Irish Short Fiction: A Saint Patrick’s Day Review

| By Eric Bargeron, Layman Poupard Publishing |

This Saint Patrick’s day, readers of Literature Criticism Online can distinguish themselves from the masses by eschewing green beer and shamrock kitsch, and contemplating instead the many contributions of Ireland to the world of literature. As critic Terence Brown notes in Short Story Criticism, volume 226, “it is scarcely a disputable fact of literary history that Irish prose fiction writers have been drawn to the short story form and have indeed excelled in it.” That volume, which is devoted entirely to Irish writers, includes a lengthy entry on James Joyce. His stories, all of which are contained in the collection Dubliners, are widely considered to be among the best in the English language. Joyce himself was fairly convinced of the importance of the book, even before its publication, as Morris Beja writes in his essay “One Good Look at Themselves”:

During their dispute over the problems in bringing out an edition of Dubliners, James Joyce wrote the publisher Grant Richards that ‘I seriously believe that you will retard the course of civilization in Ireland by preventing the Irish people from having one good look at themselves in my nicely polished looking-glass.’

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A Literary Un-Valentine’s Day

Every Valentine’s Day we are bombarded with idealized images of true love and passion, and for the unlucky in love, the holiday can be difficult to stomach. In the spirit of demonstrating that matters could be worse, we offer two literary anti-love-scenes, taken from the digital pages of Literature Criticism Online. Consider the plight of … Read more