This study of all of Seamus Heaney's work to date - poetry, prose and translations - traces his development from an acceptance of the givens of Irish society, in terms of politics, culture, nationalism and religion, to a more complicated and ongoing critique of these givens.
It also parallels this process of development with that of Irish society in general, which has travelled a broadly similar path. it is the intersection of his writing with this societal development that makes Heaney such a central figure for any study of contemporary Ireland.
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