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The Giants of Irish Literature

Written by: Professor George O'Brien
Narrated by: George O'Brien
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Publisher's Summary

Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, and Samuel Beckett: These four masters of Irish literature created works of startling innovation and unparalleled literary merit. They defied popular expectations and confounded critics with unique masterpieces that one might think of as puzzles, the solution of which lies at the heart of the modern age. Understanding the works of these greats, all associated to some degree with the Irish Literary Revival, is fundamental not only to a richer appreciation of Irish literature, but to a better comprehension of modern literature in all its manifestations, for these authors struggled with the idea of modernity and all it entailed, and the fruits of their struggle stand as monuments to the remarkable capacity of literary imagination.

Renowned professor George O'Brien of Georgetown University provides the biographical background of these authors and an in-depth analysis of their greatest works. In the course of these lectures, O'Brien discusses the very qualities that set these works apart and the "Irishness" that characterizes each of them.

©2006 George O'Brien (P)2006 Recorded Books, LLC

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Here-and-faraway
  • 2011-01-16

Great IF You've Recently Read the Works Discussed

I have really mixed feelings on this title. It's obvious that George O'Brien knows his subject matter and he is interesting to listen to. He also does a great job explaining the history behind the world that Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, and Wilde lived in. The problem is that O'Brien assumes you've recently read the titles he discusses. While I HAVE read most of the books and poetry he analyzes, it's been quite a few years since I've done so, and therefore a lot of what O'Brien says simply goes over my head.

Other The Modern Scholar professors will give the listener a brief overview of the book or poem that they're about to discuss, so the listener can follow the lecture even if she isn't familiar with the text. Not so for The Giants of Irish Literature. O'Brien delves straight into analysis without any sort of text overview. He doesn't even read an excerpt of the scene he is about to discuss.

Of course, you COULD read the books and poems he discusses before you listen to lecture. Heck, you could probably go online and read a decent summary of the texts too. But personally, I prefer it when The Modern Scholar lecturer will give the listener a brief overview of what s/he's about to discuss.

17 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Lucky
  • 2021-02-28

Hard to listen to

Unfortunately, the professor's voice is hard to listen to and really distracts from the content.