Seamus Heaney (1939-2013)

A selective list of literary criticism for 20th-century Irish poet Seamus Heaney, favoring signed articles by recognized scholars and articles published in peer-reviewed sources

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introduction, biography, interviews

"Seamus Heaney, poet, died on August 30th, aged 74." A fine obituary for the poet, from The Economist magazine.

"Seamus Heaney." Poetry Archive. Directors, Andrew Motion & Richard Carrington.

"Seamus Heaney." A brief biography. Also, by Tom Sleigh, "Frank Bidart, Robert Pinsky, Seamus Heaney." On the religious impulse in the work of these three poets. Academy of American Poets.

"Seamus Heaney." An encyclopedia-type article on Seamus Heaney, also includes a list of his works, text for poems, and a recommended reading list. Poetry Foundation.

Kinahan, Frank; and Seamus Heaney. "An Interview with Seamus Heaney." Critical Inquiry 8, 3 (Spring 1982) pp 405-14 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Cole, Henri; and Seamus Heaney "Seamus Heaney, The Art of Poetry." Seamus Heaney's Paris Review Interview, Fall 1990.

Matthews, Steven. "Seamus Heaney." A substantial introduction to Heaney. An introduction to the poet, from a database that provides signed literary criticism by experts in their field, and is available to individuals for a reasonably-priced subscription. On Eleven Poems (1965). Literary Encyclopedia, 20 September 2002. Eds. Robert Clark, Emory Elliott, Janet Todd [subscription service].

literary criticism

Bolton, Jonathan. "'Customary Rhythms': Seamus Heaney and the Rite of Poetry." Says Bolton, "My chief concern in this essay is with the manner in which Heaney's three to four part station poems have come to serve as the formal equivalent of a liturgical rite." Papers on Language and Literature 37, 2 (Spring 2001) [questia subscription service].

Boly, John. "Following Seamus Heaney's 'Follower': Toward a Performative Criticism." A reading of "The Follower." Twentieth Century Literature 47, 3 (Fall 2000) pp 269-84 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Booth, James. "The Turf Cutter and the Nine-to-Five Man: Heaney, Larkin, and "The Spiritual Intellect's Great Work." On Seamus Heaney and Philip Larkin's mutual dislike of each other's work. Twentieth Century Literature 43, 4 (Winter 1997) pp 369-93 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Hart, Henry. "History, Myth, and Apocalypse in Seamus Heaney's 'North.'" Contemporary Literature 30, 3 (Autumn 1989) pp 387-411 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Hart, Henry. "Seamus Heaney's Places of Writing." Contemporary Literature 31, 3 (Autumn 1990) pp 383-91 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Ingelbien, Raphael. "Seamus Heaney and the Importance of Larkin." Journal of Modern Literature 23, 3/4 (Summer 2000) pp 471-82 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Ingelbien, Raphael. "Mapping the Misreadings: Ted Hughes, Seamus Heaney, and Nationhood." Contemporary Literature 40, 4 (Winter 1999) pp 627-58 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Lloyd, David. "'Pap for the Dispossessed': Seamus Heaney and the Poetics of Identity." boundary2 13, 2/3 (Spring 1985) pp 319-42 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

McSweeney, Kerry. "Literary Allusion and the Poetry of Seamus Heaney." Discusses specific allusions in some of Heaney's poems, judging them as sometimes successful and sometimes not. Style 33, 1 (Spring 1999) [questia sub ser].

Pellegrino, Joe. "Seamus Heaney's Proleptic Elegies." Close readings of "Digging" and "The Harvest Bow." Kentucky Philological Review 13 (1998).

Purdy, Anthony. The bog body as mnemotope: nationalist archaeologies in Heaney and Tournier. Mnemotope as "a chronotopic motif manifesting the presence of the past, the conscious or unconscious memory traces of a more or less distant period in the life of a culture or, metaphorically, an individual. Style 36, 1 (Spring 2002) [questia sub ser].

Russell, Richard Rankin. "Seamus Heaney's Regionalism." Twentieth Century Literature 54, 1 (Spring 2008) pp 47-74 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Vendler, Helen. "On Three Poems by Seamus Heaney." Close readings from America's greatest literary critic. Salmagundi 80 (Fall 1988) pp 66-70 [free at jstor, click "Preview" or "Read Online"].

Welch, Robert. "Faultlines, limits, transgressions: a theme-cluster in late twentieth-century Irish poetry." The poetry of John Montague, Seamus Heaney, Paul Muldoon, and others. Eire-Ireland: Journal of Irish Studies 38, 1/2 (Spring/Summer 2003) [questia sub ser].

Cultural Context

"Peatlands." A web site on peatlands in Northern Ireland: "Our peatlands are a history book. Peat is renowned for preserving the organic and inorganic remains of settlements, including tombs, farms, trackways, implements and bog bodies." UK Environment and Heritage Service.

"The Belfast Group." On the writing workshop formed in 1963 by Philip Hobsbaum at Queen's University, Belfast. Contents: overview, biographies, list of stories (some digitized). From Emory Univ.

The International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures. Web site contains information and news on exhibitions, journals, conferences, and more.

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