BOOK LAUNCH: Seamus Heaney’s Mythmaking

Edited By Ian Hickey, Ellen Howley

6-8pm May 25th 2023

Belvedere Library DCU St.Patrick’s Campus

Dr Tom Walker (TCD) will launch the book

RSVPs can be sent to 

Click here to order the book

Seamus Heaney’s Mythmaking examines Seamus Heaney’s poetic engagement with myth from his earliest work to the posthumous publication of Aeneid Book VI. The essays explore the ways in which Heaney creates his own mythic outlook through multiple mythic lenses. They reveal how Heaney adopts a demiurgic role throughout his career, creating a poetic universe that draws on diverse mythic cycles from Greco-Roman to Irish and Norse to Native American. In doing so, this collection is in dialogue with recent work on Heaney’s engagement with myth. However, it is unique in its wide-ranging perspective, extending beyond Ancient and Classical influences.

In its focus on Heaney’s personal metamorphosis of several mythic cycles, this collection reveals more fully the poet’s unique approach to mythmaking, from his engagement with the act of translation to transnational influences on his work and from his poetic transformations to the poetry’s boundary-crossing transitions. Combining the work of established Heaney scholars with the perspectives of early-career researchers, this collection contains a wealth of original scholarship that reveals Heaney’s expansive mythic mind. Mythmaking, an act for which Heaney has faced severe criticism, is reconsidered by all contributors, prompting multifaceted and nuanced readings of the poet’s work.

Ian Hickey is a lecturer in the Department of English Language and Literature, Mary Immaculate College. He also works in the Irish Institute for Catholic Studies in Mary Immaculate College. His first monograph Haunted Heaney: Spectres and the Poetry was published by Routledge in 2021 and was joint winner of the British Association for Contemporary Literary Studies Monograph Prize. He has published numerous journal articles on the poetry of Seamus Heaney, Brendan Behan and twenty-first-century Irish writing, as well as on Benjamin Zephaniah in Spoken Word in the UK. He is currently writing his second monograph entitled Fragmentation: Twenty-First Century Irish Poetry and Fiction.

Ellen Howley is Assistant Professor at the School of English, Dublin City University. She has published work in the Journal of Commonwealth LiteratureComparative Literature and Irish Studies Review on Seamus Heaney, Derek Walcott, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin and M. NourbeSe Philip, among others. She co-wrote, with Eugene McNulty, a chapter on Ireland for Europe in British Literature and Culture, edited by Petra Rau and Will Rossiter (Cambridge University Press). She is currently working on a monograph that examines how contemporary Irish and Caribbean poets write about the sea.