Daniel Tobin

Access Type

Online access to this book is restricted to the University of Kentucky community.



Download Full Text (19.0 MB)


Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, author of nine collections of poetry and three volumes of influential essays, is regarded by many as the greatest Irish poet since Yeats. Passage to the Center is the most comprehensive critical treatment to date on Heaney's poetry and the first to study Heaney's entire body of work (including his recent volumes, Seeing Things and The Spirit Level ). It is also the first to examine the poems from the perspective of religion, one of Heaney's guiding preoccupations. According to Tobin, the growth of Heaney's poetry may be charted through the recurrent figure of ""the center,"" a key image in the relationship that evolved over time between the poet and his inherited place, an evolution that involved the continual re-evaluation and re-vision of imaginative boundaries. In a way that previous studies have not, Tobin's work examines Heaney's poetry in the context of modernist and postmodernist concerns about the desacralizing of civilization and provides a challenging engagement with the work of a living master.

South Atlantic ReviewA thorough analysis of Heaney’s oeuvre to date, one that avoids the limitations of formalism and sectarian ideology. -- Irish Studies Review

World Literature TodayA valuable contribution to modern Irish literary scholarship. . . . Invigorating and commendable. -- Modern Language Review

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Seamus Heaney, Religious poetry, Ireland in literature

Passage to the Center: Imagination and the Sacred in the Poetry of Seamus Heaney
Read Sample Off-campus Download