Derek Mahon’s Homage to Pasolini
This essay aims to show that Derek Mahon's 'Roman Script' and the prefatory 'Ghosts' draw on rich veins of history, art and literature to bring out a number of meaningful connections. For example, the same self-indulgence that wrecked a family in Ibsen's 'Ghosts' seriously weakened the Roman Empire and undermined faith in the Roman Catholic Church. The cultural mediocrity that Mahon's mother fought so hopelessly prompts modern tourists to desecrate Keats's grave or great works of art with their cheap photography, just as it contributed to the creation of the deadly Fascist myth as well as to present-day consumerism, which produces so much ruin and refuse.
Quotations from Shelley's 'Adonais' and 'Hellas' and from Keats's Odes reveal echoes of these poets in 'Roman Script'. In their fight for truth against falsity, Gramsci and Pasolini take their rightful place beside Shelley and above all Keats, whose portrait emerges from the concluding “re-make” of Metastasio