Thomas Chatterton and Barry MacSweeney : the influence of anxiety
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CitationShamsad, M. (2010). Thomas Chatterton and Barry MacSweeney : the influence of anxiety. BRAC University Journal, Special Issue(01), 50–57.
The influence of Thomas Chatterton on Barry MacSweeney is well documented. The Newcastle born ―underground‖ poet MacSweeney thought that his poetic career resembled the unsung genius of the late eighteenth century, Thomas Chatterton. According to MacSweeney, Chatterton‘s untimely death was due to the rejection and deception that he faced from his patron-publisher. Chatterton famously impersonated a medieval monk and claimed that his Rowley Poems were found manuscripts from the thirteenth century. His abortive attempt to prove himself a genius and consequent suicide inculcate a sense of melancholy in MacSweeney, which evidently permeates into his ―Brother Wolf‖. However, the influence is more than a Bloomian anxiety of capturing or even caricaturing the predecessor. Instead, MacSweeney tries to simulate the life of his alter ego — his ―brother wolf‖, and participate in a ritualistic death. The death depicted in MacSweeney‘s poem manifests a lyrical dispersal of the material body of a poetic figure as if to guarantee poetic geniuses an immaterial niche beyond the reach of selfish critics and patron-publishers.