The Translations of Seamus Heaney (Hardcover)
The complete translations of the poet Seamus Heaney, a Nobel laureate and prolific, revolutionary translator.
Seamus Heaney’s translation of Beowulf, published in 1999, was immediately hailed as an undisputed masterpiece, “something imperishable and great” (James Wood, The Guardian). A few years after his death in 2013, his translation of Virgil’s Aeneid Book VI caused a similar stir, providing “a remarkable and fitting epilogue to one of the great poetic careers of recent times” (Nick Laird, Harper’s Magazine). Now, for the first time, the poet, critic, and essayist’s translations are gathered in one volume.
Heaney translated not only classic works of Latin and Old English but also a great number of poems from Spanish, Romanian, Dutch, Russian, German, Scottish Gaelic, Czech, Ancient and Modern Greek, Middle and Modern French, and Medieval and Modern Italian, among other languages. In particular, the Nobel laureate engaged with works in Old, Middle, and Modern Irish, the languages of his homeland and early education. As he said, “If you lived in the Irish countryside as I did in my childhood, you lived in a primal Gaeltacht.”
In The Translations of Seamus Heaney, Marco Sonzogni has collected Heaney’s translations and framed them with the poet’s own writings on his works and their composition, sourced from introductions, interviews, and commentaries. Through this volume, we come closer to grasping the true extent of Heaney’s extraordinary abilities and his genius.
"An immense and informative gathering . . . Heaney’s voice is so unusually lucid that his translations are a triple gift. There’s the ravishing selection of poems, picked by Heaney, the shrewd curator. There’s the chance to hear Heaney again—almost as if we’re being given new poems by Heaney himself. There is also the chance to see how translation and poetry reverberate across a career. . . . As we face down our own troubling era, this book is a potent reminder of literary possibility and literary imagination on a large scale." —Tess Taylor, The New York Times
"This volume is handsome testimony to Heaney’s lifelong service to a noble art." —David Wheatley, The Guardian
“Often thought of as a poet of place, preserving and remaking a rural Irish world, and of the Troubles that bloodied his purest source of memory, the extensive commentary in this invaluable collection repeatedly reminds readers of how Heaney drew deeply on the poetry of other places and other times.” —Michael Autrey, Booklist
"I knew and loved Seamus Heaney’s own poetry before I read his translations. If you, too, treasure his poems, this collection will extend and deepen your appreciation, while it also introduces you to new writers and reintroduces those you’ve read in other versions." —Susanna Lang, RHINO
“These 101 texts across 14 languages demonstrate how vital a role translation played in the imagination of Nobel Laureate Heaney (1939–2013) . . . These well-contextualized translations are a resounding testimony to Heaney’s remarkable contributions to literature.” —Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)