Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Irish Short Story Week -My Reading and Experience

My Reading and Experience

"Thanks for stopping by"-
Ruphrect, Rory, and Carmilla

The idea for having on an "Irish Short Story Week" on my blog came to be as an impulse as I saw blogs posts about   St. Patrick's Day     I did not really give it a lot of advance planning but I decided it would might be fun, interesting and informative.   (In a day or two I will do a master post on the posts of other participants in the event and will include links to all posts.    My greatest thanks go out to those who joined in with me.   I will keep the event open for participants for a two more days)

The Short Story maybe a new literary form but its roots are very ancient in the parable, the fable, the folk tale, and the teller of tales.    Ireland has nearly adopted the Short Story as its national literary form.   There are lots of books and such written on how and why this happened.    As I began to research the Irish short story I became more and more amazed by the extreme quality and quantity of the field.   Maybe it began in the late 18th century but it is going strong now in the pages of The New Yorker other places.   Dublin was recently named by UNESCO a city of literature in tribute to the huge number of writers born and from there.    

Day One-The View from Mount Parnassus

Mount Parnassus was where, in ancient Greek mythology, the great  writers and artists of all time can be found.     I posted on stories by James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and William Butler Yeats,  three of the very most important writers of the 20th century.   Joyce's collection of short stories, The Dubliner's,   is the far the most influential Irish (and maybe anywhere) collection of short stories ever published.

Day Two-The 18th Century

Two simple but interesting stories, one by Oliver Goldsmith and an odd story about a young girl by Maria Edgeworth

Day Three-Irish Gothic

I discovered today a new to me writer that I really liked and will read a lot more from,  Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu,  creator of the first lesbian Vampire in literature in Carmilla.   I really like his prose style and the atmosphere he creates.   I also posted on story by Bram Stoker,  author of Dracula.  

Day Four-Wild Irish Lad Day

Frank O'Conner,  Sean O'Faolain, and Liam O'Flaherty appeared on Day Four.    All three fought in the Irish War of Independence,  all are very Irish.   Once you step down from Joyce, these are your most important Irish short story writers.   O'Conner and O'Faolain both wrote still much read books on the nature of the short story.    I really liked all these stories (I read two from each one) and can see myself reading their collected stories later in the year.    I found real wisdom, a love of language and deep culture in their stories.  Before the week began I never read any of  their works.

Day Five-The Future of the Irish Short Story-

No need to worry if the glory days of the Irish Short Story are over.     Writers like Ann Enright,  Edna O'Brien,  and Claire Keegan will make sure of that.   All of these authors were new to me until this week and I will be reading a lot more by them.   In fact I hope to read Ann Enright's Booker Prize Winner, The Gathering, very soon.

Day Six-The New Yorker Day

The New Yorker magazine is by far the most influential publication in the history of the short story and very much so for the Irish Short Story.   Today I posted on short stories that were first published in magazine by William Trevor,   Roddy Doyle, and Maeve Brennan  (who worked for the magazine).  

Day Seven-Elizabeth Bowen

Elizabeth Bowen-I love her short stories.    To me she is just a wonderful person and her picture will be in the side bar of my blog permanently.   I still have four of her short stories to post on and will talk more on her then

Day Eight-Mass Market Best Seller Day

I decided on day seven to extend the week.   I bought in a local mall a collection of short stories by Irish women of short stories written in 2004.   The writer ups on the book, Irish Girls are Back in Town, in and Amazon all say the stories in the book are by "Chick lit" writers.   I do not care for this term but I noticed two of the lead writers in the collection are super best selling authors so I decided to call day eight "best seller day".  

Day Nine-Irish Ghost Stories

There are lots and lots of Irish stories about ghosts.    In a county with as tragic a history of mass deaths as Ireland has this is hardly surprising.   I found  some very well done ghost stories by women writers.

Providence willing,  Irish Short Story Week II will begin on March 11 2012.   I will try to be better informed and better organized next year.   Carmilla,  Rory and Ruphrect will be back!

I have some ideas and theories on why the Irish Short story is such a rich field but I will save them for now.
You could easily do an Irish Short Story year and just  be getting started.   I will be reading and posting on more Irish short stories on a regular basis.

I will do a master post (and  keep it in a page at the top of my  blog) on the posts of participants very soon.

Once again, I thank so much those who joined in.

Mel  u


JoAnn said...

Thanks for hosting this enjoyable week - hope it becomes a tradition!

Suko said...

Mel, I wish I could have posted on my short stories for Irish Short Story Week! I hope this will become an annual event. It is interesting that so many authors are from Ireland.