The volume contains Dr. Heaney's speech on the occasion of the award of the Royal irish Academy's Cunningham Medal January 2008. This includes includes his reflections on how the humanities inform consciousness and equip people as creatures of memory and reflection; how they supply a basis for the location and different orientation of the self in the world. The book also includes the Cunningham Medal citation by Jane Conroy, a poem by Paul Muldoon commissioned in honor of Dr. Heaney, and the text of a discourse by Patrick Masterson. Contribution by J. Conroy: Presentation of the work of Seamus Heaney, with emphasis on his scholarship and academic distinction. Originally delivered at the award ceremony in January 2008.