Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Freeside Europe Online Academic Journal

Modern cultural, literary and linguistic perspectives

Fekete-Nagy Fanni: A Journey through Time and Space in Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s “A Midwinter Prayer”


DOI 10.51313/Freeside-2020-2-3


Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin often writes about journeys and quests, the focus in these poems is not on the destination but on the voyage itself. A poem called “A Midwinter Prayer,” first published in the poet’s 1972 collection, Acts and Monuments, depicts a journey that takes place not so much in space but rather in time. The poem spans not only a part of the year from Samhain to spring, but also takes the reader from pre-Christian times through the dawn of Christianity into the future of prophecies. This is achieved by an intricate system of allusions and interweaving of various subtexts that my essay aims to uncover. By mapping the references in this poem, this paper examines Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s strategic use of allusions and subtexts.  The paper explores how allusions to different sources, like the Bible and old Irish literature and myth, are juxtaposed within a text. The article argues that allusions can become essential structural elements in the poet’s work and they can act as governing principles for entire poems. The aim of this paper is to analyse Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin’s complex allusive technique in one of her poems, “A Midwinter Prayer” in a way that will be applicable in later studies of the poet’s work.


Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, allusion, journey, immram, Bible, time

Download the article in PDF
ISSN 1786-7967

Budapest Institute, 1139 Budapest Frangepán utca 50-56. Hungary