By: Hugh McFadden
Writer, poet, lecturer, broadcaster and man-of -letters, John Jordan (1930-88) was a distinguished scholar-critic in the Dublin of his day, teaching English at University College Dublin (1955-66) and at the Memorial University of Newfoundland at St John’s (1966-7). A true cosmopolitan, and formidably read, his interests ranged from drama to literature in all its forms. This gathering of prose essays and reviews are taken from the columns of the Irish Press, Hibernia, The Crane Bag and Irish University Review and Poetry Ireland (a magazine he refounded in 1962), as well as from private unpublished papers. They focus on the mid-century canon of Irish and Anglo-American writing: Joyce, Yeats, Lawrence, Eliot, Kavanagh, O’Casey, Behan, Clarke, Stuart, Bowen, Gregory, Synge, Shaw and Wilde, as well as on the new voices of a succeeding generation: Kinsella, Cronin, Hutchinson, Heaney, and Durcan. With occasional literary detours to Russia, France and Spain, Jordan brings a continental sensibility to bear on his literary milieu.
‘I cannot imagine a literary editor today taking as much care with the submissions of the work of young writers as John Jordan did when he was editing Poetry Ireland, or offering as much personal support to new writers as he did.’ – Paul Durcan
‘John Jordan was one of Ireland’s leading literary critics. A distinguished poet and editor in his own right, a guiding light behind the establishment of Poetry Ireland, his essays, lectures and radio broadcasts are important statements of an Irish literary self-consciousness that emerged in the post-World War II period. I cannot think of anyone more keenly suited to the task of selecting the best of John Jordan’s literary writing and presenting it to a new audience than Hugh McFadden.’ – Gerald Dawe
HUGH MCFADDEN, poet, journalist, friend and literary executor to John Jordan, is editor of The Collected Stories of John Jordan (1991) and The Collected Poems (1991). He is author of Pieces of Time (2004) and Selected Poems (2005).