Seamus Heaney

Seamus Heaney : Searches For Answers

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Thematically arranged and clearly structured, this book explores the seminal themes in Heaney's writing: aesthetics, politics, language, identity and myth, ethics and notions of Irishness.

A central strand of this study is an exploration of Heaney's ethical and political project with respect to issues of Irish identity as outlined in his writings. This work suggests that there are analogies between Heaney's political and ethical thought, and that of Jacques Derrida, Maurice Blanchot and Emmanuel Levinas.

Each chapter concentrates on a single theme: his sense of the aesthetic, and its role in terms of politics and ethics; his relationship with politics as a contemporary situation; his notion of place, both as a given, and as something that could be reimagined; his enunciation of a sense of visceral identity; his concept of ethics in terms of a relationship between selfhood and alterity; his notion of the many threads which combine to produce a sense of Irishness.

Finally, the Nobel lectures of Yeats and Heaney are examined in order to trace the complex relationship between these two writers.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 224 pages
  • 130 x 214 x 16mm | 340.19g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0745317340
  • 9780745317342
  • 2,253,494

Table of contents



1. `Preoccupying Questions': Heaney's Prose

2. `Continuous Adjudication': Binary Oppositions and the Field of Force

3. `Writing in the Sand': Poetry and Transformation

4. `Surviving Amphibiously': Poetry and Politics

5. `A Bright Nowhere': The Deconstruction of Place

6. `Through-Otherness': The Deconstruction of Language

7. Nobel Causes: Heaney and Yeats


Works Cited

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Review quote

'Explores Heaney's aeshetics, politics, language, myth, ethics, identity and notions of being Irish as these aspects show themselves in his poetry, prose and translations' -- Ireland of the Welcomes
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About Eugene O'Brien

Eugene O'Brien teaches at the University of Limerick and at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick. He also works as a tutor for Oscail, the Irish distance learning project. He has published two books, The Question of Irish Identity in the Writings of William Butler Yeats and James Joyce and The Epistemology of Nationalism. He has published over twenty articles in various international academic journals. He is also the commissioning editor of a series of Irish Studies monographs entitled Ireland in Theory.
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Rating details

7 ratings
3.85 out of 5 stars
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4 86% (6)
3 14% (1)
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