Irish Literature The Eighteenth Century illustrates not only the impressive achievement of great Irish writers such as Swift, Berkeley, Burke, Goldsmith and Sheridan, it also provides unexpected and entertaining examples from the pens of the less well known.
There are examples of the witty comic dramas so successfully written by Susannah Centlivre, Congreve, Steele, Farquhar and Macklin. There are serious and humorous essayists represented, including Steele, Lord Orrery, Thomas Sheridan and Richard Lovell Edgeworth.
Beginning with Gulliver’s Travels, fiction includes John Amory’s strange imaginings; Sterne’s stream of consciousness; Frances Sheridan’s insights; Henry Brooke’s sentimentalities and Goldsmith’s charm. Poetry ranges from the classical to the innovative. Graceful lyrics, anonymous jeux d’esprit, descriptive pieces, savage satires and personal poems are written by very different poets; among them learned witty women, clergymen and drunken ne’er-do-wells.
Politicians, notably Grattan and Curran, produced eloquent speeches, effective essays and pamphlets accompanying political activity. Personal letters and diaries such as the exuberant Dorothea Herbert’s Recollections convey the changing ethos of this century’s literature, based on the classics and moving to an increasing interest in the translation of Irish literature.
This book conveys fascinating liveliness and rich variety.