Poets and the Peacock Dinner: The Literary History of a Meal Hardcover – 20 Nov 2014
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...with its in-depth original and archival research, and its forays into networks that made a material difference to the production of art, The Poets & the Peacock Dinner remains an interesting read. It joins excellence on Irish literature with close readings of poetry, and adds weight to ideas that Pound cared more for advancing his own agenda than for purely improving poetry. As an example of literary-historical materialism, this book is exceptional. (Nicholas Taylor-Collins, Notes and Queries)
no one is better placed or qualified than McDiarmid, with her deep knowledge of Irish cultural history, to unravel and clarify the details and complexities. (New Canterbury Literary Society News, Michael Copp)
Lucy McDiarmid's book is a serious exploration of 'the way literary intimacies create means of transmitting the professional culture of poetry', but it is also an entertaining account of a carefully stage-managed occasion ... McDiarmid writes very persuasively ... compelling ... a considerable achievement. (John Greening, Times Literary Supplement)
this work is a vital and important study of an event often referred to but heretofore inadequately examined. (Review of English Studies, Catherine E. Paul)
[a] fascinating study ... meticulously researched ... Prof McDiarmid makes a highly credible case ... [and] writes with sensitivity and insight ... What makes this book an important as well as a very entertaining one is that it seeks to substantiate an original theory about literary influence ... [and] prompts one to wonder how Irish literary history could be illuminated by McDiarmid's theory. (Terence Brown, Irish Times)
Over the course of her elaborate account of an unconventional dinner held in a Sussex manor house in honour of its owner, Wilfrid Scawen Blunt... we witness her careful untangling of the literary and personal lives of W. B. Yeats, Pound, Blunt and Lady Augusta Gregory. (Times Higher Education, Sandeep Parmar)
McDiarmid's intimate, intricate narrative wittily reveals cross-currents: the young men flattered and challenged the patriarch, jostling amongst themselves. (Stevie Davies, Independent on Sunday)
McDiarmid uncovers a wealth of significant and previously unexamined information about the event that reveals its importance to the defining of the profession of the male poet in this period ... deftly moves from straight-forward narration, to exploration of these various writers' careers and work ... a vital and important study of an event often referred to but heretofore inadequately examined. (Catherine E. Paul, Review of English Studies)
McDiarmid's book is a highly original work of literary sociology ... McDiarmid has cast her net widely for the published and unpublished sources that provide the details of her story, and she hauls it in with a sure hand and a lively and lucid prose style that bear her considerable learning lightly. (Matthew Sperling, Literary Review)
a lively, engaging account of the dinner, its varied significances, and its participants. Highly recommended. (G. Grieve-Carlson, CHOICE)
About the Author
Lucy McDiarmid is Marie Frazee-Baldassarre Professor of English at Montclair State University. The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, she is the author or editor of five previous books. Her scholarly interest in cultural politics, especially quirky, colourful, suggestive episodes, is exemplified by her most recent book, The Irish Art of Controversy, as well as by Poets and the Peacock Dinner. She is also a former president of the American Conference for Irish Studies.