Review by Choice Review
According to Moynahan the two major "threads" connecting Anglo-Irish writers are "a sense of conflicted social and personal identity" and "the fascination with the expressive possibilities of a distinctive 'Anglo-Irish' ... idiom." These threads sustain a continuity that began with Maria Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent, continued in the politics of the mid-19th century, and ended with Beckett's Watt. In addition to Edgeworth and Beckett, the author looks at William Carleton, Charles Lever, Charles Maturin, Joseph LeFanu, George Moore, Somerville and Ross, and W.B. Yeats. He analyzes the major work of each writer and also includes several chapters that discuss religious and political issues vital to Anglo-Irish life and writing ("Declensions of Anglo-Irish History," "The Politics of Anglo-Irish Gothic," "History Again: The Era of Parnell-Myth and Realities"). Because Moynahan offers more provocative theses and more detailed analyses and evaluations of crucial works in a clear and sometimes witty style, his study carries the subject deeper and further than Roger McHugh and Maurice Harmon's Short History of Anglo-Irish Literature from Its Origins to the Present Day (CH, Feb'83). A valuable advance in the scholarship of this vital area. Upper-division undergraduate and above. F. L. Ryan; Stonehill College
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