McCabe Heaney Collection

Repository: National Library of Ireland

Identity Statement

TitleMcCabe Heaney Collection
Archive ReferenceIE DuNL MS/ 49,602
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1977-2010
Extent Medium2 boxes


Creator(s): McCabe, Bernard, 1923-2006 Heaney, Seamus, 1939-2013

  • Administrative History ↴

    Academic, editor and writer, Bernard J. McCabe was Professor of Literature and Chairman of the English Department at Tufts University, Massachusetts. In 1977, he met Seamus Heaney and they become close friends. McCabe wrote books on Yeats and Joyce as well as a children's series of "Bottle Rabbit" books. Seamus Heaney was an Irish poet, playwright, lecturer and translator. He was awarded the 1995 Nobel Prize for Literature.
  • Archival History ↴

    Donated to the National Library of Ireland by Jane McCabe in 2013
  • Immediate Source Acquisition ↴


Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: McCabe, Bernard, 1923-2006 Heaney, Seamus, 1939-2013 ↴

    The McCabe Heaney Collection consists for the most part of literary drafts sent by Seamus Heaney to his friends, the English literary scholar Dr. Bernard McCabe and Jane McCabe for consideration and review. Alongside drafts of his poems that were revised and published in collections such as ‘Field Work’, ‘Station Island’, ‘The Haw Lantern’, ‘The Tree Clock’, ‘Seeing Things’, ‘The Spirit Level’ and ‘Electric Light’ are drafts of poems that were not included in his major collections, drafts of some essays and lectures, including his Nobel lecture ‘Crediting Poetry’ (1995) and ‘Suffering and Decision’ which he gave as the Ted Hughes Memorial Lecture in 2007, and a draft of his adaption of Sophocles’ play ‘Antigone’ titled ‘The Burial at Thebes’ (2004). Bernard McCabe’s comments and annotations on the drafts are dispersed throughout. Also included are poetry broadsheets and programmes for both conferment of degrees and annual commencements that contain Heaney’s poems, letters from Heaney to both Bernard and Jane McCabe and some related newspaper cuttings regarding Heaney’s career, which were compiled by the McCabes.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The collection is arranged as follows: I. Prose II. Poetry III. Drama IV. Correspondence V. Other Papers

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions Access with a valid National Library of Ireland Readers Ticket. The McCabe Heaney Collection contains some papers which are not currently available for consultation (NFC 175) due to their private nature. These papers will be reviewed in 2023.
Conditions Governing ReproductionSubject to the provisions of the Copyright Act 2000, this collection remains in copyright. It is necessary to obtain the express permission of the copyright owner before reproducing any material from this collection.
Creation Dates1977-2010
Extent Medium2 boxes
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids An item level catalogue is available online. Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialThere are additional Seamus Heaney manuscripts held in the Department of Manuscripts of the National Library of Ireland, see the Seamus Heaney Literary Papers MS 49,493/1-284, also the Haberer Heaney Collection MS 49,601/1-28 and MS 41,932/1-3.

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteFiona Hughes
Rules/ConventionsNLI guidelines based on ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000, and Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH)
Date of Descriptions41944