Pub. Date:
Counterpoint Press
People of the Sea / Edition 1

People of the Sea / Edition 1

by David Thomson, Seamus Heaney
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A magical book about an ancient legend-that the seal was once human, and can sometimes resume human form-and about the Celtic fishing families who still tell it, sing it, believe it.

The People of the Sea is an incomparable evocation of the pagan Celtic world, where even today magic coexists with reality, and where ancient traditions, beliefs, and ways of life somehow endure. The late David Thomson, a Scotsman raised among fishermen and storytellers, was obsessed from childhood by the Celtic seal legend-the large body of stories and songs surrounding the gray Atlantic seal-and the dream-like hold that his own encounters with seals had on him. In the early 1950s he took a journey to seek the legend out-in the Hebrides, on the east coast of Scotland, on the west coast of Ireland, in the Shetlands and the Orkney Islands. He gives us here the fruit of his search as he found it-in bar conversations, in chance meetings on the beach, at a country dance, in a crofter's kitchen-and he also tells us something of the men, women, and children from whom he heard the stories. The result is an unclassifiable masterpiece, a book that his friend Seamus Heaney, in an introduction written especially for this edition, calls "a poetic achievement," a work of "intuitive understanding, perfect grace, and perfect pitch."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781582431840
Publisher: Counterpoint Press
Publication date: 12/28/2001
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 244
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.54(h) x 0.60(d)

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People of the Sea 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
schreiberin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Love this book, but reading it is wonderfully dangerous: it makes me dream of wandering the quiet places of the north Atlantic, and I feel that I could leave for Scotland in a heartbeat. When I come to my senses (international travel is way too expensive for me right now), I always appreciate anew the living folklore all around me. Part of the beauty of this book is opening my eyes to what I already have: the poetry of home.