When you decided to come to Ireland to have a beautiful experience abroad, I am sure one of the first things you did was to check on the map where exactly is the little island which would become your new home very soon. At first sight, indeed, it looks very small, tiny, with only four millions inhabitants. ‘What am I going to do over there?’ maybe you asked yourself. Later, when you arrived, you probably realized how wonderful this land is and how many hidden treasures it has.
Amazing landscapes and wide open green spaces, absorbing history of a hard fought for independence, beautiful music around every corner, wonderful and unique folklore, etc. Furthermore, and in case you didn’t know, this small territory is considered one of the lands with the best writers per square meter. Perhaps, because of its status as an island, Ireland has given life to so many successful writers. Do you know any of them? Check out these five greatest Irish writers!
Jonathan Swift (Dublin, 1667)
Jonathan Swift was an Irish satirist well-known all over the world for his work ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ which is both a satire on human nature and a travel story and is considered a universal classic. However, Swift is also remembered for many other works such as ‘A Tale of a Tub’, ‘An Argument AgainstAbolishing Christianity’ and ‘A Modest Proposal’.
After studying at Trinity College, he became Dean of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin, where he died in 1745.
Bram Stoker (Clontarf, 1847)
Abraham Stoker’s popularity comes from his best known novel ‘Dracula’ but during his lifetime he was the personal assistant to an important actor of the time, Henry Irving, with who he managed the Lyceum Theatre in London. In that period he published his first novel ‘The Primrose Path’ in 1875, and some other novels. His masterpiece ‘Dracula’ was published in 1897 and over the years has become a classic of horror literature.
Oscar Wilde (Dublin, 1854)
Oscar Wilde is one of the most famous literary figures in the world and he was born in Dublin in 1854. Internationally recognized for publishing his popular and only novel ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’, Wilde was also an excellent dramatist and poet. Today, his novel is acclaimed a masterpiece, but in that period it was widely criticized for its lack of morality. The story tells us about the life of the handsome Dorian Grey, who wishes above all else to be young forever while his portrait ages. His wish is granted, and he lives a life of pleasure – many sinful.
However, Oscar Wilde´s primary literary form was playwriting. His first play was ‘Lady Windermere’s Fan’ and over the years he wrote several great plays positively received by the public such as ‘A Woman of No Importance’ and ‘The Importance of Being Earnest’.
James Joyce (Dublin, 1882)
Another of the most important figures in Irish literature is James Joyce. Originally from Dublin, Joyce was a genius and meticulous writer. He’s considered an important representative of Anglo-Saxon modernism, a literature movement which boosts other great writers such as Virginia Woolf and Wallace Stevens. He spent most of his life outside of his homeland but his work repeatedly referenced Dublin’s fair city. His masterpiece: ‘Ulysses’ was published in 1922, a novel based on the ‘Odyssey’ of Homer.
James Joyce is also known for his series of short stories titled ‘Dubliners’, published in 1914, which tells us about the kind of life the Irish middle had at that time.
Samuel Beckett (Dublin, 1906)
Considered one of the most influential writers of the 20th century, Samuel Beckett is famous for his beautiful works which include plays, novels and poems. His texts had a very particular style: fundamentally grim and deeply pessimistic about the human condition.
James Joyce was Samuel Beckett´s principal inspiration and from their meeting in France in 1928, Becket became a devoted student of him. After that, Beckett travelled around Europe, coming across many individuals who would inspire his work until he settled in Paris in 1937.
His first publication was ‘Molloy’, but it achieved very little success. Nonetheless, a few years later he wrote his best known work: the drama ‘Waiting for Godot’, which accumulated more than 400 performances and enjoyed critical praise.
In 1969, after many years of obsessive dedication to his writing, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.