W. R. Rodgers

Darcy O'Brien

1970
102 pages
ISBN 0-8387-7750-3
Contemporary Irish Writers

W. R. Rodgers is another in the Irish Writers Series. These monographs have been designed to treat in individual volumes the significant Anglo-Irish writers of the 19th and 20th centuries. When complete the series will constitute a significant history of modern Anglo-Irish literature, encompassing discussions of more than 50 writers.

When W. R. Rodgers's second volume of verse, Europa and the Bull, appeared in 1952, he was ranked with Louis MacNeice, Patrick Kavanagh and Austin Clarke among the finest Irish poets then writing. In his other role, as a producer, writer and broadcaster for the B.B.C., he became the oral historian of the Irish literary movement and a familiar voice for twenty years, talking about other Irish writers, telling stories, and reading his own poems.

W. R. Rodgers is a short critical biography of the Northern Irish poet-broadcaster. After admiring his poetry for several years, the author came to know W. R. Rodgers during the last three years of his life, at a time when he was living in California. Mr O'Brien was fascinated by the fact that although Rodgers's work had been highly praised in recent years he had written little since 1952. Had his work for the B.B.C. sapped his poetic energy? Or were there deeper, personal factors involved? What effect might his having left the ministry after 12 years as a Presbyterian clergyman have had on his creative energies? Thanks to the experience of having known this remarkable personality, and through talks with his widow and family in Ireland, the author has been able to create this sympathetic portrait of a man who contributed so much to Irish literature. In addition to the biographical information, Mr. O'Brien has analyzed some of the major poems, and has supplied a bibliography and chronology.

About the author:

Darcy O'Brien was educated at Princeton and Berkeley. He is the author of The Conscience of James Joyce, "Some Psychological Determinants of Joyce's View of Love and Sex" (in James Joyce Symposium) and "Some Determinants of Molly Bloom" (in Approaches to Ulysses). He has just completed a novel, and is currently working on a play.

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