Cursed to the trees, enchanted by the woods: Sweeney Astray

Anna Pilz, Tom Herron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing on Jane Bennett’s theory of “crossings and enchantment”, this essay considers interspecies transformations in Seamus Heaney’s Sweeney Astray (1983). As a bird-man, Mad King Sweeney discovers that the arboreal environment is a vibrantly interstitial space in which paganism and Christianity coexist. By negotiating this liminal space, he opens himself to forms of attachment and enchantment that radically ameliorate his accursed existence in the trees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-99
JournalÉtudes Irlandaises
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'Cursed to the trees, enchanted by the woods: Sweeney Astray'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this