The ten most read Irish authors [part 1]

(according to The Washington Post and Questia)

In The Washington Post back in March (“just in time for St. Patrick’s Day”, as they put it) one columnist compiled a list of ten names (see below) representing the ten “most read Irish authors”.

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.No, Flann O’Brien was not favoured with a place amongst the Post‘s Top 10, not this year nor any, perhaps. Sweet symmetries of justice, honour and reward had eluded him in the merit of the case. ‘Twas surely ever thus since 1939 when the author’s international literary début was overshadowed by the distractions of the War’s outbreak. Copies of his novel At Swim-Two-Birds lay stacked by the thousands in a London warehouse to await shipping. There was the advance disappointment of mixed reviews (“a general odour of spilt Joyce”, sniffed Sean Ó Faoláin, while Dylan Thomas exclaimed, “This is just the book to give your sister– if she’s a loud, dirty, boozy girl”). That was but a prelude to real disaster : the Luftwaffe flew over London and obliterated the book, bombing both stock and store into oblivion. Daresay there are a good many folk, even now, who imagine “Flann O’Brien” is some unattainable custard served up at the Gresham of a Sunday.

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.Still and all, the Washington Post gave us an excellent list to be going on with, for what it was (a statistically conjured arts feature, and thoughtfully Questia-linked, though Seán O’Casey’s entry has been mislinked) ; yet it is worth remembering some other such great names that might at least qualify in the top one hundred : Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu (CarmillaUncle Silas), James Clarence Mangan (Dark RosaleenPompeii), Charles Maturin (Bertram ; or, The Castle of St. AldobrandMelmoth the Wanderer), Flann O’Brien (At Swim-Two-BirdsThe Third Policeman), Laurence Sterne (Tristram Shandy A Sentimental Journey), Bram Stoker (Dracula The Lair of the White Worm), John Millington Synge (The Playboy of the Western World Riders to the Sea*), William Butler Yeats (The Green Helmet and Other Poems The Celtic Twilight).

As the reader might suspect, that little litany is a packed gallery of peculiar favourites. Others that might well bear mentioning —in no particular order and with many inexcusable omissions, no doubt— are Patrick McGinley (BogmailThe Trick of the Ga Bolga), Roddy Doyle (Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha), Eoin Colfer (Artemis Fowl), Sebastian Barry (The Whereabouts of Eneas McNulty), Geoffrey Squires (Untitled III), Cecil Day-Lewis, Daniel Corkery, Anthony Raftery, John B. Keane (The Field), Walter Macken (Seek the Fair Land),  John Banville (The Book of Evidence), Mervyn Wall, Colm Tóibín, Frank Delaney, Neil Jordan, Micheál Mac Liammóir (Enter A Goldfish), Joseph Plunkett, James Stephens (The Crock of Gold), Oliver St. John Gogarty (As I Was Going Down Sackville Street), Pádraic Colum (The Children’s Homer), Speranza (Oscar Wilde’s mother), Dion Boucicault (The Colleen Bawn — The Octoroon; or, Life in LouisianaThe Corsican Brothers), Seamus Heaney, Patrick Kavanagh, Brendan Behan, Ulick O’Connor (All the Olympians), Conor Cruise O’Brien, Mary Lavin, Edna O’Brien (The Country Girls), Frank O’Connor, Liam O’Flaherty, Sean O’Faolain (or Seán Ó Faoláin, though he was born John Whelan), Hugh Leonard (Da), George Russell (writing as “Æ”), George Moore (A Mummers WifeModern Painting), Denis Johnston, Maeve Binchy, Molly Keane (as “M. J. Farrell”), Edith Somerville with Violet Florence Martin (“Martin Ross”) writing together as “Somerville and Ross”, Charles J. Kickham (Knocknagow), William Carleton (Fardorougha, the Miser), Francis Ledwidge (Songs of the Fields), Lord Dunsany (The King of Elfland’s Daughter) and Richard Brinsley Sheridan (who was Sheridan Le Fanu’s great-uncle).

AND MONK GIBBON !!! (Sorry.)

* set as an opera by Ralph Vaughan Williams in 1927

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Here is a very handy resource to learn of Ireland’s writers, incidentally :
http://www.ricorso.net/rx/az-data/index.htm

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This was the list in the Post :

James Joyce: An Irish novelist and poet, Joyce was one of the most influential writers in the modernist avant-garde of the early 20th century. He is best known for his work Ulysses, in which the events of Homer’s Odyssey are paralleled in a variety of literary styles. [“Dubliners Celebrate James Joyce 100 Years after He Wrote ‘Ulysses’”. Shawn Pogatchnik]
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Oscar Wilde: Wilde may be remembered for his career as a playwright, but the writer’s only novel The Picture of Dorian Gray has become a classic reference in the mainstream media. [“Oscar Wilde Our Contemporary”. Nils Clausson]
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George Bernard Shaw: A playwright, Shaw wrote more than 60 plays throughout his life. He examined social problems such as education, marriage, religion, government, health care and class privilege through his work, incorporating comedy into the stark themes. [George Bernard Shaw: Man of the Century. Archibald Henderson]
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C. S. Lewis: A novelist, poet, academic medievalist, literary critic and essayist, to name a few, Lewis is known for both his fictional and non-fictional pieces. His works have been translated into more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies. [Teaching C. S. Lewis: A Handbook for Professors, Church Leaders, and Lewis Enthusiasts. Ronald Coy]
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Samuel Beckett: Widely regarded as one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Beckett’s works often offered a bleak tragicomic outlook on human nature, usually coupled with dark comedy and gallows humor. [The Critical Response to Samuel Beckett. Cathleen Culotta Andonian]
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Jonathan Swift: Although portions of his work were published under aliases or anonymously, Swift is considered the foremost prose satirist in the English language. In fact, he is known for being a master of two styles of satire; the Horatian and Juvenalian styles. [Jonathan Swift and the Vested Word. Deborah Baker Wyrick]
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Edmund Burke: An Irish statesman, author, orator, political theorist and philosopher, Burke has generally been viewed as the founder of modern conservatism as well as a representative of classic liberalism. [“Edmund Burke and Ireland: Aesthetics, Politics, and the Colonial Sublime.”  Victoria Myers]
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Brian Friel: Hailed by the English-speak[ing] world as “the universally accented voice of Ireland,” Friel’s career as a dramatist has generated classic plays such as “Philadelphia, Here I Come!” and “Dancing at Lughnasa.” [Irish Playwrights, 1880-1995: A Research and Production Sourcebook. Bernice Schrank, William W. Demastes]
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Sean O’Casey: One of the first Irish playwrights to write about the Dublin working class, O’Casey was involved in groups such as the Gaelic League and the Irish Republican Brotherhood to represent the interests of unskilled laborers. [The Voice of Nation[al]ism: One Hundred Years of Irish Theat[re]. Stephen Watt]
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Oliver Goldsmith: An Anglo-Irish writer and poet, Goldsmith is well-known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield as well as numerous poems. He is also thought to be the source of the phrase “goody-two-shoes.” [The Poems of Oliver Goldsmith. Austin Dobson]
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/post/irish-authors-the-10-most-read/2012/03/09/gIQAheLIDS_blog.html

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Not the least of my duties is keeping an eye on the Editor
of this newspaper and rebutting, for the benefit of our simpler
readers, the various heresies propounded in his leading articles.

Brian Ó Nualláin, alias Brian Nolan, alias Flann O’Brien, alias Myles na Gopaleen, alias George Knowall, alias Lir O’Connor, & alii.

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ADDENDA TO MOST READ IRISH AUTHORS :

To the collection of names above we may justifiably add those of Lady Morgan, Lady Gregory, Dominic Behan (Brendan’s brother and biographer), Malachy McCourt, and Terence Alan Patrick Seán “Spike” Milligan. Born in India to an Irish father (a British Army officer from County Sligo) and an English mother (née Kettleband), and then schooled in Burma, Spike Milligan was eventually declared stateless by the British Government, and fondly adopted as a citizen of Ireland. As the author of Puckoon, his first novel (and a shagging panic to read), he definitely earned the status of Irish artiste.

It was a high, crisp, starry night, lovers were locked warmly in their doorways, noiseless was the moon-mad sea. Merrily the five followed the road to Puckoon that streamed silver ahead of them. Goldstein clung to O’Mara, O’Mara to Rafferty, Rafferty to O’Brien and O’Brien on to Milligan and his bike. This inebriated daisy chain stumbled forward. Although the general direction seemed to be forward, a lot of the time was taken in falling backwards and sideways; however, they were gradually making progress in all directions. Flanking the road was the dank dark of the Puckoon Woods. ‘This is just the night for poaching,’ said Rafferty. ‘Come with me.’

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http://www.spikemilliganlegacy.com/citizen4.htm

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