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The Oxford book of Irish short storiesby William Trevor
Synopses & Reviews
Ireland has been called a nation of story-tellers. "Stories of one kind or another have a way of pressing themselves into Irish conversation, both as entertainment and as a form of communication," writes William Trevor. "For centuries they have been offered to strangers, almost as hospitality is: tall stories, simple stories, stories of extraordinary deeds, of mysteries and wonders, of gentleness, love, cruelty, and violence." Himself an accomplished short story writer, Trevor has gathered here a collection of stories that represent not only the best of Irish short story writing, but the best of the genre.
Spanning the entire history of the Irish short story, from folk-tales to modern writing, this is the most broad-ranging anthology available. Included are such masters as James Joyce and Elizabeth Bowen, who established Ireland at the forefront of the modern short story, as well as Frank O'Connor and Sean O'Faolain, the two most important writers since Joyce and Bowen. Trevor has selected stories by Bernard McLaverty and Desmond Hogan to represent the new generation of writers. But, as Elizabeth Bowen observed, the modern short story in Ireland is "a young art," and it is against the nation's deeply rooted oral tradition that it must be considered. Toward this end, The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories includes seven folk tales translated from the Irish by Sean O'Sullivan, and Seamus MacManus's re-telling of an Irish fairy tale.
William Trevor is one of today's most famous and respected Irish writers. (His work is represented here by the short story "Death in Jerusalem.") The 45 stories he has selected for this anthology, for which he has written a generous introduction, cover a 250-year period and works by 35 authors. Together they demonstrate the development of the short story in Ireland, a land where a flair for storytelling has "become a national characteristic."
In Ireland what began as both entertainment and communication through the spoken word grew into a literary form unmatched by any other country. The Oxford Book of Irish Short Stories triumphantly demonstrates that development, from early folk tales of the oral tradition (here translated from the Irish) through Oliver Goldsmith, Maria Edgeworth, Oscar Wilde, James Joyce and Joyce Cary to Elizabeth Bowen, Liam O'Flaherty and such rising stars of today as Edna O'Brian and Desmond Hogan. William Trevor, himself a distinguished short story writer, brings a special sensibility and awareness to his role as editor. This wide-ranging collection of forty-six stories will certainly serve to entertain and enrich our understanding of a unique literary genre.
About the Author
About the Editor:
William Trevor, novelist, short story writer, and dramatist, is the author of The Ballroom of Romance, Angels at the Ritz, The News from Ireland, and numerous other works.
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