Seamus Heaney: "Punishment"

(1748 words)

Collected in Seamus Heaney’s fifth poetry collection entitled North, “Punishment” is one of its most moving and reflective pieces. Although Heaney has removed all trace of historical and geographical exactitude for the sake of universality and intimacy with the subject, the poem was in fact inspired by P. V. Glob’s book The Bog People (1970), an anthropological study of recently unearthed Iron Age bog bodies found in various parts of Northern Europe.

Published in 1975, “Punishment” responded to research surrounding the discovery of the mummy known as Windeby I, also called the Windeby Girl, disinterred from a peat bog in Northern Germany in 1952. The Windeby Girl was initially believed to have been …

Please log in to consult the article in its entirety. If you are a member (student of staff) of a subscribing institution (see List), you should be able to access the LE on campus directly (without the need to log in), and off-campus either via the institutional log in we offer, or via your institution's remote access facilities, or by creating a personal user account with your institutional email address. If you are not a member of a subscribing institution, you will need to purchase a personal subscription. For more information on how to subscribe as an individual user, please see under Individual Subcriptions.

Martiny, Erik. ""Punishment"". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 02 March 2013
[, accessed 29 September 2016.]