Paradoxical Rural Imagination of Ireland and Its Cause in The Great Hunger

Weigui ZHOU


The Great Hunger, masterpiece of Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh’s, stands for his great achievement in poetry. The narrative poem, both lyrical and realistic, portrays the mediocre and repressed life of Patrick Maguire, a typical Irish peasant. The careful contrived tension the poet created lies in the fact that Maguire is both closely related to and helplessly subjected to the natural world. The paradoxical situation is brought by the loss of balance between human nature and the natural world, exemplified by the heavy sexual repression under rigid religious life and abnormal maternity. The morbidity in representation of nature originates from the repression of human nature.


Patrick kavanagh; Ireland; The Great Hunger; Sexual repression; Pastoral

Full Text:



Abrams, M. H. (2004). A glossary of literary terms. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.

Connolly, S. J. (Ed.). (1999). The Oxford campanion to Irish history. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Corcoran, N. (1997). After Yeats and Joyce: Reading modern irish literature. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Gifford, T. (2002). Towards a Post-Pastoral View of British Poetry. In John Parham (Ed.) The environmental tradition in English literature. Aldershot: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.

Gillis, A. (2005). Irish poetry of the 1930s. Oxford: Oxford UP.

Holliday, S. (1997). Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967). In Alexander G. Gonzalez (Ed.). Modern irish writers: A bio-critical sourcebook. Westport: Greenwood Press.

Kavanagh, P. (1972). Collected poems. London: Martin Brian and O’ Keeffe.

Liu, X. C. (2007). Antipastoral in The Great Hunger. Contemporary Foreign Literature, 3, 98-103.

Longley, E. (1994). Poetry in Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, 1920-1990. In Carl Woodring and James Shapiro (Eds). The Columbia history of British poetry. New York: Columbia UP.

Russell, R. R. (2008). Seamus Heaney’s regionalism. Twentieth Century Literature, 1, 47-74.

Scheper-Hughes, N. (1979). Saints, scholars, and schizophrenics: Mental illness in rural Ireland. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.

Tao, J. J. (2004). Ireland, forever Ireland: James Joyce’s definition of irishness and identity through negation. Foreign Literatures, 4, 48-54.

Watson, G. J. (1979). Irish identity and the literary revival: Synge, Yeats, Joyce and O’ Casey. London: Croom Helm Ltd.



  • There are currently no refbacks.


If you have already registered in Journal A and plan to submit article(s) to Journal B, please click the CATEGORIES, or JOURNALS A-Z on the right side of the "HOME".

We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases:;;

Copyright © 2010 Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture
Address: 730, 77e AV, Laval, Quebec, H7V 4A8, Canada

Telephone: 1-514-558 6138