Tess Maginess 

Queen’s University, Belfast, Northern Ireland;  https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5078-8997

DOI: https://doi.org/10.36534/erlj.2020.01.05

Bibliographic citation: (ISSN 2657-9774) Educational Role of Language Journal.  Volume 2020-1(3).  Examining Learner and Teacher Language Identity, pp. 62-76



In this paper I am going to explore the theme of this ERL issue – language and identity, by focusing upon a sequence of poems by the Irish writer, Seamus Heaney, ‘Hermit Songs’ (2010). I will argue that, by telling the story of his own identity formation through his encounter with reading, writing and the learning of languages, Heaney offers his own portrait of the artist as a young man. The story is a dynamic and dramatic one. Drawing upon close analysis of the poems based on literary critical models such as Practical Criticism and Intertextual criticism, I will demonstrate how Heaney’s identity as a poet emerges out of a playful and painful agon about art and nature, about the private and the public, about art and reality.

Keywords: Heaney, practical criticism, education and identity, language and identity, postcolonialism

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