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The Achievement of Seamus Heaney

By: John Wilson Foster

Publication Date: January 1995


The Achievement of Seamus Heaney by John Wilson Foster

The Nobel Prize for Literature has drawn unprecedented attention to the poetry and prose of Seamus Heaney, who now takes his place alongside Dante and Yeats. Yet in spite of his international reputation, some still see Heaney as an earthbound, pastoral poet inspired by nostalgia.

The Achievement of Seamus Heaney, by the eminent critic John Wilson Foster, emphasizes the high seriousness and integrity of Heaney’s verse and prose, embedding itself deeply in the literary history and culture not only of his native Ireland but also of Britain and Europe.

Critically involved with his subject for a quarter century, Foster surveys one man’s pilgrimage through peace and war, childhood and manhood, towards freeom and love – as Heaney’s progress becomes our own. The unfashionable virtue and lyric eloquence of that pilgrimage is celebrated in this incisive, comprehensive reading of the poetry.


John Wilson Foster, born in 1944, is Professor of English at the University of British Colombia, Canada. He has written two seminal, critically acclaimed works – Forces and Themes in Ulster Fiction (1974) and Fictions of the Irish Literary Revival (1987) and is editor of Nature in Ireland: A Scientific and Cultural History (1997).


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Publication Date

January 1995


eBook, 60pp