Studium anglistiky na KAA UPOL

Heaney, Seamus. (b. 1939).

W o r k

- established himself as a political poet x but: felt constrained by this role and left his native Northern Ireland for the Irish Republic, accepting Irish citizenship

- strongly rooted regionalism: preoccupied with rural Ulster, writes in English x but: does not share the perspectives of an Englishman

< influenced by P. V. Glob’s archaeological work The Bog People about the discovery of preserved human bodies found in the bogs of Jutland

- the bog people were ritual sacrifices to the Mother Goddess <=> Heaney sees this rite as an archetypal pattern of the Irish political and religious martyrdom to Mother Ireland 

- sees the Irish bog as ‘a memory bank’ preserving everything imposed on it

- received the Nobel Prize for literature (1995)


- the first poem of his first collection

- defines his territory by digging into his memory to uncover his father, then his grandfather, and announces that he will follow their example

- aims to give a voice to the silent and oppressed

Death of a Naturalist (1966) and Door into the Dark (1969):

- recalls a familiar childhood landscape and its inhabitants

Wintering Out (1972), North (1975), and Field Work (1979):

- concerned with the problems of Northern Ireland

- Irish history still continues to determine the country's present perceptions

> “North” (1975):

- a sharp look back to Norse enterprise and its ruthlessness

- a reflection on how a poet can use an ‘alien’ language on his native soil: coming to terms with the Teutonic roots of the imperial English

> “Mossbawn: Two Poems in Dedication” (1975):

- the title: the name the Heaney farm  

- memorial lyrics prefacing North

- extends the perspective from his father’s farm to larger Ulster

- relates the history of that province to the history of Ireland as a whole

The Haw Lantern (1987) and The Spirit Level (1996):

- continues exploring the landscape, language, and memory of Ireland

x but: finds a new harmony and chastity of expression against the sharpness of North and the sensuousness of his earlier poetry

Opened Ground: Poems 1966 – 1996 (1998)


(Photo: Famous Poets & Poems com).

  • Author

    Seamus Justin Heaney. (b. 1939). Born British in Northern Ireland. Accepted Irish citizenship. 
  • Work

    Poet. Translator. Nobel Prize winner (1995).
  • Genres

    Modern poetry. Political poetry. Regionalism.


Abrams, Meyer Howard, ed. The Norton Anthology of English Literature. New York: W. W. Norton, 1993.

Barnard, Robert. Stručné dějiny anglické literatury. Praha: Brána, 1997.

Baugh, Albert C. ed. A Literary History of England. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1967.

Coote, Stephen. The Penguin Short History of English Literature. London: Penguin, 1993.

Sampson, George. The Concise Cambridge History of English Literature. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1946.

Sanders, Andrew. The Short Oxford History of English Literature. New York: Clarendon Press, 1994.


"But I've no spade to follow men like them. / Between my finger and my thumb / The squat pen rests. / I'll dig with it."

From "Digging".


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