Members Publications

Seamus Heaney, Virgil and the Good of Poetry


University of Lausanne


Edinburgh University Press







The first book-length study of Heaney’s dialogue with Virgil, one of Seamus Heaney’s major literary exemplars. This book demonstrates the ways in which Virgil’s are poems that Heaney ‘lived with long and dreamily’, especially the descent into the underworld in Aeneid VI. It shows that in his original English poems as well as his translations from Latin, Heaney conjures and transforms familiar Virgilian motifs. The rhythm, pace and musicality of Virgil’s hexameters can be heard in Heaney’s pastoral eclogues and sonnet sequences. And Virgil’s life and times, as well as his poetry, contribute to the shaping of Heaney’s prose poetics. In dialogue with Virgil, as well as other classical and modern poets, Heaney develops his notion of the redress of poetry: the counterbalance that poetry can offer against historical tragedy, suffering and loss.

We promote the scholarly study of literature, across languages and borders, national or other. Join Us.

Scroll to Top