Dia Duit and cead míle fálite!! I'm Heather, and I have a passion for Irish literature. Most people know of Yeats, Joyce, Shaw, Wilde, and maybe even Swift. But Irish literature has been on the forefront of good literature for hundreds of years, with a plethora of amazingly wonderful authors that have become far too obscure in my opinion. Hence, the creation of this group….a place where we can talk about everything that has to do with Irish Literature. Whether it be the famous writers, or those who have been forgotten. If you have a love for Irish literature, this is the place for you!
For me, Goldsmith is up there with the best. Rarely spoken of these days - if I were a cynic I'd cite elitism ..... and of course the fact that he wrote easily understood verse.
You're absolutely right that Goldsmith isn't spoken of nearly as much any more, and it is a shame. I have to wonder if much of this has to do with the popularity of other authors, such as Wilde, Joyce, Yeats, Synge, etc. Whenever anyone finds out that I'm into Irish literature, these are the first authors that I am greeted with when they ask if I've read such and such a poem or book.
The sad thing is that there are quite a few Irish authors that have been almost forgotten entirely as the years wore on. People such as Lady Morgan, Thomas Dermody, Austin Clarke....they are all very little known. Even Patrick Kavanagh isn't someone that literary scholars know about, which surprises me.
IN 1923 William Butler Yeats was the first Irish man to be awarded a Nobel prize - and that was, of course, for Literature. Another Irish Laureate in the same category was George Bernard Shaw (1925) - the only person to have been awarded a Nobel Prize in Literature and an Academy Award (1938) for his work on the film Pygmalion - based on his play of the same name. These were followed by Samuel Beckett (1969) and Seamus Heaney (1995) and all in all you could say, given the achievement of these four in the field of Literature, the size of the country and English being our second language (haha!) we punch way above our weight!
By the way, the much-loved Irish classic At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O'Brien has always been a great favourite of mine and decades-long attempts to film it have, unfortunately, come to naught so far.