Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century: A Reader

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9781859182086: Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century: A Reader

With five Nobel Prize-winners, seven Pulitzer Prize-winners and two Booker Prize-winning novelists, modern Irish writing has contributed something special and permanent to our understanding of the twentieth century. Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century provides a useful, comprehensive and pleasurable introduction to modern Irish literature in a single volume.

Organized chronologically by decade, this anthology provides the reader with a unique sense of the development and richness of Irish writing and of the society it reflected.

It embraces all forms of writing, not only the major forms of drama, fiction and verse, but such material as travel writing, personal memoirs, journalism, interviews and radio plays, to offer the reader a complete and wonderfully varied sense of Ireland's contribution our literary heritage.

David Pierce has selected major literary figures as well as neglected ones, and includes many writers from the Irish diaspora. The range of material is enormous, and ensures that work that is inaccessible or out of print is now easily available.

The book is a delightful compilation, including many well known pieces and captivating "discoveries," which anyone interested in literature will long enjoy browsing and dipping into.

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From the Author:

In spite of the Court case in Dublin, which saw the physical removal of extracts from James Joyce's Ulysses from the collection in 2000, I still have a lot of affection for this book. At its launch at the Irish Film Institute in March 2001, John Montague compared it to a baby Field Day. That was high praise indeed but I was quick to counter that it carried the word 'reader' in the title, not 'anthology'. A reader is less grand than an anthology and is more a workbook than a bible. As I return to it today I am shocked by its size and all the effort that went into it. Footnotes alone took me a year. Having said that, let me also register something else. Brendan Kennelly thought the book should be in every school in Ireland, and it does have the look of the classroom about it. But it's also designed for other kinds of readers - for readers who don't have the time to spend in research libraries, for those who want a survey of the field of modern Irish writing in a handy format, or for those who just want to browse. I was also looking to readers outside of Ireland among the 70 million who claim Irish descent around the world. In that sense it's a Reader that consciously seeks out new readers among the ever-widening and ever-deepening and thoughtful diaspora. When I'm asked would I do it again, I reply with another question 'Could I do it again?'

From the Back Cover:

"...a terrifically useful book for an understanding of Irish writing and thought over the past 100 years. Specialists in Irish literature will be glad to have a book that collects in one place so many useful writings not easily tracked down. Students in courses on Irish literature will find this an extremely helpful course reader, complete with appropriate pedagogical suggestions and guides." -- Vincent Cheng, Shirley Sutton Thomas Professor of English, University of Utah

"David Pierce has packed this treasure-trove with skill and good taste. Irish writing has rarely had so well-informed a reader, who has gone outside the accepted canon just as he has looked beyond the island's shores. This is a broad and accommodating view of the culture and its dialogue with politics, languages, and recurrent problems." -- W.J. McCormack, Professor of Literary History, Goldsmiths College, University of London

"This is a quite brilliant anthology, and introduces the wealth of Irish writing in the Twentieth Century in all its extensive range and human depth." -- Robert Welch, Professor of English,, University of Ulster, Coleraine

" This is a splendidly useful book, both for the wide range of the material and for the thoughtful way in which it has been structured. Students as well as teachers will find here hundreds of hitherto unknown or forgotten texts and documents that finally place modern Irish literature in its full historical and cultural context." -- P.J. de Voogd, Professor of English,, University of Utrecht

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