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1. Contents 2. Early & medieval literature 3. Early modern period 4. Modern writing 5. Anglo-Irish tradition 6. Modern writers - Irish 7. Modern writers.

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Presentation on theme: "1. Contents 2. Early & medieval literature 3. Early modern period 4. Modern writing 5. Anglo-Irish tradition 6. Modern writers - Irish 7. Modern writers."— Presentation transcript:


2 1. Contents 2. Early & medieval literature 3. Early modern period 4. Modern writing 5. Anglo-Irish tradition 6. Modern writers - Irish 7. Modern writers – English 8. Sources

3 The earliest Irish literature consisted of poetry and ancient prose tales. The earliest poetry from 6th century illustrates a religious faith or describe the world of nature. Much of the writing was in praise of patrons and their families. The best of it was of high quality and included poetry of a personal nature. Among the most distingushed of poets were: - Gofraidh Fionn Ó Dálaigh (14th century, known of his poem Filidh Éireann go haointeach) - Tadhg Óg Ó Huiginn (15th century, Me a dhearbhrathair 's a dhalta, A-táid trí comhruig im chionn) - Eochaidh Ó Heóghusa (16th century, Fúar liom an adhaighsi dh'Aodh, Ionmholta malairt bhisigh).

4 Every noble family possessed manuscripts containing genealogical material, and the work of the best poets was used for teaching purposes in the bardic schools. Fully trained poets belonged to the highest stratum in the society. They were court officials but were thought to still possess ancient magical powers. Women were largely excluded from the official literature, though female aristocrats could be formidable patrons in their own right. A certain number of women were literate, and some were contributors to an unofficial corpus of courtly love poetry known as dánta grádha. Prose continued to be cultivated in the medieval period in the form of tales. The Norman invasion of the 12th century introduced a new body of stories which influenced the Irish tradition, and in time translations were made from English.

5 Literary class lost its patrons, since noble English speakers had little sympathy for the older culture. This was an age of social and political tension, expressed with power and anguish by Dáibhí Ó Bruadair and by the anonymous authors of Pairliment Chloinne Tomáis, a corrosive prose satire. Prose of another sort was represented by the elegant historical works of Geoffrey Keating and the great compilation known as the Annals of the Four Masters. The consequences of these changes were seen in the 18th century. Poetry was still the dominant literary medium and its practitioners were poor scholars. Such writers produced work of great refinement in popular metres for a local audience. This was particularly the case in Munster, in the south-west of Ireland, and notable names included Eoghan Rua Ó Súilleabháin and Aogán Ó Rathaile. A certain number of local patrons were still to be found, especially among the few surviving families of the Gaelic aristocracy. The women were the dominant composers of traditional laments. The most famous of laments is Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire, composed by Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill, one of the last of the Gaelic gentry of West Kerry.

6 A famous long poem from the beginning of the century is Cúirt an Mheán Oíche (The Midnight Court), a satire by Brian Merriman. The copying of manuscripts continued unabated, and one such collection was in the possession of Amhlaoibh Ó Súilleabháin, who kept a unique diary in Irish from 1827 to 1835 covering local and international events, with informations about daily life. After The Great Famine of the 1840s, a English-speaking middle class was the dominant cultural force. Some of them took an interest in the literature of the Irish language. One such was Samuel Ferguson who studied the language privately and discovered its poetry, which he began to translate. He was preceded by James Hardiman, who in 1831 had published the first comprehensive attempt to collect popular poetry in Irish. These and other attempts supplied a bridge between the literatures of the two languages.

7 Maria Edgeworth (1767–1849) was an Irish writer of adults' and children's literature. Though not of Irish birth, she lived there when young and closely identified with Ireland. She was a pioneer in the realist novel. Jonathan Swift (1667–1745), Irish satirist, essayist, political pamphleteer, poet and cleric, known for Gulliver's Travels. He was Ireland's first earliest notable writer in English. Though born in Ireland, he spent much of his life in England. Oliver Goldsmith (1730–1774), Anglo-Irish writer and poet, best known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield. He moved to London, where he became part of the literary establishment. His poetry reflects his youth in Ireland.

8 Oscar Wilde (1854–1900), though born and raised in Ireland, spent the greater part of his life in England. He is usually claimed to be an Irish writer. His plays are distinguished for their wit, and he was also a poet. The novels and stories of Edith Somerville and Violet Florence Martin (who wrote together as Martin Ross), are among the most accomplished products of Anglo-Irish literature, though written exclusively from the viewpoint of the "big house". In 1894 they published The Real Charlotte.

9 The growth of Irish cultural nationalism towards the end of the 19th century had a marked influence on Irish writing in English, and contributed to the Irish Literary Revival. This can be clearly seen in the plays of John Millington Synge (1871–1909), who spent some time in the Irish-speaking Aran Islands, and in the early poetry of William Butler Yeats (1865–1939), where Irish mythology is used in a personal and idiosyncratic way. J. M.Synge W. B. Yeats

10 One of the finest writers to emerge in Irish at the time was Seosamh Mac Grianna (1900–1990), writer of a powerful autobiography and accomplished novels, though his creative period was cut short by illness. Patrick Pearse (1879–1916), teacher, barrister and revolutionary, was a pioneer of modernist literature in Irish. He was followed by, among others, Pádraic Ó Conaire (1881–1928), an individualist with a strongly European bent.

11 The best known of that generation was possibly Michael Hartnett (1941–1999), who wrote both in Irish and English, abandoning the latter altogether for a time. Máirtín Ó Cadhain (1906–1970), a language activist, is generally acknowledged as the doyen (and most difficult) of modern writers in Irish, and has been compared to James Joyce. He produced short stories, two novels and some journalism.

12 James Joyce (1882-1941) is often regarded as the father of the literary genre "stream of consciousness", best exemplified in his famous work, Ulysses, considered to be one of the 20th century's greatest literary achievements. It has been described as "a demonstration and summation of the entire [Modernist] movement“. Joyce also wrote Finnegans Wake, Dubliners, and the semi- autobiographical A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Joyce's style had its influence on coming generations, most notably Samuel Beckett, Brian O'Nolan and Aidan Higgins

13 Sources:

14 This presentation was made by Oliwia Rogala II B

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