Wednesday, 17 March 2010

On this day...














As today is, of course, St. Patrick's day, it seems appropriate to have a look at some of the great literature Ireland has produced. Bursting forth with the dual force of playwrights Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw, Irish literature really found its feet in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.Of course there had been notable writers before, such as Jonathan Swift and Oliver Goldsmith, yet none had, or possibly ever will, hit the heights that both Wilde and Shaw achieved. 'The Importance of Being Earnest', 'The Picture of Dorian Gray', 'Pygmalion', 'Mrs. Warren's Profession' - all caused scandal, reality, shock or acceptance, yet above all, they are alll regarded as some of the finest examples of literature.

Although Wilde did write one novel, Ireland's best prose writers are found in the form of Bram Stoker, creator of 'Dracula', and later modernist James Joyce, whose best known work is 'Ulysses'. Finally, so as not to exclude any genre, Ireland has a history of great poets. William Butler Yeats is arguably the most recognisable, courtesy of such works of 'The Tower'. Yet, of course, Ireland still has a poet very much in the spotlight, in Seamus Heaney, creator of such collections as 'The Spirit Level'. Ireland has been the recepient of 4 Nobel Prizes for Literature, and can boast about having one of the oldest literary traditions, after Greek and Latin.

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