‘Route 110’: Heaney’s quotidian katabasis

Myth Reading Group

Thursday 23 March

12.00-1.30pm in Room NTC.2.06

We are very pleased to announce that Professor Roderick Main, director of the Centre for Myth Studies, concludes our discussion of mythical journeys this term with a session on katabasis as rendered in Seamus Heaney’s poetry


Map of the Underworld showing the descents of Odysseus and Aeneas

In this session, we will discuss Heaney’s poem ‘Route 110’, from his 2010 collection Human Chain.  With the story and structure of Virgil’s Aeneid VI as his guide, Heaney journeys into the underworld of his past.

For additional reading on the concept of katabasis in Heaney’s poetry, please see Emanuela Zirzotti’s “‘Pius Seamus’: Heaney’s Appropriation of Aeneas’s Descent to the Underworld”, in Ben Pestell, Pietra Palazzolo, and Leon Burnett (eds.), Translating Myth (Oxford: Legenda, 2016), pp. 195-204.


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