A remarkable survey of Heaney's work and its debt to medieval poetry. [...]McCarthy has presented a compelling analysis of Heaney's use of medieval poetry. THE MEDIEVAL REVIEW
Seamus Heaney's engagement with medieval literature constitutes a significant body of work by a major poet that extends across four decades, including a landmark translation of Beowulf. This book, the first to look exclusively at this engagement, examines both Heaney's direct translations and his adaptation of medieval material in his original poems. Each of the four chapters focuses substantially on a single major text: Sweeney Astray (1983), Station Island , Beowulf  and The Testament of Cresseid . The discussion examines Heaney's translation practice in relation to source texts from a variety of languages [Irish, Italian, Old English, and Middle Scots] from across the medieval period, and also in relation to Heaney's own broader body of work. It suggests that Heaney's translations and adaptations give a contemporary voice to medieval texts, bringing the past to bear upon contemporary concerns both personal and political.
CONOR MCCARTHY gained his PhD from Trinity College Dublin.
Publisher: Boydell & Brewer Ltd
Number of pages: 208
Weight: 294 g
Dimensions: 234 x 156 x 10 mm
All medievalists will, no doubt, appreciate the main theses of this fine, well-researched, and well-crafted (both inside and out) book. EOLAS
Conor McCarthy's brilliantly erudite and refreshingly unpretentious book, Seamus Heaney and Medieval Poetry, teaches us to read Heaney's Beowulf not as distinct from the rest of his work, but thoroughly integrated within it. Heaney, McCarthy shows, has practised a lifelong habit of translating from, adapting, alluding to and transfusing medieval poetry in his own work. TIMES HIGHER EDUCATION SUPPLEMENT