Seamus Heaney by Helen Vendler

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A dazzling short assessment of the life and work of the poet and winner of the 1995 Nobel Prize for literature.

Among Heaney’s many published collections are ‘Death of a Naturalist’, ‘North’, ‘Field Work’, ‘Station Island’ and ‘Spirit Level’ (May 1996), which was that rarest of things: a collection of poetry that was also a bestseller. Yet despite his popularity, Heaney’s poetry can be difficult and intractable, not least because it is linked to two rich literary traditions, the English and the Irish.

Helen Vendler is one of the finest literary critics writing today. First published in 2000, her book is the clear, explicatory work of criticism, relating the poet to his poetry, that Heaney deserves.


About Helen Vendler

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Helen Vendler is A. Kingsley Porter University Professor at Harvard University.
Published August 30, 2012 by Fontana Press. 208 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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One of her own parallel critical inventions, meant to address his: Each chapter, which considers a looming thematic or technical aspect of Heaney's accomplishment, also includes a closing section, ""Second Thoughts,"" which assesses how Heaney treats the same thematic or technical concern later o...

Nov 15 1998 | Read Full Review of Seamus Heaney

Publishers Weekly

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Following last year's widely admired The Art of Shakespeare's Sonnets, her intelligent, lively and reflective exploration of the first three decades of the Nobel laureate's career succeeds in many tasks: it is both an admiring, readable introduction and an anthology of best poems, and it builds a...

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London Review of Books

Of the poems Kerrigan discusses, Heaney first breaks sonnet ground in ‘Act of Union’;

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