Seamus Heaney’s Mythmaking examines Seamus Heaney’s poetic engagement with myth from his earliest work to the posthumous publication of Aeneid Book VI. The essays explore the ways in which Heaney creates his own mythic outlook through multiple mythic lenses. They reveal how Heaney adopts a demiurgic role throughout his career, creating a poetic universe that draws on diverse mythic cycles from Greco-Roman to Irish and Norse to Native American. In doing so, this collection is in dialogue with recent work on Heaney’s engagement with myth. However, it is unique in its wide-ranging perspective, extending beyond Ancient and Classical influences.
In its focus on Heaney’s personal metamorphosis of several mythic cycles, this collection reveals more fully the poet’s unique approach to mythmaking, from his engagement with the act of translation to transnational influences on his work and from his poetic transformations to the poetry’s boundary-crossing transitions. Combining the work of established Heaney scholars with the perspectives of early-career researchers, this collection contains a wealth of original scholarship that reveals Heaney’s expansive mythic mind. Mythmaking, an act for which Heaney has faced severe criticism, is reconsidered by all contributors, prompting multifaceted and nuanced readings of the poet’s work.
Introduction: Seamus Heaney’s Mythmaking
Ian Hickey & Ellen Howley
- ‘Words that the rest of us can understand’: Heaney and the Eclogue
- "The Age of Ghosts" and "The Age of Births": Seamus Heaney’s "Route 110" and Tesserae
- Seamus Heaney’s Shield of Perseus
- Seamus Heaney and the Making of Sweeney Astray
- ‘Greek Gifts’: Seamus Heaney’s The Cure at Troy, Its Political Contexts and Ethical Imperatives
- ‘Always new to me, always familiar’: mythical re-significations in Heaney’s diction and poetic depictions in Italian
- ‘Mythologized, Demythologized’: Heaney, Lowell and Becoming-Trickster in Field Work
- Seamus Heaney: The Burdens and Benefits of Gift - Giving
- Mythic Water in Seamus Heaney’s Poetry
- Dante, Heaney and the Hauntological
- Crossing the Threshold to the Underworld in Heaney’s Late Poetry
- Self-Elegy from Afar: Emptiness and Anabasis in Seamus Heaney’s Late Work