Louis MacNeice

(Frederick Louis MacNeice)

Louis MacNeice
Louis MacNeice
  • Born: September 12, 1907
  • Died: September 3, 1963
  • Nationality: British
  • Profession: Poet









Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE was a British poet and playwright from Northern Ireland, and a member of the Auden Group, which also included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis. MacNeice's body of work was widely appreciated by the public during his lifetime, due in part to his relaxed but socially and emotionally aware style. Never as overtly or simplistically political as some of his contemporaries, he expressed a humane opposition to totalitarianism as well as an acute awareness of his roots.

Quotes About
Author Quote
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A harrassed and dubious childhood under the hand of a well-meaning but barbarous mother's help from County Armagh led me to think of the North of Ireland as prison and the South as a land of escape.
A poet should always be 'collaborating' with his public, but this public, in the mass, cannot make itself heard, and he has to guess at its requirements and its criticisms.
All experiment is made on a basis of tradition; all tradition is the crystallization of experiment.
All the arts, to varying degrees, involve some kind of a compromise. This being so, how far need the radio dramatist go to meet the public without losing sight of himself and his own standards of value?
All the people I know have been conditioned by snobbery.
As things may turn out in the future, people may (though I doubt it) find that their work gives them all the enjoyment - physical, intellectual or aesthetic - which they may require. That certainly is not so now. Future ;Work, Workers & The Labor Force
Before I joined the BBC I was, like most of the intelligentsia, prejudiced not only against that institution but against broadcasting in general.
Broadcasting is plastic; while it can ape the press, it can also emulate the arts.
Democracy - or any improvement on it - will rest on the layman's right to criticize. His criticism will be often - very often - damn silly, but if, like Plato and the Fascists, we take away his right to criticize, we take away his right to appreciate.
Dublin was hardly worried by the war; her old preoccupations were still preoccupations. The intelligentsia continued their parties; their mutual malice was as effervescent as ever. War & Peace
Everyone is not able, or inclined, to write poetry in the narrower sense any more than everyone is qualified to take part in a walking race. But just as all of us can and do walk, so all of us can and do use language poetically. Literature, Writers & Writing
For this reason poets and artists developed the doctrine of Art for Art's Sake. The community did not appear to need them, so, tit for tat, they did not need the community. This being granted, it was no longer necessary or even desirable to make one's poetry either intelligible or sympathetic to the community. Literature, Writers & Writing ;Arts, Culture, Entertainment & Lifestyle
Good poets have written in order to describe something or to preach something - with their eye on the object or the end. The essence of the poetry does not lie in the thing described or in the message imparted but in the resulting concrete unity, the poem. Literature, Writers & Writing
I am 33 years old, and what can I have been doing that I still am in a muddle? But everyone else is, too; maybe our muddles are concurrent.
I am at home in Dublin, more than in any other city.
I am more proud of what distinguishes man from the animals than of what he has in common with them.
I am not yet born; O fill me with strength against those who would freeze my humanity.
I do not envy any animal, though I envy many of their capacities.
I have just finished my novel (rough draft). It is to be called 'Anacoluthon.' This will make the public think it is an historical romance.
I would admit that poetry is something more than mere communication and that if that 'something more' could be abstracted from the whole, it might well prove to be that which makes the whole a poem. Literature, Writers & Writing
I would have a poet able bodied, fond of talking, a reader of the newspapers, capable of pity and laughter, informed in economics, appreciative of women, involved in personal relationships, actively interested in politics, susceptible to physical impressions. Women ;Politics, Politicians & Political Campaigning & Fund Raising
In January 1921, I found myself wonderfully alone in an empty carriage in a rocking train in the night between Waterloo and Sherborne. Stars on each side of me; I ran from side to side of the carriage, checking the constellations.
In writing 'A Portrait of Athens' I have attempted - rather impressionistically - to give a panorama of its present. But I have also brought in its past because I sincerely think that there is a continuity.
It is a retrogression when human beings begin to insist on uniform, on one-mindedness, on conditioning their offspring so that all their reactions are automatic.
Let them not make me a stone and let them not spill me, otherwise kill me.
Man is an unhappy animal and one that can talk. If he was not unhappy, he would have nothing to talk about. But if he had nothing to talk about, he would be unhappy.
My birth was managed so rottenly that my mother had eventually to have a hysterectomy, after which she was ill off & on till she dies for obscure reasons when I was just 7.
My stepmother appeared when I was about 9. My brother was sent off to an institute in Scotland & my sister & I were sent to school. As my stepmother's ideas were then wholly Quaker, mixed with a naive & charming innocence & a little snobbery, it was one dotty epoch on top of another. I always remained terrified of my father.
My sympathies are Left. On paper and in the soul. But not in my heart or my guts.
Mysticism, in the narrow sense, implies a specific experience which is foreign to most poets and most men, but on the other hand, it represents an instinct which is a human sine qua non.
Nationalism of the Irish type is often regarded as reactionary. With the World Revolution and the Classless Society waiting for the midwife, why take a torch to the stable to assist at the birth of a puppy? Even if the puppy is pedigree. On this question I am unable to make up my mind. Society
Nearly all children have a feeling for rhythm in words, for the delicate pattern of nursery rhymes. Many adults have lost this feeling and, if they read verse at all, demand a far cruder music than that which they once appreciated. Music, Chants & Rapps
Some day I shall write a novel and call it 'A Walking Tour in the Congo' or 'Thrills and Spills in Aeronautics'; but I keep this type of title as a last & mercenary resort.
Style without content is bad style.
The individualist is an atom thinking about himself (Thank God I am not as other men); the communist, too often, is an atom having ecstasies of self-denial (Thank God I am one in a crowd). Religion & God
The poet has no greater number of muscles than the ordinary conversationalist; he merely has more highly developed muscles and better coordination. And he practises his activity according to a stricter set of rules.
The poet is a specialist in something which everyone practises. Herein, poetry differs from the other arts. Everyone does not practise music or painting or even dancing, but everyone without exception puts together words poetically every day of his life. Life ;Music, Chants & Rapps ;Literature, Writers & Writing
The poet is primarily a spokesman, making statements or incantations on behalf of himself or others - usually for both, for it is difficult to speak for oneself without speaking for others or to speak for others without speaking for oneself.
The rules or 'laws' of poetry are only tentative devices, an approximate scheme. There is no Sinaitic recipe for poetry, for the individual poem is the norm. Literature, Writers & Writing
The teapot takes in water and gives out tea. So the human individual takes in anything you give him and promptly transforms it; he is ready to give you out again his own reactions - first, in thought and emotion, then in voice or action.
Though I do regard the Inquisition in general and the burning of Giordano Bruno in particular as blots on the history of the Roman Catholic Church, I am far from being actuated by hatred of that church, and in fact cannot imagine that European civilization would have developed or survived without it. History
We are all fed from hundreds and thousands of hands. Often we do not know whose they are nor how they work. Only a few of us ever visualize the hands that grope in the coal mines or push levers in the mills or handle axes in the lumber camp. Work, Workers & The Labor Force
When I went to bed as a child, I was told, 'You don't know where you'll wake up.' When I ran in the garden, I was told that running was bad for the heart. Everything had its sinister aspect - milk shrinks the stomach, lemon thins the blood.
Wyndham Lewis is basically a pessimist, thinking of human beings as doomed animals or determinist machines. His theory of satire is based on this view, and he finds plenty of evidence to support it in contemporary practice.
You can't express emotion without giving information.