Irish Classics by Declan Kiberd
(Convergences: Inventories of the Present)

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Synopsis

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.

 

About Declan Kiberd

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Declan Kiberd is Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at University College Dublin.
 
Published January 1, 2000 by Granta Books. 4 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Travel, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Irish Classics

The Guardian

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Irish Classics Declan Kiberd 715pp, Granta £25 Buy it at BOL The mayhem in Northern Ireland has done wonders for Irish literature.

Nov 25 2000 | Read Full Review of Irish Classics (Convergences:...

Publishers Weekly

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O'Casey's plays, such as Juno and the Paycock, are an attempt to tackle an ""outbreak of middle-class morality,"" and O'Flaherty's The Informer is an ""attempt to wrest the meaning and interpretation of the Jesus story from the priests."" The essay on Flann O'Brien's At Swim-Two-Birds recalls the...

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Project MUSE

Kiberd's last book, Inventing Ireland (Harvard University Press, 1995), a study of twentieth-century Irish writing, has been the single most influential text in the growing discourse of Irish postcolonial studies.

| Read Full Review of Irish Classics (Convergences:...

Project MUSE

Kiberd's last book, Inventing Ireland (Harvard University Press, 1995), a study of twentieth-century Irish writing, has been the single most influential text in the growing discourse of Irish postcolonial studies.

| Read Full Review of Irish Classics (Convergences:...

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