Professor Seamus Heaney delivered his inaugural lecture on 24th October, 1989. The poet whom Professor Heaney chose to celebrate in his inaugural lecture was George Herbert. He described him as not just the epitome of English poetic virtue but the embodiment of certain qualities of phlegm, tolerance and equanimity which are usually ascribed to the ...
Professor Seamus Heaney delivered his inaugural lecture on 24th October, 1989. The poet whom Professor Heaney chose to celebrate in his inaugural lecture was George Herbert. He described him as not just the epitome of English poetic virtue but the embodiment of certain qualities of phlegm, tolerance and equanimity which are usually ascribed to the English themselves. Professor Heaney argues that poetry's present use is neither political nor futile. It offers instead a redress to our discontents and failures, not by lending rhetorical aid to particular causes, but by a symbolic resolution of insoluble problems.
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Publishers Weekly, 1995-10-30 The 10 essays on poetry collected here, adapted from lectures delivered at Oxford between 1989 and 1994, display much of the intellectual restlessness, linguistic wizardry and political conscience that have shaped Heaney's own poetry. His thesis is that poetry of the highest order must redress social imbalances, at once transfiguring the circumstances it observes and offering an unforeseen, more humane, aesthetic alternative. This is an abstract and rigorous idea, yet nonacademic readers will find much to savor as Heaney tests and refines his paradigm in light of a largely canonical selection of poets (most are from the British Isles). Ranging freely from a brief life of each poet to a close reading of a few poems by him or her, he addresses, for instance, how Elizabeth Bishop's ``One Art'' assuages the ``loss'' to which it alludes; how Christopher Marlowe's ``Hero and Leander'' ``extended the alphabet'' of Elizabethan sexual mores; and how 19th-century rustic poet John Clare achieved a truly lyrical local idiom at odds with official English. With their palpable evocation of the writing process and their disavowal of jargon and trendy political abstractions, these are exemplary essaysŠand tell us much about the influences and obsessions of this year's Nobel laureate in literature. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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