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xi Acknowledgments Excerpts from the following works, all by Heaney unless otherwise noted, are reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, LLC, and (with the exception of Poems, 1965–1975) Faber and Faber, Ltd.: The Cure at Troy: A Version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes (copyright 1990 by Seamus Heaney); District and Circle (copyright 2006 by Seamus Heaney); Electric Light (copyright 2001 by Seamus Heaney); Field Work (copyright 1979 by Seamus Heaney); Finders Keepers: Selected Prose, 1971–2001 (copyright 2002 by Seamus Heaney); The Government of the Tongue: Selected Prose, 1978–1987 (copyright 1989 by Seamus Heaney); Opened Ground: Selected Poems, 1966–1996 (copyright 1998 by Seamus Heaney); Poems, 1965–1975 (copyright 1980 by Seamus Heaney); Preoccupations: Selected Prose, 1968–1978 (copyright 1980 by Seamus Heaney); The Redress of Poetry (copyright 1995 by Seamus Heaney); Seeing Things (copyright 1991 by Seamus Heaney); The Spirit Level (copyright 1996 by Seamus Heaney); and Collected Poems, by Robert Lowell (copyright 2003 by Harriet Lowell and Sheridan Lowell). Excerpt from “Burnt Norton,” in Four Quartets, by T. S. Eliot (copyright 1936 by Harcourt, Inc., and renewed in 1964 by T. S. Eliot ), is reprinted by permission of the publisher. Excerpt from “East Coker,” in Four Quartets (copyright 1940 by T. S. Eliot and renewed in 1968 by Esme Valerie Eliot), is reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc. Excerpt from “Little Gidding,” in Four Quartets (copyright 1942 by T. S. Eliot and renewed in 1970 by Esme Valerie Eliot), is reprinted by permission of Harcourt, Inc. I am grateful to the editors of the Journal of Modern Literature for xii Acknowledgments giving me permission to reprint “Seamus Heaney Returning,” which first appeared in the JML in fall 1998; to the South Carolina Review for permission to reprint “Walking into the Light: Dante and Seamus Heaney’s Second Life,” which first appeared in the SCR in fall 1999; the Canadian Journal of Irish Studies for permission to reprint “Fighting Off Larkin: Seamus Heaney and ‘Aubade,’” which appeared in the CJIS in fall 1999; and the New Hibernia Review for permitting me to reprint “Tower and Boat: Yeats and Seamus Heaney,” which appeared in the NHR in fall 2000. All of the essays were revised in transition from journal to book, the essay on Heaney and Larkin extensively so. I am grateful to these journals and their editors, of course, for printing the essays to begin with. The uncollected poems “Sophoclean” and “The Fragment” are reprinted with the permission of Seamus Heaney.  Other debts are harder to set forth. The whole book is animated by a thought I took many years back from Thomas Mann. It is uttered by Hans Castorp in The Magic Mountain: “Man is the lord of counter-positions, for they exist only through him.” It should become apparent to my readers what relation that sentiment has to a book on Seamus Heaney. The greatest of all my professors, Brewster Rogerson, will, I hope, see his influence everywhere in Professing Poetry . It was surely he who gave me, while teaching me Milton, my own passion for professing. If the reader finds any worthy sentence in this work, Brewster’s presence lurks behind it. Ted Wright, if he disturbs his retirement to read a book of criticism, will see his good example here. So also, I hope, will Toni McNaron. I am grateful to Weldon Thornton, Randy Brandes, and Tom Redshaw for encouraging me to undertake the book. I am grateful to Grinnell College for giving me an academic leave during which I started it. I am grateful to my colleague Ralph Savarese for his vehement and irresistible encouragement while I was writing it. To my colleague Stephen Andrews for some moral support when I finished the book and brooded over its publication. To Scott Newstok for some valuable advice on prepar- xiii Acknowledgments ing manuscripts and for his spirited critique of one of the chapters. To Trinity College, Dublin, and to the National Library of Ireland for use of its collections. To Vicki Bunnell, whose expert technical aid was the air I breathed and who went with me through the text line by line with infinite patience, intelligence, and good taste. To the late Lauren Rupp, who also helped with the manuscript. Peace be to your shade, Lauren. To Molly McArdle, whose aid with citations kept me honest. To Dave McGonagle, Elizabeth Benevides, Tanjam Jacobson, and Theresa Walker of the Catholic University of America Press for taking an interest in this book and for shepherding...


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