This Strange Loneliness: Heaney's Wordsworth (Hardback)Peter Mackay (author)
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This Strange Loneliness is the first comprehensive account of the poetic relationship between Seamus Heaney and William Wordsworth. Peter Mackay explores how Heaney repeatedly turns to the Romantic poet's work for inspiration, corroboration, and amplification, and as a model for the fortifying power of poetry itself, which offers the fundamental lesson that "it is on this earth 'we find our happiness, or not at all.'"
Through an in-depth look at archival materials, and at uncollected poems and prose by Heaney, Mackay traces the evolution of Heaney's readings of Wordsworth throughout his career, revealing their shared interest in the connections between poetry and education, the possibility of a beneficial understanding of poetic influence, the complexities of place and displacement, ideas of transcendence, and ultimately the importance of "late style": later poems by Wordsworth might prove a cautionary tale, as well as example, for any poet. Placing Heaney's readings within their political, historical, and poetic contexts the book also explores how he negotiated the complex relationship between Irish and British culture and identity to claim a persistent form of kinship, and forge a strange community, with the Romantic poet.
With illuminating readings that reveal new contexts to and currents in Heaney's work, This Strange Loneliness is a powerful evocation of the Irish poet's sense of the "uplift" that poetry can provide.
Publisher: McGill-Queen's University Press
Number of pages: 352
Dimensions: 229 x 152 mm
"The fruits of Peter Mackay's indefatigable research into the uncollected print and broadcast journalism of the young and then almost unknown Seamus Heaney reveal hitherto unguessed depth and detail in the poet's engagement with educational theory and practice, and demonstrate how seriously he took Wordsworth's concern with the influence of early experience on the development of sensibility. This Strange Loneliness goes on to trace with insight and precision the many facets of the Irish poet's lifelong engagement with the intellectual and artistic example of the English precursor he viewed as a fountainhead - it is hardly too much to say the fountainhead - of lyric enterprise." Patrick Crotty, University of Aberdeen and editor of The Penguin Book of Irish Poetry
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