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A History of the Irish Short Story by Heather Ingman

By Heather Ingman

Notwithstanding the quick tale is usually considered as critical to the Irish canon, this 2009 textual content was once the 1st entire examine of the style for a few years. Heather Ingman lines the improvement of the fashionable brief tale in eire from its beginnings within the 19th century to the current day. Her learn analyses the fabric situations surrounding booklet, reading the position of magazines and editors in shaping the shape. Ingman comprises fresh serious pondering at the brief tale, strains overseas connections, and offers a crucial half to Irish women's brief tales. every one bankruptcy concludes with a close research of key tales from the interval mentioned, that includes Joyce, Edna O'Brien and John McGahern, between others. With its accomplished bibliography and biographies of authors, this quantity could be a key paintings of reference for students and scholars either one of Irish fiction and of the fashionable brief tale as a style.

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It may be argued, then, that the urgency of Irish circumstances was directly responsible both for the abandonment of the oral storytelling mode and for the instability surrounding the short narrative form in this period. An examination of the drastic revisions undergone by just one of Carleton’s stories illustrates his uncertainty over the purpose of short fiction. ‘The Landlord and Tenant’, which appeared in April 1831 in the National Magazine with the telling subtitle ‘an authentic story’, concerns Owen M’Carthy, a hard-working and relatively prosperous small farmer reduced to beggary by an indifferent landlord, a corrupt agent and Ireland’s economic depression.

39 For the Banim brothers, as for Hall, fiction was not a reliable enough witness to the increasing poverty and wretchedness of Irish life. In ‘The Stolen Sheep’, subtitled ‘An Irish Sketch’, appearing in The Bit O’ Writing, a collection of tales published in London in 1838 under the pseudonym The nineteenth century 29 ‘The O’Hara Family’, the authenticity of the Banims’ tale has to be bolstered by the claim that it is drawn from life, in this case not from personal observation but from a newspaper account.

Griffin’s gifts for psychological observation are evident in one of his finest tales, ‘The Knight of the Sheep’, published in later editions of ‘ Holland-Tide’ . ‘The Knight of the Sheep’ is a King Lear-type tale of a prosperous Catholic farmer, Bryan Taafe, who divides his property between his two eldest sons but, out of hastiness and ill temper, rejects his youngest son. Though the tale is divided into two chapters, it runs to a mere fourteen pages, is tightly structured and, apart from the opening paragraph where the title ‘Knight of the Sheep’ is explained for the benefit of the English reader, largely avoids intervention by an omniscient narrator.

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