Published online by Cambridge University Press: 15 March 2021
In later life, the phrase ‘born on a farm in County Derry in 1939’ made Seamus Heaney roll his eyes. He had read it so often in the many thousands of ‘Notes on Contributors’ featuring his biography that it had become both overly familiar and unreal. In fact, the outline of Heaney’s biography is so well known that it has become part of his poetic mythology – the gifted son of Bellaghy elevated to winner of the Nobel Prize for literature and international acclaim. From the outset, Heaney’s work emerged from and merged into a complex set of historical and political contextual circumstances. The thirty-two original essays in this volume combine historicizing scholarship with critical depth and insightful new readings of Heaney’s work.