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Literary Criticism English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh

In Gratitude for All the Gifts

Seamus Heaney and Eastern Europe

by (author) Magdalena Kay

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
Jun 2012
English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, General, Eastern
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Jun 2012
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    Jun 2012
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In Gratitude for All the Gifts explores the literary and cultural links between the bestselling, Nobel Prize-winning Northern Irish poet Seamus Heaney and the preeminent Eastern European poets of the twentieth century, including fellow Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz and Zbigniew Herbert. Magdalena Kay opens new ground in comparative literary studies with her close analysis of Heaney's poetic work from the perspective of the English-speaking West's attraction, and especially Heane''s own attraction, to Eastern European poetry.

While placing Milosz and Herbert in their cultural contexts and keeping an eye on the poems in their original Polish, this innovative and energetic study focuses on how Heaney encountered their work in translation. In Gratitude for All the Gifts thus allows us to see what happens when poetic forms, histories, and themes travel between countries and encourages us to understand cultural crossing not just thematically, but also in terms of form, voice, and aesthetic intent.

About the author

Magdalena Kay is an Associate Professor in the Department of English at the University of Victoria.

Magdalena Kay's profile page

Editorial Reviews

‘It is very rare to read a work exhibiting such profound knowledge of East European poetry by an author who is also truly grounded in a different culture.’

Slavic & East European Journal vol 58:02:2014

‘Insightful and elegant book…Kay handles Heaney with nuanced admiration. It is a book for which long-time and new readers alike should be considerably grateful.’

Irish Studies Review; vol 21:04:13

In Gratitude for all the Gifts is one of the finest studies of Seamus Heaney, and also provides a model for the burgeoning area of transnational literary studies.’

Canadian Journal of Irish Studies vol 38:1-2:2017