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On an Irish Island
 
 
Author
Robert Kanigel.
Publisher Knopf  
Format hardcover
Product Dimensions 9.5 x 6.5 x 1.15 inches
ISBN 9780307269591
Pages/Publication Date 321/2012
Daedalus Item Code 41010
This item is not available.
Description
The author of the National Book Critics Circle Award and Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist The Man Who Knew Infinity, Robert Kanigel offers this love letter to a vanished way of life in the story of the Great Blasket, a wildly beautiful island off the west coast of Ireland. Renowned in the early 20th century for the rich communal life of its residents and the unadulterated Gaelic that they spoke, it became a magnet for scholars and writers during the Gaelic renaissance—and the scene of a memorable clash of cultures. Kanigel introduces us to playwright John Millington Synge (some of whose characters in The Playboy of the Western World were inspired by his time on the island), as well as Norwegian linguist Carl Marstrander, Celtic studies scholar Marie-Louise Sjoestedt, and George Thomson, a British classicist whose involvement with the island and its people is traced from his first visit as a 20-year-old to the end of his life. Among the islanders we meet Tomás O'Crohan—one of the few who could read and write Gaelic—who tutored many of the incomers in the language's formidable intricacies and became the Blasket's first published writer. Here too are Maurice O'Sullivan, a good-natured prankster and storyteller whose Twenty Years A-Growing became an Irish classic, and Peig Sayers, whose endless repertoire of earthy tales left listeners spellbound.

"It is the interaction of the natives and the visitors that fascinates Kanigel, and he tells the story of the community's last decades through the succession of visitors, beginning with the playwright John Millington Synge.... Affection for the place and its culture is something Kanigel first admires and then comes to share, and he makes his reader envy those tough, resourceful islanders."—Daily Beast

 
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