Ron Schuchard, Goodrich C. White Professor of English Emeritus at Emory University, will give a lecture titled “Into the Heartland of the Ordinary: Seamus Heaney, Thomas Hardy, and the Divided Tradition of Modern and Contemporary Poetry” on Tuesday, Oct. 21, at 6:30 p.m. in the Jones Room at Emory’s Robert W. Woodruff Library.
Drawing on personal, archival, and uncollected materials, Schuchard’s lecture traces Heaney’s lifelong devotion to the poetry and novels of Thomas Hardy, through whom he defined and redefined his own aesthetic of the ordinary world against the magical and religious traditions of W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot. Heaney studied all three writers seriously for years, Schuchard says.
Heaney greatly admired Yeats and Eliot, but he had a totally different kind of blossoming, says Schuchard, a scholar of the three writers. “Yeats and Eliot go off into visionary worlds; their aesthetic was not like Heaney’s, which was more rooted in the mortal limits of the ordinary world, like Hardy’s,” he says.
Schuchard will also share personal stories of his friendship with Heaney, including the time he and 12 Emory undergraduates visited Hardy’s grave at St. Michael’s Church in Dorsetshire, England, in 1982 and were unexpectedly joined by Heaney.
The lecture is presented in conjunction with the exhibition “Seamus Heaney: The Music of What Happens,” currently on display in the Schatten Gallery in the Woodruff Library through Nov. 25, 2014. The lecture will be followed by a reception.
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