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dc.contributor.advisorKuch, Peter
dc.contributor.authorCrawford, Leila
dc.identifier.citationCrawford, L. (2019). Cultivating Place and Space: Seamus Heaney’s Landscape Poetics (Thesis, Doctor of Philosophy). University of Otago. Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractIn its broadest terms, this thesis proposes reading Seamus Heaney’s landscape poetics through the lenses of cultivation, resistance, linguistic cartography, and memory. I assert that Heaney writes the landscape using metaphors of excavation and mediation, calling attention to its materiality and its usefulness for his own poetic project. Heaney’s later poetry, which focuses on empty spaces rather than the thing-filled landscapes of his early collections, remains concerned with questions of emplaced memory, haunting, and identity as he continues to reassert his claim to the forgotten landscape of Ulster. My first chapter employs the concept of landschap to read Heaney’s rural landscapes as sites of productivity and labor rather than aesthetic; I note the ways in which these landscapes embed meaning to work against cultural and epistemological erosion. The second chapter considers the archival properties of the peat bog and other inscribed landscapes. I argue that these environments paradoxically provide Heaney with stability and help him to articulate his unique stance towards memory and trauma. Chapter Three asserts that Heaney uses indigenous language as a way of linguistically coding his poetic landscape to appeal to a specific Gaelic, Catholic community. The fourth chapter characterizes the empty spaces of Heaney’s later poetry as vacant of things yet filled with creative and poetic potential, redolent of Derridean traces of memory. Chapter Five delves into the different ways in which Heaney’s poetry is haunted by memory and personal associations, arguing that these ghosts enable Heaney to engage with the realities of the past. Striking inwards and downwards into the soggy ground of Co. Derry, Heaney turns and returns to the land as “the stable element,” using it to articulate his identity, exhume forgotten histories of violence, and subtly resist opposing forces. By representing, rematerializing, and interrogating the past through communal knowledge and tradition, found objects, and shades, and by locating this past within the landscape through the use of metaphors of cultivation and agriculture, Heaney articulates a unique poetics of landschap that is at once comforting and confronting. The land not only acts as a stable element with which he can connect to the past, but it also functions as a material representation of, and a testament to, an erased narrative.
dc.publisherUniversity of Otago
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dc.subjectIrish poetry
dc.subjectSeamus Heaney
dc.titleCultivating Place and Space: Seamus Heaney's Landscape Poetics
dc.language.rfc3066en (Irish Studies) of Philosophy of Otago
otago.openaccessAbstract Only
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