Sir Samuel Ferguson

Malcolm Brown

1973
100 pages
ISBN 0-8387-1083-2
Contemporary Irish Writers

Sir Samuel Ferguson is another contribution to 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. These studies will prove helpful to literary scholars and to students of literature. When complete the series will constitute a significant history of modern Anglo-Irish literature, encompassing discussions of more than 50 writers.

The present volume examines Sir Samuel Ferguson's career, especially in light of its impact upon W. B. Yeats, who had called Ferguson "Ireland's greatest poet," and the "most Irish" of all Irish writers. Yeats casually borrowed some of Ferguson's bardic material and learned, too, some techniques from the loose rhythms and half rhymes that had resulted from Ferguson's adaptation of English verse to Irish musical melody. The great debt, though, was to Ferguson's "Fairy Thorn," which discovered the Celtic Twilight fifty years ahead of Yeats.

Professor Brown finds that Ferguson's uncollected prose and verse are even more exciting than the poems made famous by Yeat's praise. He concludes that Ferguson is a great satirist and translator, and an important Protestant ideologue.

About the author:

Born in 1910 in Georgia, Malcolm Brown has had an entirely academic career except for a ten year interlude in social research in Washington, D.C., with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Works Progress Administration. His undergraduate, graduate, and professorial experience has been at the University of Washington, except for one year at the University of Florida, Gainesville. Professor Brown is the author of three previous books, Five Stranded Coal Towns, George Moore, a Reconsideration, and The Politics of Irish Literature.

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