Tomaney J, 2010, "Parish and universe: Patrick Kavanagh’s poetics of the local" Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 28(2) 311 – 325
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Parish and universe: Patrick Kavanagh’s poetics of the local
Received 5 February 2009; in revised form 6 August 2009
Abstract. This paper concerns the treatment of place attachments in social science through an examination of their expression in literature and poetry. It challenges the notion that place attachments are essentially regressive and are signifiers of insularity and exclusion. The paper discusses the artistic expression of the ‘local’ as the search for insight into the problem of how we dwell in landscapes and communities in the context of larger human settings. These ideas are investigated through an examination of the novels and poetry of Patrick Kavanagh, one of the foremost Irish literary figures of the 20th century. In particular, the paper charts the development of Kavanagh’s ‘parochial imagination’. Kavanagh’s artistic project is situated in an understanding of his local attachments, his Irish Catholic identity, and his place in Irish literary culture. It demonstrates how Kavanagh’s concern was with articulating the local and the universal in ways which cast an illuminating light on the debates about place attachments found in social science.
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