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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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‘Mycenae Lookout’ and the Example of Aeschylus

‘Mycenae Lookout’ and the Example of Aeschylus

(p.50) 5 ‘Mycenae Lookout’ and the Example of Aeschylus
Seamus Heaney and the Classics

Rosie Lavan

Oxford University Press

Discussing ‘Anything Can Happen’, his response, via Horace, to 11 September 2001, Heaney said to Dennis O’Driscoll: ‘For better or worse, you can’t be liberated from consciousness’. His version of the thirty-fourth of the odes in Book 1 was, he said, ‘partly an elegy—but, to quote Wilfred Owen’s “Preface”, it was also meant “to warn”’ (O’Driscoll 2008: 424). Working from the heavy collocation of time and mood Heaney offered in these remarks, uniting elegiac retrospect and uneasy anticipation, this essay explores the coincidence of classical sources and contemporary concerns in Heaney’s earlier sequence ‘Mycenae Lookout’. It attends especially closely to Heaney’s re-imagining of Aeschylus’ Cassandra, and the burden of consciousness she both bears and represents.

Keywords:   Heaney, Mycenae, Aeschylus, Cassandra, Greek tragedy

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