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Seamus Heaney and the ClassicsBann Valley Muses$
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Stephen Harrison, Fiona Macintosh, and Helen Eastman

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805656

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805656.001.0001

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Antaeus on the Move

Antaeus on the Move

Chapter:
(p.26) 3 Antaeus on the Move
Source:
Seamus Heaney and the Classics
Author(s):

Neil Corcoran

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198805656.003.0003

This chapter will focus on the Greek mythological figure of Antaeus in Heaney’s earlier work, while also suggesting that it persists in various guises—as both literary and personal symbol and cultural mechanism—throughout his career. It will offer close readings of some key moments in the history of the figure (and some of its cognates) which have not received much critical attention: in Opened Ground, for instance, in Stations, and in the poem ‘Freedman’ in North. It will claim that in his earlier work Heaney is a more self-conscious inheritor of modernist mythologizing than has been appreciated; an employer of this figure to significant political purposes; and an articulator, by means of it, of changing attitudes to the inheritance of Irish Catholicism. It will also propose associated inter-relationships between Heaney’s work and that of John Hewitt, David Jones, and Gerard Manley Hopkins.

Keywords:   Heaney, Greek myth, Antaeus, symbol, Catholicism

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