MacNeice, Louis

Louis MacNeice
Louis MacNeice. Image source Digital Literary Atlas of Ireland, 1922–1949

(Frederick) Louis MacNeice was born in Belfast in 1907, brought up in Carrickfergus, Co. Antrim and educated in England.

He studied Classics and Philosophy at Oxford and both of these subjects informed his poetry. He was known as a translator, literary critic, playwright, autobiographer, BBC producer and feature writer as well as poet.

His poetry includes Blind Fireworks (London, Victor Gollancz, 1929); Poems (London, Faber and Faber, 1935); Poems 1935-1940, New York, Random House, 1940); The Earth Compels (Faber and Faber, 1938); Autumn Journal (Faber and Faber, 1939); The Last Ditch (Dublin., The Cuala Press, 1940); Plant and Phantom (Faber and Faber, 1941); Springboard:1941-1944 (Faber and Faber, 1944/ New York, Random House, 1945); Holes in the Sky (Faber and Faber, 1948/Random House,1948); Collected Poems 1925-1948 (Faber and Faber, 1951); Ten Burnt Offerings (Faber and Faber, 1952); Autumn Sequel (Faber and Faber, 1954); Visitations (Faber and Faber, 1957); Eighty-Five Poems (Faber and Faber, 1959); Solstices (Faber and Faber, 1961); The Burning Perch (Faber & Faber, 1963); The Revenant: a Song-Cycle for Hedli anderson (The Cuala Press, 1975); The Collected Poems of Louis MacNeice (Faber & Faber, 1966).

His translations include Agamemnon (London, Faber & Faber, 1936). MacNeice’s Agamemnon was first performed by the Group Theatre in 1936 with music by Benjamin Britten; Goethe’s Faust Parts I and II, an abridged version (Faber and Faber, 1951).

His original plays, mostly for radio, include Out of the Picture: A Play in Two Acts (Faber and Faber, 1937); Christopher Columbus (Faber and Faber, 1944); Dark Tower and Other Broadcast Plays. (Faber and Faber, 1947); Mad Islands and the Administrator. Two Radio Plays (Faber and Faber, 1964); One for the Grave a modern morality play, (Faber & Faber, 1968); and Persons from Porlock and other plays for radio with an Introduction by W.H.Auden, (BBC/Faber & Faber, 1969).

With W.H. Auden he published Letters from Iceland, a book of letters and poems (New York, Random House, 1937).

His prose is collected as Selected Prose of Louis MacNeice (Oxford University Press, 1990); and his plays as Selected Plays of Louis MacNeice (Oxford University Press, 1993).

His fiction includes, using the pseudonym Louis Malone, Roundabout Way (New York, Putnam, 1932); and for children, The Sixpence That Rolled Away (Faber and Faber, 1956/ published as The Penny that Rolled Away, New York, Putnam1954).

His non-fiction includes Zoo (London, Michael Joseph, 1938); I Crossed the Minch (travel writing and verse, London, Longman, 1938) The Poetry of W.B.Yeats (Oxford University Press, 1941); Astrology (London, Aldus, 1964); Varieties of Parable, The Clark Lectures 1963 (Cambridge University Press, 1965); and The Strings Are False, An Unfinished Autobiography (Faber & Faber, 1965.

He died in London in 1963, and is was buried in Carrowdore churchyard in County Down, with his mother.

Visit Dublin, 2014

Louis MacNeice at Digital Literary Atlas of Ireland, 1922–1949
Louis MacNeice at the Poetry Archive
Louis MacNeice at The National Library of Ireland