James Clarence Mangan Analysis

Other literary forms

(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

James Clarence Mangan (MAN-gahn) is known primarily for his poetry and verse translations from more than twenty different languages, including Gaelic. However, he also wrote and translated witty, humorous prose works, articles, stories and essays, most of which appeared between 1832-1849 in different Irish periodicals, such as the Comet, Irish Penny Journal, Dublin University Magazine, Vindicator, Nation, and Irish Monthly Magazine. During the last year of his life, Mangan wrote a series of articles called “Sketches and Reminiscences of Irish Writers,” published in The Irishman.


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

The biggest distinction any mid-nineteenth century Irish poet could hope to achieve was to be called a national poet. James Clarence Mangan, one of the Young Ireland poets, won this “title” through versatile and prolific poetic production. Although written in English, most of his poetry absorbed distinctly Gaelic patterns and rhythmical structures and effectively revived the tone and imagery of the ancient bardic verse. Mangan’s work inspired a whole generation of Irish writers—among them William Butler Yeats and James Joyce—to find their own voice and, thus, continue the process of de-Anglicization of Irish literature and culture, which had been the goal of the first Celtic Revival at the end of the eighteenth century, by means of antiquarian explorations of the ancient Celts’ heroic past. Haunted by a sense of cultural inferiority and lost identity caused by the country’s colonial dependence on the British Empire, Mangan’s poetry responded to the pressing demand in nineteenth century Ireland for a national literature. His authentic, powerful counterimages would help Ireland resist and repair the cultural rupture and discontinuity caused by the colonial intervention.


(British and Irish Poetry, Revised Edition)

Chuto, Jacques. James Clarence Mangan: A Bibliography. Portland, Oreg.: Irish Academic Press, 1999. This bibliography, by an editor of Mangan’s poems, lists the works of the poet, his contributions to magazines, as well as works written about him. Contains a index of titles and first lines.

Lloyd, David. Nationalism and Minor Literature: James Clarence Mangan and the Emergence of Irish Cultural Nationalism. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1987. Mangan’s literary production is examined in terms of its “failure” (in the positive sense of “resistance”) to comply with imperial narrative models of cultural development. Focus is on the political and cultural effects of colonialism on Irish nationalist ideology and the emerging Irish aesthetic culture.

MacCarthy, Anne. James Clarence Mangan, Edward Walsh, and Nineteenth-Century Irish Literature in English. Lewiston, N.Y.: Edwin Mellen Press, 2000. This study of nineteenth century Irish literature in English compares and contrasts the works of Mangan and Walsh.

Shannon-Mangan, Ellen. James Clarence Mangan: A Biography. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 1996. Excellent, detailed study of Mangan’s life and works, relying on extensive use of primary materials. Includes short analyses of Mangan’s most significant work.

Welch, Robert. “James Clarence Mangan: ’Apples from the Dead Sea Shore.’” In Irish Poetry from Moore to Yeats. Irish Literary Studies 5. Totowa, N.J.: Barnes& Noble, 1980. ExaminesMangan’s literary achievements within the context of the emerging Irish national literature in English. Welch compares Mangan’s Romantic nationalism with works of English and German Romantic poets. The chapter contains stylistic and rhetorical analyses of about twenty original poems, translations, and prose works.