Sweeney Astray. A Version From The Irish. Derry: Field Day, 1983. First edition. Pp, 77. Oatmeal cloth boards, title and image in black to covers, in pictorial dust jacket designed by Colin Middleton. A fine copy. Signed & Dated by Heaney on the title-page in year of publication.
"Field Day, whose first venture was the production of Brian Friel's 'Translations' in 1980, is happy to publish this new contribution to the corpus of Irish classics in translation." Heaney's version of Buile Suibhne is one of the major achievements of medieval literature. The story centres on the fate of Sweeney, the king of Dal-Arie in Ulster, who was cursed by a saint, turned into a bird, and driven astray for many years until the curse was fulfilled by his death. Flann O'Brien gave its central character a second life when he made Sweeney part of the apparatus of his novel 'At Swim Two Birds' and a number of other poets & scholars have continued to make translations of different sections of the verse.