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Irish Classics

Irish Classics

by Declan KiberdDeclan Kiberd


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A celebration of the tenacious life of the enduring Irish classics, this book by one of Irish writing's most eloquent readers offers a brilliant and accessible survey of the greatest works since 1600 in Gaelic and English, which together have shaped one of the world's most original literary cultures.

In the course of his discussion of the great seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Gaelic poems of dispossession, and of later work in that language that refuses to die, Declan Kiberd provides vivid and idiomatic translations that bring the Irish texts alive for the English-speaking reader.

Extending from the Irish poets who confronted modernity as a cataclysm, and who responded by using traditional forms in novel and radical ways, to the great modern practitioners of such paradoxically conservative and revolutionary writing, Kiberd's work embraces three sorts of Irish classics: those of awesome beauty and internal rigor, such as works by the Gaelic bards, Yeats, Synge, Beckett, and Joyce; those that generate a myth so powerful as to obscure the individual writer and unleash an almost superhuman force, such as the Cuchulain story, the lament for Art O'Laoghaire, and even Dracula; and those whose power exerts a palpable influence on the course of human action, such as Swift's Drapier's Letters, the speeches of Edmund Burke, or the autobiography of Wolfe Tone. The book closes with a moving and daring coda on the Anglo-Irish agreement, claiming that the seeds of such a settlement were sown in the works of Irish literature.

A delight to read throughout, Irish Classics is a fitting tribute to the works it reads so well and inspires us to read, and read again.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674010086
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 10/30/2002
Series: Convergences: Inventories of the Present , #27
Edition description: Revised ed.
Pages: 720
Sales rank: 360,391
Product dimensions: 5.94(w) x 8.94(h) x (d)

About the Author

Declan Kiberd is Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • 1. Gaelic Ireland: Apocalypse Now?
  • 2. Bardic Poetry: The Loss of Aura
  • 3. Saving Civilization: Céitinn and Ó Bruadair
  • 4. Dying Acts: Ó Rathaille and Others
  • 5. Endings and Beginnings: Mac Cuarta and After
  • 6. Jonathan Swift: a Colonial Outsider?
  • 7. Home and Away: Gulliver’s Travels
  • 8. Nostalgia as Protest: Goldsmith’s “Deserted Village”
  • 9. Radical Pastoral: Goldsmith’s She Stoops to Conquer
  • 10. Sheridan and Subversion
  • 11. Eibhlín Dhubh Ní Chonaill: The Lament for Art Ó Laoghaire
  • 12. Brian Merriman’s Midnight Court
  • 13. Burke, Ireland and Revolution
  • 14. Republican Self-Fashioning: The Journal of Wolfe Tone
  • I5. Native Informants: Maria Edgeworth and Castle Rackrent
  • 16. Confronting Famine: Carleton’s Peasantry
  • 17. Feudalism Falling: A Drama in Muslin
  • 18. Love Songs of Connacht
  • 19. Anarchist Attitudes: Oscar Wilde
  • 20. George Bernard Shaw: Arms and the Man
  • 21. Somerville and Ross: The Silver Fox
  • 22. Undead in the Nineties: Bram Stoker and Dracula
  • 23. Augusta Gregory’s Cuchulain: The Rebirth of the Hero
  • 24. Synge’s Tristes Tropiques: The Aran Islands
  • 25. W.B. Yeats: Building Amid Ruins
  • 26. Ulysses, Newspapers and Modernism
  • 27. After the Revolution: O’Casey and O’Flaherty
  • 28. Gaelic Absurdism: At Swim-Two-Birds
  • 29. The Blasket Autobiographies
  • 30. Incorrigibly Plural: Louis MacNeice
  • 31. Kate O’Brien: The Ante-Room
  • 32. All the Dead Voices: Cré Na Cille
  • 33. Underdeveloped Comedy: Patrick Kavanagh
  • 34. Anglo-Gaelic Literature: Seán Ó Ríordéin
  • 35. Irish Narrative: A Short History
  • Notes
  • Index

What People are Saying About This

Barry Forshaw

The most immediately striking aspect of Kiberd's brave enterprise is the sheer accessibility of the texts selected...In this ambitious survey of the enduring Irish classics, the author's avowed intention of choosing works that challenge each successive generation is effortlessly fulfilled...His enthusiasm for the great Irish writers that is communicated at every opportunity...For most of us, this will be a book with a potential to open many new vistas.

Customer Reviews