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The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland

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The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

A trenchant look at the ways the Irish and others have told the "Story of Ireland," from W.B. Yeats to Frank McCourt

Roy Foster is one of the leaders of the iconoclastic generation of Irish historians. In this opinionated, entertaining book he examines how the Irish have written, understood, used, and misused their history over the past century.

Foster argues that, over the centuries, Irish experience itself has been turned into story. He examines how and why the key moments of Ireland's past — the 1798 Rising, the Famine, the Celtic Revival, Easter 1916, the Troubles — have been worked into narratives, drawing on Ireland's powerful oral culture, on elements of myth, folklore, ghost stories and romance. The result of this constant reinterpretation is a shifting "Story of Ireland," complete with plot, drama, suspense, and revelation.

Varied, surprising, and funny, the interlinked essays in The Irish Story examine the stories that people tell each other in Ireland and why. Foster provides an unsparing view of the way Irish history is manipulated for political ends and that Irish poverty and oppression is sentimentalized and packaged. He offers incisive readings of writers from Standish O'Grady to Trollope and Bowen; dissects the Irish government's commemoration of the 1798 uprising; and bitingly critiques the memoirs of Gerry Adams and Frank McCourt. Fittingly, as the acclaimed biographer of Yeats, Foster explores the poet's complex understanding of the Irish story — "the mystery play of devils and angels which we call our national history" — and warns of the dangers of turning Ireland into a historical theme park.

The Irish Story will be hailed by some, attacked by others, but for all who care about Irish history and literature, it will be essential reading.

Review:

"Erudite and acerbic." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Foster is a formidably funny and exciting writer, and it is a joy to watch as he charmingly herds each sacred cow to the slaughter." Craig Brown, The Mail on Sunday

Review:

"The outpouring of literature from Ireland has ever been enormous, and nothing seems to stem it, or to reduce the excellence of the best of it. Occasionally, amid that plenitude there emerges a book that startles and provokes to the point of demanding extraordinary attention. Such a book is The Irish Story....I can think of no book that more clearly, provocatively and intelligently delineates the important underlying contemporary truths of Ireland and the Irish than this insightful, courageous and splendid work." Michael Pakenham, Baltimore Sun

Review:

"Interesting, suggestive, mostly urbane, sometimes scathing." Wall Street Journal

Review:

"Roy Foster is one of the most elegant and probing writers on Irish topics and also one of the most controversial. In Ireland itself, where history matters, Foster attracts Cornel West-scale publicity. He's the leading figure in a generation of 'revisionist' historians who have chipped away at what they describe as Irish myths. American readers are about to get a fresh taste of his stiletto pen and icon-smashing habits when his latest book, The Irish Story hits these shores." Chris Shea, Boston Globe

Review:

"This engaging collection of 12 essays challenges what the author calls the penchant of the Irish to use overly simplistic techniques, such as nostalgia and cliche, as a means of understanding their history....Foster's writing, which is lively and unsparing, has already inspired much commentary in the UK and in Ireland." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"A very brave and provocative work that deserves to be read." Irish Post

Review:

"Anyone truly interested in real Irish history can do no better than to read Foster's latest, which could be subtitled 'Corrections in Irish History.' It is both hugely informative and much fun." Library Journal

About the Author

Roy Foster is Professor of History and a Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. He is the author of W. B. Yeats: The Apprentice Mage and Modern Ireland, and is the editor of The Oxford History of Ireland.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780195159028
Subtitle:
Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland
Author:
Foster, Roy
Author:
null, R. F.
Author:
Foster, R. F.
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Location:
Oxford, U.K.
Subject:
Ireland
Subject:
History, World | Irish
Series Volume:
97-12
Publication Date:
20020906
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
6.44 x 9.56 x 1 in 1.36 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » Ireland » General
History and Social Science » World History » Ireland

The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$9.95 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Oxford University Press - English 9780195159028 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Erudite and acerbic."
"Review" by , "Foster is a formidably funny and exciting writer, and it is a joy to watch as he charmingly herds each sacred cow to the slaughter."
"Review" by , "The outpouring of literature from Ireland has ever been enormous, and nothing seems to stem it, or to reduce the excellence of the best of it. Occasionally, amid that plenitude there emerges a book that startles and provokes to the point of demanding extraordinary attention. Such a book is The Irish Story....I can think of no book that more clearly, provocatively and intelligently delineates the important underlying contemporary truths of Ireland and the Irish than this insightful, courageous and splendid work."
"Review" by , "Interesting, suggestive, mostly urbane, sometimes scathing."
"Review" by , "Roy Foster is one of the most elegant and probing writers on Irish topics and also one of the most controversial. In Ireland itself, where history matters, Foster attracts Cornel West-scale publicity. He's the leading figure in a generation of 'revisionist' historians who have chipped away at what they describe as Irish myths. American readers are about to get a fresh taste of his stiletto pen and icon-smashing habits when his latest book, The Irish Story hits these shores."
"Review" by , "This engaging collection of 12 essays challenges what the author calls the penchant of the Irish to use overly simplistic techniques, such as nostalgia and cliche, as a means of understanding their history....Foster's writing, which is lively and unsparing, has already inspired much commentary in the UK and in Ireland."
"Review" by , "A very brave and provocative work that deserves to be read."
"Review" by , "Anyone truly interested in real Irish history can do no better than to read Foster's latest, which could be subtitled 'Corrections in Irish History.' It is both hugely informative and much fun."
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