January 12, 2018

3244 IRELAND - Irish writers

For a comparatively small place, the island of Ireland has made a disproportionate contribution to world literature in all its branches, in both the Irish and English languages. The island's most widely known literary works are undoubtedly in English. Three of the four Nobel prize Irish winners (William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett and Seamus Heaney) were born in Dublin, making it the birthplace of more Nobel literary laureates than any other city in the world.

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), a powerful and versatile satirist, was Ireland's first earliest notable writer in English. Swift held positions of authority in both England and Ireland at different times. Many of Swift's works reflected support for Ireland during times of political turmoil with England, and earned him the status of an Irish patriot. Oliver Goldsmith (1730-1774), born in County Longford, moved to London, where he became part of the literary establishment, though his poetry reflects his youth in Ireland.

Oscar Wilde (1854-1900), born and educated in Ireland, spent the latter half of his life in England. His plays are distinguished for their wit, and he was also a poet. The poet W. B. Yeats was initially influenced by the Pre-Raphaelites and made use of Irish "peasant folk traditions and ancient Celtic myth" in his early poetry. Subsequently, however, he was drawn to the "intellectually more vigorous" poetry of John Donne, along with Ezra Pound and T. S. Eliot, and became one of the greatest 20th-century modernist poets.

James Joyce (1882-1941) is one of the most significant novelists of the first half of the 20th century, and a major pioneer in the use of the "stream of consciousness" technique in his famous novel Ulysses (1922), often considered to be the greatest novel of the 20th century. George Bernard Shaw (1856-1950) wrote more than sixty plays, his influence on Western theatre, culture and politics extended from the 1880s to his death and beyond. With a range incorporating both contemporary satire and historical allegory, Shaw became the leading dramatist of his generation.

Flann O'Brien (1911-1966) is regarded as a key figure in postmodern literature, powerfully influenced by James Joyce. Its novels have attracted a wide following for their bizarre humour and Modernist metafiction. Samuel Beckett (1906-1989) was an avant-garde novelist and playwright, who lived in Paris for most of his adult life. Beckett's work offers a bleak, tragicomic outlook on human existence, often coupled with black comedy and gallows humour. He is considered one of the last modernist writers, and one of the key figures of the "Theatre of the Absurd".

Patrick Kavanagh (1904-1967), who came from a small farm, wrote about the narrowness and frustrations of rural life. Seán O'Casey (1880-1964) is best known for his realist Dublin Trilogy. A committed socialist, he was the first Irish playwright of note to write about the Dublin working classes. The growth of Irish cultural nationalism, culminating in the Gaelic Revival, contributed to the Irish Literary Revival, which can be clearly seen in the plays of J.M. Synge (1871-1909). Despite his wild lifestyle, Brendan Behan (1923-1964) is widely regarded as one of the greatest Irish writers and poets of all time.

About the stamp
The stamp is one of the two Christmas 2017 Stamp SOAR, about which I wrote here.

Irish literature - Wikipedia

Sender: Ana
Sent from Dublin (Leinster / Ireland), on 23.12.2017

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