The Spatial turn in contemporary Irish poetry of Seamus Heaney and Ciaran Carson

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2018

Thesis Language: English

Student: Buket Doğan



This study discusses the process of places becoming spatialized and of frozen identities turning into mobile subjectivities in Seamus Heaney and Ciaran Carson’s later poetry against the background of the changing conceptions of space, subjectivity, land, history and identity. To analyse their response to the spatial turn and their treatment of place and space in the wake of seminal developments in domestic and international affairs starting with the early 1990s, the theoretical framework in this study employs Edward Soja’s understanding of “thirdspace,” and Deleuze and Guattari’s “rhizome” and “smooth/striated spaces” as its conceptual tools. This study argues that the vacillation between the rural heritage and contemporary cosmopolitan urban space in Heaney’s poetry points at a site which juxtaposes the rural with the urban, the past with the contemporary, and the public with the private at a new fluid crossroads. In a similar vein, Ciaran Carson reveals the transparency between the borders of the places and spaces, thus, in his poetry, places dissolve into rhizomatic spaces which welcome any movement in any direction defying the dictations of hierarchical thinking. This study also discusses how both poets make use of the potentials of the textual space to embody the process of spatialization in the linguistic form. It comes to the conclusion that both Heaney and Carson respond to the spatial turn in their own ways but in their response both of them moved towards the thirdspace or smooth space, respectively, to subvert the previous secondspace perspective.