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'I believe this is a valuable book and a refreshing reminder of the complexity of a tradition that has been too readily understood in stereotyped and politically damaging ways' Seamas Deane (University College, Dublin). Irish literature remains, in the popular imagination, a matter of Wilde, Shaw, Synge, Yeats and Joyce. Its mythology is rooted in the South and in the nineteenth century. This book proposes a new view of Irish literary tradition from the seventeenth century to the present. The recent prominence of Seamus Heaney and other poets from the north of Ireland, and the complex Irish, British and cosmopolitan contexts of their work, have altered our sense of the nature and development of Irish literature in English. Irish Literature pioneers a form of literary history which is politically aware, theoretically sophisticated and critically acute. It is aware both of the complexities of culture, tradition and identity and sensitive to the history of writing and its poetic impact. Through linked discussions of well-known and neglected writers, Joyce and St John Ervine, Carleton and Thomas D'Arcy McGee, Norman Vance reveals a tradition which is deeply rooted in history, deeply complicated by its own sense of tradition and overwhelmingly original as literature.
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