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A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers by…
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A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers (edition 1984)

by Hugh Kenner

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902209,674 (4.17)None
Member:donutage
Title:A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers
Authors:Hugh Kenner
Info:Penguin Books Ltd (1984), Paperback
Collections:Moorestown
Rating:****
Tags:modernism, literary criticism, Joyce, Beckett, Ireland, authors I know

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A Colder Eye: The Modern Irish Writers by Hugh Kenner

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Great fun. I have not studied Yeats, Joyce, etc. to any degree. I think I read a play of Synge for a college class, forty years ago. This book gave me lots of background stories to help me situate lots of fragments that I have stumbled across over the years.

There is quite a bit of attention paid to the early days of the Abbey theater and the raucous reception of plays there. The Irish Nationalists wanted to promote a rose tinted view of the people, while the playwrights had other ideas. A lot of the focus of the book is on language, Irish versus English. There are even some hints about pronouncing Irish.

Toward the end the book does get less coherent. There is a chapter on Brian O'Nolan or Flann O'Brian or Myles naGopaleen, however you call him. I totally fell in love with this writer when I was in graduate school. So I was very happy to see him discussed. But exactly how he fits in... well, ok, the preceding text provided a map and then Myles chapter could pin Myles to a spot on the map.... native Irish speaker, hmmm, Catholic I should think but does Kenner actually say so?

This book sketches out a situation, centered mostly on Ireland from say 1904 to 1924, where the whole Irish Nationalist political scene takes form, and fits the literature of the time and place into the context of that political conflict and its cultural ramifications.

Definitely very informative and enjoyable. As I continue to explore that literature, I expect I will be rewarded again and again from having read Kenner's book. ( )
  kukulaj | Nov 7, 2014 |
some of the really interesting writing in english of the 20th century was done by the irish

hugh kenner is always a treat ( )
  nobodhi | Apr 8, 2013 |
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