The Irish Literary Tradition
Ireland is a country where for over a thousand years, one cultural force has overshadowed all others: the power of a great literary tradition. This book provides a history of literature in the Irish language from the fifth century to the twentieth. Beginning with an introduction of writing into Ireland, it traces the development of manuscripts from the early Latin records made by monastic scribes to the vernacular works of ecclesiastics and lay scholars. It shows how convention and innovation combined to produce poetry of a consistently high artistic standard within a traditional framework. The latter half of this book concentrates on the fall of the native order and a final chapter on the revival offers critical appraisals of the work of recent and contemporary Irish writers and takes up such issues as the decline of the Irish language and the future of Irish-language literature. With a wealth of references to primary and secondary sources, this book is the first comprehensive survey of Irish-Gaelic literature since the publication of Douglas Hyde's "Literary History of Ireland" in 1899.
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What Reviewers Are Saying
'The Irish Literary Tradition is a magisterial achievement, a book which no one seriously interested in the literature of our "British" archipelago should be without' New Welsh Review '... this book is a comprehensive general history aimed principally at the non-specialist. Professor Ford and Williams have done their subject more than justice and for the foreseeable future, wherever Irish Literature is taught their names will be gratefully mentioned.' Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies