1st Edition

Haunted Heaney Spectres and the Poetry

By Ian Hickey Copyright 2022
    178 Pages
    by Routledge

    178 Pages
    by Routledge

    Haunted Heaney: Spectres and the Poetry looks at the ghosts and spectres present within the poetry of the Nobel Prize winning poet Seamus Heaney. Covering Heaney’s work from his first collection, Death of a Naturalist, to his final collection, Human Chain, this volume analyses Heaney’s poetry through the lens of hauntology as presented by Jacques Derrida in Specters of Marx. This book presents spectres and ghosts not in the conventional sense, as purely supernatural, physical manifestations haunting a place, but instead as having a non-physical presence. In this sense past cultures, societies, texts, poets, and memories are examined as having a spectral influence on Heaney’s writing. His work is indebted to hauntedness as the past in all its forms sutures itself within the present of his thinking and writing, and our reading of the poetry. Topics for discussion include the Norse spectres in the early poetry; British colonialism and its haunting influence on the poet; a renewed look at the bog poems as being influenced by the spectral; the classical influence of Virgil and Dante; and a reading of ‘Route 110’ that incorporates the major instances of Heaney’s career into a singular poem. The book also incorporates Heaney’s prose work and interviews into the discussion and uses these works as a metacommentary to the poetry offering a deeper insight into the mind of one of Ireland’s greatest writers.


    Table of Contents


    Chapter 1: Derrida, Hauntology and the Spectre

    Chapter 2: Norse and British Spectres of Colonialism

    Chapter 3: The Haunted Bog: Spectrality and the Bog Poems

    Chapter 4: Wider European Hauntings: Virgil and Dante

    Chapter 5: Looking Backwards into the Future – ‘Route 110’



    Ian Hickey received his PhD from the Department of English Language and Literature at Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick, in 2019. During his time there he worked as a Departmental Assistant in the Department of English Language and Literature and as a Research Assistant in the Irish Institute for Catholic Studies. He currently works as a Postdoctoral Researcher in the Irish Institute for Catholic Studies, Mary Immaculate College.