Creativity and its Contexts
Two poets, a playwright and a novelist – Michael Longley, Eavan Boland, Frank McGuiness and Anita Desai – explore in these essays aspects of the imaginative process as each has experienced it: four major writers, four sensibilities, four ways of seeing creativity and its contexts.
MICHAEL LONGLEY writes with remarkable candour of his years – 1970 to 1991 – as arts administrator in Northern Ireland. Transforming anecdote into parable, this noted poet measures the cost of ‘trying to remain true to yourself facing the ”dark tower”‘ while being part of an essential but often soul-destroying bureaucracy.
EAVAN BOLAND, merging the personal and the theoretical, contends that the place of women as writers in Irish society have been shaped by a ‘ fusion of the national and the feminine’.
FRANK MCGUINESS, the internationally acclaimed playwright, offers a radically innovative reading of Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, while calling into being the material contexts of creativity – in this instance, a prison cell.
The Indian novelist ANITA DESAI looks at her country’s colonial heritage and a shared background that gave rise to the work of Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore and the film-maker Satyajit Ray. Her fascinating lecture shows how a vibrant indigenous culture, coming into fruitful contact with the West at the end of the nineteenth century, blossomed into artistic creation – yielding parallels with Ireland.