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Chapter 29 - In Public

from VII - Legacy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 March 2021

Geraldine Higgins
Affiliation:
Emory University, Atlanta
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Summary

This chapter takes stock of Heaney's role as a public figure across his career. It begins with a recolletion of Heaney in the National Museum of Ireland in 2013, speaking as a public figure who wished not to be part of 'Irish heritage', not to be 'inherited' as an asset but to be 'handed down' with the sensation of human contact. In a close reading of an early poem, ‘The Last Mummer’, the chapter examines the tension in Heaney’s work between the public need for a response to the political crisis and the private need to be true to his poetic impulse.

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Seamus Heaney in Context , pp. 317 - 326
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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