Sources & Founders(cover) Vivian Mercier
Modern Irish Literature:
Sources and Founders

Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994

The following description
is taken from the Clarendon Press blurb.

'Modern Irish Literature: Sources and Founders' marks the culmination of the lifetime interest of the distinguished scholar Vivian Mercier (1919-89) in the influence of Gaelic literature on modern Irish writing. Building on the insights developed in his classic The Irish Comic Tradition, in which he traced the continuity of attitudes and subjects of Irish writers from pre-Christian times to the present. Professor Mercier's focus here is on the research of nineteenth-century scholars which gave rise to the revival of Irish literature in English. Separate chapters analysing the work of writers including Bernard Shaw, Yeats, Synge, Joyce, and Beckett build to provide a fresh and timely picture of Irish literary tradition. Informed by a wealth and diversity of scholarship, and written in a highly accessible style, the book stands as a memorial to the achievement of Vivian Mercier and as an important contribution to the study of Irish literature.

From the Introduction by Declan Kiberd

The reader will find in these essays an unusual blend of old-world protocol and thoroughly contemporary method. In his immense learning, his addiction to the personal digression, his pedantic worry and scrupulous citation of sources, Mercier was a gentleman-scholar of a kind no longer produced, but he put these estimable qualities at the service of an unremittingly modern sensibility. Unlike many other gentlemen scholars who shared his knowledge but perhaps lacked his energy, he wrote extensively, travelled widely, published enthusiastically, and crusaded mightily for new writers, new playwrights, new critics. These essays, devotedly saved, assembled, and annotated by Eilís Dillon, are his testament.

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