The Midnight Verdict (Gallery Books)

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9781852352820: The Midnight Verdict (Gallery Books)
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Each of the translations in this book can be read for its own sake or as part of a triptych. By setting excerpts of Brian Merriman's Cuirt an Mhean Oiche within the acoustic of a classical myth (the story of Orpheus and Eurydice), Seamus Heaney provides a new and illuminating context for the eighteenth century Irish poem. For this paperback reissue, the poet has made some revisions in the text of the original Gallery Press edition.

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This work collects three of the Irish Nobel laureate's previously published translations. Selections from Ovid's Metamorphoses, "Orpheus and Eurydice" and "The Death of Orpheus," appeared in After Ovid, and "The Midnight Verdict" was published in Ireland in 1993 by the Gallery Press. The two famous stories about the descent of Orpheus into the underworld and his death at the hands of "crazed" Maenads frame Heaney's translation of an abridged version of the Celtic work "C irt an Mhe n O che" (Gaelic for "The Midnight Verdict"), which appears in the United States for the first time. Written in 1781 by Brian Merriman, a mathematics teacher from County Clare, this poem recounts a poet's visit to a court presided over by Aoibheall, a beautiful fairy queen. A woman complains that she is without a mate because men of Ireland refuse to marry, and it is left to the "peerless" Aoibheall to pronounce a verdict. As Heaney says, the ending of the excerpt (the entire poem is much longer) takes on "a new resonance when read within the acoustic of the classical myth." Like his poetry, Heaney's well-crafted translations combine the earthy feel of everyday life and inspired eloquence. Recommended for all poetry collections. Frank Allen, Northampton Community Coll., Tannersville, PA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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