The Cure at Troy

Seamus Heaney
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ISBN 9780571327652 Format Paperback
Published 18/01/2018 Length 88 pages

About Book

Seamus Heaney's version of Sophocles's Philoctetes tells of the wounded hero marooned upon an island by the Greeks during the Siege of Troy. As the conflict comes to a climax, the Greeks begin to realise they cannot win the Trojan war without Philoctetes's invincible bow, and turn back to seek his help.

The Cure at Troy dramatises the conflict between personal integrity and political expediency, and explores ways in which the victims of injustice can become as devoted to the contemplation of their wounds as the perpetrators are to the justification of their system. Responsive to the Greek playwright's understanding of the relations between public and private morality, The Cure at Troy is a sharp, fast-paced retelling of the Greek original, shot through with Heaney's own Irish speech and context.


History says, Don't hope
On this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
The longed-for tidal wave
Of justice can rise up,
And hope and history rhyme.

  • About Seamus Heaney

    Seamus Heaney was born in County Derry in Northern Ireland. Death of a Naturalist, his first collection of poems, appeared in 1966, and was followed by poetry, criticism and translations which established him as the leading poet of his generation. In 1995 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, and twice won the Whitbread Book of the Year, for The Spirit Level (1996) and Beowulf (1999). Stepping Stones, a book of interviews conducted by Dennis O'Driscoll, appeared in 2008; Human Chain, his last volume of poems, was awarded the 2010 Forward Prize for Best Collection. He died in 2013. His translation of Virgil's Aeneid Book VI was published posthumously in 2016 to critical acclaim.

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