Frederick Louis MacNeice CBE (12 September 1907 – 3 September 1963) was an Irish poet and playwright. He was part of the generation of "thirties poets" that included W. H. Auden, Stephen Spender and Cecil Day-Lewis, nicknamed "MacSpaunday" as a group – a name invented by Roy Campbell, in his Talking Bronco (1946). His 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, his work shows a humane opposition to totalitarianism as well as an acute awareness of his Irish roots.
Louis MacNeice (known as Freddie until his teens, when he adopted his middle name) was born in Belfast, the youngest son of John Frederick and Elizabeth Margaret ("Lily") MacNeice. Both were originally from the west of Ireland. MacNeice's father, a Protestant minister, would go on to become a bishop of the Anglican Church of Ireland and his mother Elizabeth née Cleshan, from Ballymacrony, County Galway, had been a schoolmistress. The family moved to Carrickfergus, County Antrim, soon after MacNeice's birth. When MacNeice was six, his mother was admitted to a Dublin nursing home suffering from severe depression and he did not see her again. She survived uterine cancer but died of tuberculosis in December 1914. MacNeice later described the cause of his mother's death as "obscure", and blamed his mother's cancer on his own difficult birth. His brother William, who had Down's syndrome, had been sent to live in an institution in Scotland during his mother's terminal illness. Shortly after the death, in early 1917, his father married Georgina Greer and MacNeice's sister Elizabeth was sent to board at a preparatory school at Sherborne, England. MacNeice joined her at Sherborne preparatory school later in the year...
Quotes by Louis MacNeice
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