Irish Identity and the Literary Revival: Synge, Yeats, Joyce, and O'Casey

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Catholic University of America Press, 1994 - Literary Criticism - 326 pages
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Hailed by critics as ""indispensable"" and ""splendidly readable,"" Irish Identity and the Literary Revival illuminates the art of four of Ireland's greatest writers through a detailed examination of their works in the context of a single main theme: each writer's attempt to grapple with, or define, the nature or meaning of Irish cultural and political identity. This vexed question of identity is an obsessive concern for each of the four, permeating the content, form, and style of their major works. Rather than use the literature reductively, G. J. Watson allows his major theme to emerge and develop from direct and close engagement with the writers' texts, which are examined in detailed, full-length essays.

This book has been much used by undergraduate and postgraduate students, yet with its jargon- free style it also appeals to the general, educated reader. It will be enjoyed by all those with an interest in Irish literature and culture, and especially by those with a particular interest in Synge, Yeats, Joyce, or O'Casey.

G. J. Watson is a senior lecturer in the department of English at the University of Aberdeen. He is the author of Drama: An Introduction (Macmillan, 1984) and the editor of W. B. Yeats: The Fiction, forthcoming from Penguin Books.


""G. J. Watson has written a book which is at once a work of consummate scholarship and an act of personal testimony. . . . [It] is an exciting and deeply moving book, which will be studied with profit not only by literary critics, historians, and sociologists, but also, one hopes, by many ordinary readers. . . . As a work of criticism, this study is outstanding in its sensitivity to the nuances of a text, in its breadth of learning, and in its lucidity of style. . . . Irish Identity and the Literary Revival takes its place on the shelf as an indispensable study of the literature of the Irish crisis.""--Declan Kiberd, Review of English Studies

""Every chapter is illuminating. . . . A splendidly readable book, widely informed, alert, even witty, in the midst of its scrupulous marshalling of evidence.""--Brian Cosgrove, Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review of Letters, Philosophy and Science/I>

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