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The Book of Irish Writers

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The Book of Fifty Irish Writers

They were rogues, adventurers, idealists, romantics, shrinking violets, ego maniacs and all the other wonders and failures of human nature besides. The men and women of established Irish Literature were once living, breathing people – ‘The Book of Irish Writers' releases them from their dust jackets and brings them to life!

Through this chronological series of easily digestible short programmes, the listener will be led in a clear and entertaining way through what might be considered by some as a stuffy and academic subject – Irish Literature! By illuminating the lives of our famous and forgotten writers – with all their foibles, weaknesses, triumphs and tragedies unveiled – the series will be a gripping listen for all those who enjoy social history, great characters and a good story!

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Read the transcript of Charlotte Brooke here.

Chapter 16 - Charlotte Brooke, circa 1740 - 1793

The Anglo-Irish Charlotte Brooke claimed Gaelic culture as her own – hoping that it could be shared by everyone in Ireland .

Charlotte is best remembered for her anthology, the ‘ Reliques of Irish Poetry'. Published in 1789 this was a pioneering work in many ways - not least in Charlotte 's claims about the quality and antiquity of poetry in Irish, especially as compared to English poetry!

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Read the transcript of Eibhlin Dhubh Ni Chonaill here.

Chapter 17 - Eibhlin Dhubh Ni Chonaill, circa 1743 to 1800

Eibhlín was born in Derrynane in co. Kerry. She was the aunt of the great nineteenth-century politician, Daniel O'Connell, the ‘Liberator'.

Eibhlín's family had a tradition of producing women poets and she created one of the great works of loss and lamentation in Irish literature: ‘Caoineadh Airt UÍ Laoghaire' or ‘The Lament for Art O'Leary'.

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Read the transcript of Brian Merriman here.

Chapter 18 - Brian Merriman, 1749 - 1805

Brian Merriman was one of the most extraordinary writers of his time. This Maths Teacher from Co. Clare wrote the comic masterpiece ‘ Cúirt an Mhéon Oíche' or ‘The Midnight Court'. The poem unsettles many of the assumptions we might make about Irish life at the end of the eighteenth century - dealing as it does with marriage and sex in a manner that is direct, bawdy and irreverent.

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Read the transcript of Richard Bainsley Sheridan, here.

Chapter 19 - Richard Brinsley Sheridan, 1751 - 1816

Immensely popular and fashionable in his day, the Dublin-born Sheridan invented the comic figure of Mrs Malaprop (that inventive language mangler), forged a successful career as a politician and was the owner of the ill-fated Drury Lane theatre in London.

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Read the transcript of Maria Edgeworth here.

Chapter 20 - Maria Edgeworth, 1768 - 1849

The Anglo-Irish writer Maria Edgeworth wrote the first ‘Big House' novel - ‘Castle Rackrent'. Maria was very much influenced by her father, Richard Lovell Edgeworth. On the family's Longford estate Richard was a liberal, reforming landlord who campaigned for Catholic emancipation. He also had a passion for education and began to educate Maria almost as an experiment. The father and daughter became a writing partnership – but it was the daughter who emerged as the more accomplished.

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Resources

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Dont forget to visit the special Rhythm 'n' Rhyme showcase to read some of the brilliant work that was sent in for National Poetry Day 08.

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