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

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

William Carleton-Two Short Stories by Leading 19th Century Irish Author

'Shane Fadh's Wedding"  (12 pages, 1840)
"The Rival Kempers" (6 pages, 1842)

Irish Short Story Week I

I read over the last couple of days two more of his stories.   I just want to spot light them briefly and provide links where they can be read.   Both of the stories have one big thing in comment-they celebrate story tellers.   From  them we can see the huge import story telling had in Ireland in the first half of the 19th century, especially in a partially literate society.   The stories are also about laughing past the grave yard and  surviving terrible hardship through solidarity.   My comments will be brief.

"Shane Fadh's Wedding" is very much about story telling.  In it Shane is challenged by his friends to tell the story of the wild events associated with his wedding.   Carleton does narrate this story, and others, by introducing briefly a character at the start  of the story and then having this person tell the story.

You can read these two stories (and more) HERE

There seems to be a lot of arguing and near fighting about who has the "bragging rights" for lots of things in the world of the Irish Short Story.   In "The Rival Kempers" we see a friendly competition between unmarried young female weavers.   Big social events where also important for young people looking for a marriage partner.   A young woman that was a good weaver was probably also going to be good at a lot of domestic tasks and a great candidate for marriage.  Here is a good sample of Carleton's prose style:

"In the north of Ireland there are spinning meetings of unmarried females frequently held at the houses of farmers, called kemps. Every young woman who has got the reputation of being a quick and expert spinner attends where the kemp is to be held, at an hour usually before daylight, and on these occasions she is accompanied by her sweetheart or some male relative, who carries her wheel, and conducts her safely across the fields or along the road, as the case may be. A kemp is, indeed, an animated and joyous scene, and one, besides, which is calculated to promote industry and decent pride. "

Mel u

1 comment:

Suko said...

How interesting that the stories you mention celebrate story tellers! I think you would be the ideal student for this short story event in Ireland (for obvious reasons).