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Seamus Heaney

Sadly, the poet Seamus Heaney recently passed away; there's a nice tribute to him in the Guardian by Colm Toibin.

Bloomsday

In case anyone here is a James Joyce fan, the Los Angeles Times blog has an article on Eight Ways to Celebrate James Joyce and Bloomsday.

Humor in Irish literature

I recently started reading The Third Policeman by Flann O'Brien, and I noticed certain similarities to other Irish writers such as James Joyce and Samuel Beckett--namely, black comedy,absurdism,wordplay, a circular storyline...and I was wondering whether this could be considered a product of the time period in which these authors were writing, or if it's a product of their nationality. What do you think? Are there certain traits that Irish comedies have in common?

Bram Stoker

After reading Le Fanu's Carmilla, I decided to follow that up by rereading Dracula. For those who've read it, what did you think of Bram Stoker's style? Did you like the diary format?

Has anyone read his other works besides Dracula? Would you recommend them?

John Banville

John Banville has given an interesting new interview about his latest novel,The Infinities.

current reading

I've really been neglecting this community! Has anyone been reading any Irish authors lately? At the moment, I'm in the middle of J Sheridan Le Fanu's Carmilla, a novella about a female vampire. So far, it's very suspenseful.

What about the rest of you?

Padraic Colum

Connal was the name of the King who ruled over Ireland at that time.
He had three sons, and, as the fir-trees grow, some crooked and some
straight, one of them grew up so wild that in the end the King and the
King's Councillor had to let him have his own way in everything. This
youth was the King's eldest son and his mother had died before she could
be a guide to him.
--The King of Ireland's Son by Padraic Colum

Today is the birthday of one of my favorite Irish writers, Padraic Colum. He had a knack for weaving together well known fairy tales in an imaginative way, with wonderful twists and vivid language. I urge anyone who loves myths and fairy tales to check out his works! :)

Colum McCann

Colum McCann has won the National Book Award--here's the Irish Times coverage. The only thing I've read by him is a rather grim short story called "Everything in this Country Must".

Has anyone read his books? If so, what did you think?
I just literally choked on a Goldfish cracker, because I saw in today's (London) Times that Frank McCourt has died at the age of 78. Wow. I loved Angela's Ashes. 'Tis and Teacher Man were also excellent.

I got to meet Mr. McCourt, just very randomly and briefly, when I was 21. I happened to be at Trinity College in Dublin on a day when he was lecturing, and it came to pass that I was standing at the foot of a flight of stairs as he was coming down. I stopped him to express my appreciation for Angela's Ashes (he hadn't yet published his other books), and he was as pleasant and charming as you might imagine he would be, given the personality he expresses in his books. I'm saddened by his passing. RIP, Mr. McCourt.

Samuel Beckett

J. M. Coetzee wrote an interesting review of the new compilation of Samuel Beckett's letters, with lots of biographical information and quotes highlighting Beckett's literary tastes and opinions.