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The Poetry of Seamus Heaney: A Critical Guide [Paperback]

Neil Corcoran
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

7 Sep 1998
Seamus Heaney's poetic career has been one of constant development and expansion, and his place among the world's greatest literary figures is universally acknowledged. When it first appeared in 1986, Neil Corcoran's A Student's Guide to Seamus Heaney was immediately recognized as the clearest and most thorough account of his work so far, and it has not been rivalled since. The new edition, which like the original has had the advantage of Seamus Heaney's own cooperation and unstinted access to the poet's papers, follows the same pattern, adding a chapter apiece on the major collections of poems published since 1986, as well as separate discussions of Heaney's work as a translator and essayist. The published chapters have also been revised. In consequence, this not only remains the most useful introduction to a singularly varied and important body of work, but is the most up-to-date as well.

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The Poetry of Seamus Heaney: A Critical Guide + Selected Poems of Seamus Heaney: York Notes for GCSE + New Selected Poems, 1966-1987
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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Faber & Faber; 2Rev Ed edition (7 Sep 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0571177476
  • ISBN-13: 978-0571177479
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

About the Author

Neil Corcoran is King Alfred Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool. He is the author of a biography of Seamus Heaney (1986), as well as Elizabeth Bowen: The Enforced Return (2008) and Shakespeare and the Modern Poet (2010), and is the editor of The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-Century English Poetry (2007).

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.2 out of 5 stars
3.2 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I bought this hoping it to be an updated version of the students guide, which was an excellent guide for A-levels. My course covers Death of a Naturalist to North, but the book did not devote much page space to these. I found it quite comlicated, although the quote analysis was useful. Worth buying, but do not expect another straightforward students guide.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nine Heaney Anthologies 12 Sep 2011
Just as Heaney's poetry is not to everyone's taste, Corcoran's guide is not, contingent on what readers are searching for. In it, he deals with his first nine anthologies and some of his early literary criticism:

"Death of a Naturalist" (1966)
"Door into the Dark" (1969)
"Wintering Out" (1972)
"North" (1975)
"Field Work" (1979)
"Station Island" (1984)
"The Haw Lantern" (1987)
"Seeing Things" (1991)
"The Spirit Level" (1996)

Students looking for a poem-by-poem analysis for their coursework or other studies - GCSE, AS, A - will be disappointed as will the pearled and twin-setted lady who asked T.S. Eliot what "Little Gidding" meant after a reading. (The anecdote suggests he smiled and read it again.)

Corcoran takes a broader brush and, while dealing fairly thoroughly with the anthologies, he creates an poetic atmosphere, a growing-up and a maturing by looking more widely at his work. It is not a simple question and answer. To be must helpful, I suggest reading each chapter with the anthology and a pencil to hand for ease of reference.

Read like this, readers will come away with a growing appreciation of the poet and the land which inspired him.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I purchased this book to help me withan essay and my general A-level Literature course. My essay dealt with the 1st four anthologies, which the book devoted about a third to. It was useful, with helpful points and quotes, but it was supposed to be an updated version of the Students guide. I found some points too complicated and the first anthologies, which most A-levels deal with, did not have enough pages devoted to them. Generally good, but unfortunately NOT another students guide.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very useful 1 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this to help with some aspects of my dissertation. Corcoran provides clear and detailed analysis of a wide range of Heaney's poetry. I think this book would be really useful to those who are either a little apprehensive about approaching Heaney's poetry in an academic sense, or those who are interested in extending their reading of Heaney's work. The book is not 'off-puttingly' wordy or theoretical.
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Poor editorial 21 Mar 2006
I purchased this whilst studying Heaney as an undergraduate and thought it extremely poor and sold it on quite quickly. If you are serious about your studies there are more interesting and better written critical analyses out there such as those by Tobin, Hart and O'Brien.
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