Irish Classics | Granta

  • Published: 08/08/2001
  • ISBN: 9781862074590
  • Granta Books
  • 704 pages

Irish Classics

Declan Kiberd

Stretching back to 1600 and covering works in English and Gaelic, Irish Classics scrutinizes the enduring Irish classics that have challenged readers generation after generation. Irish themes are explored as inspiration for the bitter poetry of Seathrun Ceitinn and the prose of Jonathan Swift and Edmund Burke, and analogies are made between modern and classic writers. Although Kiberd acknowledges that often frictions existed between the two languages he finds that, nevertheless, strong similarities override both.

Occasionally one comes across a book capable of producing intense feelings of dismay, then joy; dismay on having revealed to oneself an unexpected deficit in one's knowledge, and joy at the author's scholarly relief of it. This is such a book

Cal McCrystal, Independent on Sunday

What Kiberd has succeeded in doing so remarkably is to draw together the writers in the two languages and in diverse cultural traditions within the same historical framework ... His redrawing of Irish traditions along these lines is certain to become a classic of that literature in its own right

Sunday Tribune

[Kiberd] has the talent for popularising of the public intellectual. Witty, astute, and compulsively readable, he knows how to shape a critical narrative and where to slide in a comic aside ... Irish Classics has an infectious verve about it ... it tracks the course of Irish writing with brilliant lucidity and unflagging energy ... [its] powers to expound, amuse and exhilarate are second to none

Terry Eagleton, Guardian

The Author

Declan Kiberd is Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at University College, Dublin.

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