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date: 22 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter considers two specific areas where the epic is a narrative of armed violence that haunts Seamus Heaney's work, the first being the reappropriation of the diction of Anglo-Saxon or Germanic epic, while the second is his translation of Beowulf. It then examines James MacPherson's pseudo-epic Ossian, a text that helped define the epic in nationalist terms. The chapter also shows that poets who are sympathetic to a nationalist community involved in armed conflict might find themselves negotiating with the topoi that structure a certain construction of the epic. The construction and deconstruction of the nationalist epic is included.

Keywords: epic, armed violence, Seamus Heaney, James MacPherson, Ossian, nationalist community, topoi, construction, deconstruction, nationalist epic

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