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Digging Memory of the Dead in Field Work, The Haw Lantern & Seeing Things

Hong Sung Sook
Cheongju Univ.

Abstract

Seamus Heaney is one of the representative writers who wrote many poems inmemory of the dead people and memory is Heaney’s principle muse. Throughrereading the selected poems for the dead, I could find out that Seamus Heaneyused the different genres as memory art for the dead: some pastoral elegies of FieldWork, a series of sonnets of The Haw Lantern and some free verses of SeeingThings containing the method of pastiche and incantation.
Pastoral elegy is a funeral song or a lament for the dead with some convention:Although, Seamus Heaney following this convention, “The Strand at Lough Beg”and “Casualty” show some digression. And sonnet means “little songs” of fourteenlines that follow a strict rhyme scheme and specific structure with the theme oflove. However, Heaney’s sonnets also show some transformation in line and rhyme.And the word pastiche means either a “hodge-podge” or imitation of several originalworks. Heaney’s some memory poems of Seeing Things apply some method ofincantation which transforms keepsakes into the spiritual ones with the method ofpastiche.
What I came to the end from this study is that when Heaney commemoratedvictims of Ulster Trouble, he used somewhat artificial genre of pastoral elegy.However, for the memory of his dead mother, he used the sonnet genre of lyricmode which can contain praise and love of the dead. To our interest, he used freeverse with pastiche and incantation to express love for his dead father and the latePhilip Larkin. In short, he can be evaluated as a craftsman, memory digger andocculter.

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