Seamus Heaney

(2983 words)
  • Steven Matthews (Oxford Brookes University)

Seamus Heaney has been, for good or ill, internationally the most prominent and the most popular Irish poet of the latter part of the twentieth century and the first part of the twenty-first. His work is judged, and often considered superior to, that of a presumed super-league of poets in English from formerly colonised countries; a super-league including the West Indian Derek Walcott and the Australian Les Murray. Heaney's predominance is 'for good or ill' in the sense that he has proved a more criticised figure in Ireland than has been the case beyond. The consistently pastoral focus of his work, for instance (work which is often centred upon the rural community and landscape of Mossbawn in Co. Derry where he was brought up), is seen t…

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are not a subscriber, please click here to read about membership. All our articles have been written recently by experts in their field, more than 95% of them university professors.

Matthews, Steven. "Seamus Heaney". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 20 September 2002
[, accessed 04 July 2015.]

Articles on Heaney's works

  1. "Punishment"
  2. District and Circle
  3. Eleven Poems
  4. Follower

Related Groups

  1. Nobel Prize-winners
  2. The Sonnet Tradition