Seamus Heaney’s Regions
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Regional voices from England, Ireland, and Scotland inspired Seamus Heaney, the 1995 Nobel prize-winner, to become a poet, and his home region of Northern Ireland provided the subject matter for much of his poetry. In his work, Heaney explored, recorded, and preserved both the disappearing agrarian life of his origins and the dramatic rise of sectarianism and the subsequent outbreak of the Northern Irish “Troubles” beginning in the late 1960s. At the same time, Heaney consistently imagined a new region of Northern Ireland where the conflicts that have long beset it and, by extension, the relationship between Ireland and the United Kingdom might be synthesized and resolved. Finally, there is a third region Heaney committed himself to explore and map—the spirit region, that world beyond our ken.

In Seamus Heaney’s Regions, Richard Rankin Russell argues that Heaney’s regions—the first, geographic, historical, political, cultural, linguistic; the second, a future where peace, even reconciliation, might one day flourish; the third, the life beyond this one—offer the best entrance into and a unified understanding of Heaney’s body of work in poetry, prose, translations, and drama. As Russell shows, Heaney believed in the power of ideas—and the texts representing them—to begin resolving historical divisions. For Russell, Heaney’s regionalist poetry contains a “Hegelian synthesis” view of history that imagines potential resolutions to the conflicts that have plagued Ireland and Northern Ireland for centuries. Drawing on extensive archival and primary material by the poet, Seamus Heaney’s Regions examines Heaney’s work from before his first published poetry volume, Death of a Naturalist in 1966, to his most recent volume, the elegiac Human Chain in 2010, to provide the most comprehensive treatment of the poet’s work to date.



Publié par
Date de parution 30 juin 2014
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9780268091811
Langue English

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University of Notre Dame Press
Notre Dame, Indiana
Copyright © 2014 by University of Notre Dame
Notre Dame, Indiana 46556 -->
All Rights Reserved
E-ISBN 978-0-268-09181-1
This eBook was converted from the original source file by a third-party vendor. Readers who notice any formatting, textual, or readability issues are encouraged to contact the publisher at Manufactured in the United States of America Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Russell, Richard Rankin. Seamus Heaney’s Regions / Richard Rankin Russell. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-0-268-04036-9 (paperback) —ISBN 0-268-04036-2 (paper) 1. Heaney, Seamus, 1939–2013—Criticism and interpretation. I. Title. PR6058.E2Z866 2014 821'.914—dc23 2014002684 ∞ The paper in this book meets the guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources. -->
To my son, Aidan Samuel Russell, whose playful joy amazes and delights me.
List of Abbreviations
One . The Development of Northern Irish Regionalism
Two . Recording Bigotry and Imagining a New Province: Heaney and BBC Northern Ireland Radio, 1968–73
Three . Heaney’s Essays on Regional Writers: The 1970s
Four . Wounds and Fire: Northern Ireland in Heaney’s 1970s Poetry
Five . Darkness Visible: Irish Catholicism, the American Civil Rights Movement, and the Blackness of “Strange Fruit”
Six . Border Crossings: Heaney’s Prose Poems in Stations
Seven . Joyce, Burns, and Holub: Heaney’s Independent Regionalism in An Open Letter
Eight . Affirming and Transcending Regionalism: Joyce, Dante, Eliot, and the Tercet Form in Station Island and The Haw Lantern
Nine . The Northern Irish Context and Owen and Yeats Intertexts in The Cure at Troy
Ten . Guttural and Global: Heaney’s Regionalism after 1990
Eleven . “My Ship of Genius Now Shakes Out Her Sail”: The Spirit Region and the Tercet in Seeing Things and Human Chain
Afterword. Visiting the Dead and Welcoming Newborns: Human Chain and Heaney’s Three Regions
Bibliography Index -->
The following abbreviations are used in the text and notes for books by Heaney that are frequently cited. Full publication information is given in the bibliography.
An Open Letter
Crediting Poetry
The Cure at Troy
District and Circle
Door into the Dark
Death of a Naturalist
Electric Light
Field Work
Human Chain
The Haw Lantern
Opened Ground
Station Island
The Spirit Level
Stepping Stones
Seeing Things
Wintering Out
I am grateful to the many people who have answered questions, offered suggestions, and given emotional, mental, and spiritual support during the writing of this book. A portion of it originated in my dissertation on Northern Irish literature and identity, which was directed by the beloved Weldon Thornton at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, to whom I will always be thankful for his belief in me and my work, and for his own sterling example of teaching and scholarship on Irish literature. Most of this project, however, is based upon new research on Heaney that I have conducted in the last several years. A sabbatical from Baylor University’s College of Arts and Sciences in the fall semester of 2010 enabled much thinking, researching, and writing. I am very grateful to the university’s committee on research leaves and to Dean Lee Nordt of the College of Arts and Sciences for that sabbatical and to my chair in the Baylor English Department, Dianna Vitanza, for her sustained support of my work. Many thanks also go to my former provost, David Lyle Jeffrey, and former chair, Maurice Hunt, for reducing my teaching load several years ago so that I might have more time for scholarship.
The gifted Northern Irish artist Colin Davidson graciously allowed me to use one of his evocative pencil sketches of Seamus Heaney’s face for the cover of this book.
I am very thankful to Henry Hart and Bernard O’Donoghue. Professor Hart’s deep knowledge of Heaney, Robert Frost, and Ted Hughes and his numerous suggestions for the manuscript helped me to make a much more informed and sustained argument. Professor O’Donoghue’s extensive thinking and research on Heaney, along with his insightful comments about the manuscript, have inspired me and enabled my greater understanding of Heaney’s work.
I offer gratitude to Sir Christopher Ricks, who suggested to me at the 2009 meeting of the Association for Literary Scholars and Critics that I expand my paper on Heaney’s The Cure at Troy into an essay and offered me several very helpful suggestions for doing so.
Earlier versions of portions of this book appeared as articles in several journals, whose editors and outside readers helped improve the clarity of my prose and overall argument. In particular, I would like to thank Nicola Presley, assistant editor of Irish Studies Review ; Keith M. Dallas, managing editor of Twentieth-Century Literature ; and Seamus Perry, coeditor of Essays in Criticism .
A portion of chapter 2 first appeared in “Imagining a New Province: Seamus Heaney’s Creative Work for BBC Northern Ireland Radio, 1968–1971,” Irish Studies Review 15, no. 2 (Spring 2007): 137–62, and appears with permission.
Part of chapter 3 was first published in “Seamus Heaney’s Artful Regionalism,” Twentieth-Century Literature 54, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 47–74, and appears with permission.
An early version of chapter 9 came out in “Owen and Yeats in Heaney’s The Cure at Troy ,” Essays in Criticism 61, no. 2 (April 2011): 173–89, and appears with permission.
I am very grateful to Seamus Heaney for permission to quote from his archival material at Emory University’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library. After this book went into production, Heaney passed away in Dublin on August 30, 2013. The shock and sadness from his passing continue to reverberate throughout the poetry community and the world. I remain thankful not only for his creative work but also for his generosity, kindness, and thoughtfulness. He has enlarged our imaginative lives so considerably that it is hard to imagine “keeping going” without him. Yet his example nevertheless continues to inspire us with hope and joy.
Thanks to Evelyn Ellison at the BBC Northern Ireland Radio Archives in Cultra, Northern Ireland, for permission to reproduce a quotation from “Seamus Heaney—Poetry International.”
Thanks to Professor Kevin Young for very helpful information about the holdings on Heaney and also to the members of staff at Emory’s MARBL for their assistance during my time there in May 2012.
Thanks to the staff of the Henry C. Pearson Collection of Seamus Heaney at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, for their help during my visit in May 2012.
Many thanks to the Centennial Professor Committee at Baylor for awarding me the 2012 Baylor Centennial Professor Award, which enabled me to conduct research at Emory and Chapel Hill and helped me purchase much Heaney material for my classroom and scholarly use. Additional thanks go to the Baylor Class of 1945, which funds the Centennial Professor Award.
Grateful thanks to Barrie Cooke for permission to reproduce three of his lovely charcoal images from the 1975 Rainbow Press edition of Heaney’s Bog Poems.
All other quotations from Heaney’s poetry are covered by the principle of Fair Use.
Many thanks to Stephen Little, acquisitions editor of the University of Notre Dame Press, for a thorough, thoughtful, and speedy publishing process.
Many thanks to the staff of the Press for their help in publicity, editing, proofreading, and other work on my book. I am especially grateful for Elisabeth Magnus’s superb copyediting job.
I appreciate my undergraduate and graduate students at Baylor University for their own thoughts on Seamus Heaney’s poetry, prose, and drama over the years, which have aided my own understanding of these rich works. The students in my graduate seminar “Yeats and His Successors” in fall 2008, along with the undergraduate students in my senior level “Major Authors” course on Heaney and Brian Friel in Spring 2009, created particularly congenial and rigorous classroom environments and helped me think differently and better about Heaney.
Additional thanks to George S. Lensing, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, who has encouraged my work on Heaney over the years; Bryan Giemza, Randolph-Macon College, for his gift of friendship and sustained emotional support of my work and life; Marilynn Richtarik, Georgia State University, for her advocacy of my scholarship beginning during my time in Chapel Hill and continuing to this day; my church family at Redeemer Presbyterian, Waco; and my Baylor colleagues James Barcus, Mona Choucair, Mike DePalma, Luke Ferretter, Sarah Ford, Joe Fulton, Greg Garrett, Clement Goode, Maurice Hunt, Kyle Irwin, Joshua King, Vicki Klaras, Coretta Pittman, Emily Setina, Lisa Shaver, Betsy Vardaman, Dianna Vitanza, and William Weaver, all of whom support me in innumerable ways and make Baylor University the best kind of home for me and my family.
I am also grateful for the sustenance of my family in Tennessee—my father, Paul L. Russell; sister, Marjorie Levy; brother-in-law, Herb Levy; and nephew, Vince

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