The Irish Poet and the Natural World: An Anthology of Verse in English from the Tudors to the Romantics. Cork University Press, 2014. 430 pages,
This annotated anthology of poems makes available a rich variety of Irish texts depicting the relationship between humans and the environment between the years 1580 and 1820. More than a hundred poems are printed here, together with an extensive critical introduction, notes on each text, and a full bibliography. All the poets whose work is represented were born in Ireland or are identified as Irish.
As well as re-publishing the work of major poets such as Oliver Goldsmith, Laurence Whyte and William Drummond, this anthology includes many works by little known or anonymous authors. This volume also reflects current scholarship on the relationship between literature and the environment, enriching our understanding of attitudes in pre-Romantic Ireland towards changing landscapes and agricultural practices, towards human responsibility for the non-human world, and towards the relationship between nature and aesthetics. As well as adding considerably to existing knowledge of the printing and reading of poetry in Ireland during the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this anthology also traces the developments in sensibility in Irish poetry during this period, offering new perspectives on the advent of Romanticism in England and on the ways in which this revolutionised the relationship between nature and representation. The anthology fulfils the dual purpose of making a significant contribution to the study of literature and the environment, and of expanding our understanding of Irish writing during the period.
Andrew Carpenter Emeritus Professor of English, University College Dublin, General Editor, The Art and Architecture of Ireland, Royal Irish Academy/ Yale University Press.
Lucy Collins is a Lecturer in English Literature, University College Dublin.