Edwin Muir: Reading Eternity’s Secret Script



Remain seated as little as possible; trust no thought that is not born in the open, to theaccompaniment offree bodily motion — nor one in which your very muscles do not celebrate a feast. All prejudices maybe traced back to the intestines. A sedentary life … is the real sin against the Holy Ghost.1


Sacred Grove White Smoke British Poetry Foster Father Holy Ghost 
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  1. 1.
    F. Nietzsche, Ecce Homo (1888), trans. C. P. Fadiman (New York: Modern Library, 1927) p. 25.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    E. Muir, An Autobiography (London: The Hogarth Press, 1954) p. 170.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    E. Muir, Selected Letters, ed. P. Butter (London: The Hogarth Press, 1974) p. 100.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    W. B. Yeats, A Vision and Related Writings, ed. A. Norman Jeffares (London: Arrow Books, 1990) p. 86. I find that Seamus Heaney makes a similar point in a lecture, ‘The Place of Edwin Muir’, printed in Verse, vol. 6, no. 1 (March 1989) p. 27.Google Scholar
  5. 7.
    E. Muir, Scottish Journey (London: Heinemann/Gollancz, 1935) p. 100.Google Scholar
  6. 8.
    See, for example, C. Wiseman, Beyond the Labyrinth (Victoria, Canada: Sono Nis Press, 1978) pp. 87–90.Google Scholar
  7. 10.
    E. Muir, Essays on Literature and Society (London: The Hogarth Press, 1949) p. 131.Google Scholar
  8. 11.
    W. C. Williams, The Autobiography (New York: New Directions, 1951) p. 391.Google Scholar
  9. 12.
    W. Muir, Belonging (London: The Hogarth Press, 1968) p. 36. See also pp. 244–50 for a description of his breakdown in 1948.Google Scholar
  10. 15.
    See, for example, J. M. MacLachlen and D. S. Robb (eds), Edwin Muir: Centenary Assessments (Aberdeen Association for Scottish Literary Studies, 1990).Google Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1995

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