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!
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.
Chapter 21 - Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan, 1776 - 1859
Sydney Owenson is best known for her novel The Wild Irish Girl. The story is told from the point of view of Horatio Mortimer, a young Englishman, who has been banished by his father to the family's Irish estates as punishment for bad behaviour.
Horatio arrives in Ireland with conventional predjudicethat it is barbarous, but Irish hospitality and the beauties of the Irish landscape begin to cahnge his opinions.
Chapter 22 - Thomas Moore, 1779 - 1852
Thomas Moore's Irish Melodies were massively popular in their day; they have survived into the present and might well be the most famous writing Ireland has ever produced.
Everyone has heard one of these songs, even if they don't know that it's by Moore: 'BelieveMe, if All Those Endearing Young Charms'; 'The Harp that Once thro' Tara's Halls'; 'Tis the Last Rose of Sunner'; 'The Meeting of the Water'; 'Oft, in the Stilly Night' - the list could go on.
Chapter 23 - Anne Devlin, 1781 - 1851
Anne Devlin is not a writer - which might appear to to disqualify her from a history of Irish literature! But the one book associated with her is so strange - and has been overlooked for so long - that to leave her out of the account again would be to reinforce an already repeated injustice.
Anne's 'Prison Journal' is a rare (in every sense of the word) inside account of Robert Emmet's 1803 rising.
Chapter 24 - William Carleton, 1794 - 1869
William Carleton was born in the Clogher Valley in Co. Tyrone. His father, a tenant farmer , was a storyteller, and his mother was a singer with a great repertoire of traditional songs.
Chapter 25 - James Clarence Mangan, 1803 - 1849
James Clarence Mangan described himself as a 'Tortured torturer of reluctant rhymes'. Others referred to him as 'the man in the cloak' because of his typical costume of long cloak, a pointed hat and green-tinted glasses.
Magnan was driven by various compulsions. He was psychologically unstable and prone to suicidal depressions and hypochondria. It's difficult to know wether these problems were caused or alleviated by by his addictions to alcohal and laudanum. What is certain is that he was equally addicted to writing.