General Blatherings on Irish Litersture and other Matters.
For the last four years I have dedicated much of my March posting to the Irish Short Story. Through this I was lead to read many great works and meet a lot of wonderful people. Thís year I am just devoting a few days to the Irish Short Story. It is not from lack of love for Irish literature. In any international literary shootout The Reading Life stands with the Irish. This year I am devoting a lot of time to classical European works trying to increase the depth and width of my reading. I want to read a few stories around Saint Patrick's Day to keep growing in my reading of the Irish short story and to show respect. It is my strong belief that understanding with any depth the literature of one country requires you have a basis for comparison through diverse reading and study. In the past I have generalized about what I saw in the 100s of Irish literary works I have read and I do not see how one can do that without at least a bit of Multiculturalsm. Reading Indian and Filipino short stories has made me a better reader, I hope, of Irish literature. Last year in the company of Max u, I made my first visit to Ireland. I admit to being very moved to be in Dublin, to see the grave of William Butler Yeats, met some great writers and eat way to much awesome food!
I have done Q and A sessions with nearly 100 Irish writers and I hope to do many more. If anything is of lasting value on The Reading Life it is the Q and A sessions.
For my first Irish short story for this year's observation I read a very beautifully done story with just exquiste prose by Daniel Corkery, "The Ploughing of Leaca-Na-Naomh".
Daniel Corkery (1878 to 1964-Cork, Ireland) was a teacher at several schools. At the close of his career he was Professor of English at University College Cork where Frank O'Connor and Sean O'Faolain were among his students. He was active in the Irish language revival movement. He was also a playwright, wrote a novel, and some cultural works but he is mostly read now for the short stories he wrote about the lives of people in Cork. He published several collections of short stories in his life. I have previously read and posted on two of his stories, "The Priest" and "The Awaking", both, as is this story, included in his collection, A Munster Twilighf".
The "Ploughing of Leaca-Na-Naomh" is narrated by a calaoguer of Irish heritage. He has gone on a visit to a rural homestead in a Irish speaking area, trying to meet the head of a family of very ancient lineage. A Leaca is a flat stretch of land on a mountain, in Irish tradition a Leaca was a holy place, to be treated with respect and veneration. The story turns on the tragic events that transpired when the landowner and family scion decided he would plough the Leaca. I want to quote the opening paragraph as it shows the poetic beauty of Corkery's prose.
The story brings to life many old Irish folkways. It is very much worth reading.
Happy Saint Patrick's Day from Ruprect, Rory and Carmela