homself; skep hy 'n portret van 'n plek en ook van homself.

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/content/literat/36/2/EJC176008
2015-01-01
2016-12-06
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