Dr Adrian Paterson

Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Adrian Paterson holds a DPhil from Oxford University, and his forthcoming monograph Words for Music Perhaps: Yeats and Musical Sense has been recommended for the English Monographs Series at Oxford University Press. Further details can be found on the website

Project: "Perfect Pitch: Music and Poetry in Ireland from Moore to Muldoon".

In Ireland music is never abstract: already saturated by language and notions of cultural and political survival, here music has in all its complex inflections influenced poetry like no other force. This study uncovers music's role in defining and causing poetry, from its formal structures to its habitual self-image, and shows how the presence of both actual music and ideas about music has indelibly coloured the aesthetics of poetry in Ireland. Broadly the research examines the sustained use poets of the last two centuries from have made of music: as metaphor, imaginative touchstone, and structural principle; but also as political weapon, as medium for words in performance, as translational gesture, and even as replacement for language. More narrowly it consists of linked studies of poets and groups of poets from Thomas Moore to Paul Muldoon which explain in precise terms how adopting musical forms, ideas and imagery decisively shaped what they wrote and (crucially) how it was disseminated, thereby shaping an entire literary culture. Music and poetry in Ireland have an unstable but inextricable relationship: this study seeks to find out why this adopted intimacy is so intractable and influential, and to examine in detail the extraordinary variety of artistic manifestations this has produced.