MacNeice, Louis

MacNeice, Louis məknēsˈ [key], 1907–63, Irish poet b. Belfast. Educated at Oxford, he became a classical scholar and teacher and later was a producer and traveled the world for the British Broadcasting Corporation. In the 1930s MacNeice allied himself with a group of poets of social protest led by W. H. Auden. His later poetry, written in a wide variety of verse forms, frequently expresses the loneliness and futility of modern life, while retaining the sparkling wit, ironical flatness of statement, the frequent theme of love, and the fluently colloquial tone of his earlier verse. His volumes of poetry include Poems, 1925–1940 (1940), Springboard (1945), Holes in the Sky (1948), Ten Burnt Offerings (1952), and Solstices (1961). He also rendered poetic translations of Aeschylus' Agamemnon (1936) and Goethe's Faust (1951).

See his Strings Are False: An Unfinished Autobiography (1966, repr. 2007); Collected Poems, ed. by E. R. Dodds (1967) and Collected Poems, ed. by P. MacDonald (2013); Letters of Louis MacNeice, ed. by J. Allison (2010); biography by J. Stallworthy (1995); studies by W. T. McKinnon (1971), D. B. Moore (1972), T. Brown (1975), R. Marsack (1982), P. MacDonald (1991), E. Longley (1996), and F. Brearton and E. Longley, ed. (2012).

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