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Inventing Ireland

4.27  ·  Rating Details ·  133 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews
Just as Ireland has produced many brilliant writers in the past century, so these writers have produced a new Ireland. In a book unprecedented in its scope and approach, Declan Kiberd offers a vivid account of the personalities and texts, English and Irish alike, that reinvented the country after centuries of colonialism. The result is a major literary history of modern Ir ...more
Paperback, 736 pages
Published April 25th 1997 by Harvard University Press (first published November 2nd 1995)
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Kate Cudahy
Mar 13, 2014 Kate Cudahy rated it it was amazing
First of all, I should say that Declan Kiberd is something of a hero of literary criticism for me. I can't quite put my finger on what it is about his work - but I suspect it has something to do with the witty erudition of his prose style. At times compassionate, at times irreverent, he's never afraid to take the road less travelled when it comes to interpretations of Irish writers. And this, I believe, has sometimes brought him into direct conflict with other critics - most notably, I recall, w ...more
Raymond Keogh
Aug 15, 2016 Raymond Keogh rated it liked it
A re-read:

I have learnt a lot from the work of Kiberd and admire much of what he has written. However, in his complex review of how independent Ireland was invented I find a major blind-spot when he deals with the indigenous middle-class. His stance is not unique and has played a part in sidelining the urban native middle-class. The lack of historical analysis by the academic world has allowed Kiberd to treat the class as a caricature.

A hostile attitude bubbles to the surface every time the ind
Jul 11, 2012 James rated it it was amazing
Recommended on a memorable evening in a pub in County Cork, thanks Cahel, this is the kind of book makes me forget all my good intentions of not giving too many five-star ratings.

The Irish literary tradition not having been a particular interest, I knew some of the authors Kiberd marshalls into his history of imaginary Ireland pretty well, but most sketchily or not at all. Kiberd has the gift, though, of writing interestingly about books I strongly suspect I would find tedious themselves, and o
Mar 04, 2016 Gill marked it as unfinished
What a pain. There are a lot of quality issues with the ebook version of this one. So I've had to return it for a refund. It obviously was not meant to be!
Don Ramage
I think I read this one ages ago.....
Sep 17, 2008 Barry rated it really liked it
Professor Kiberd gives a great analysis of the creation of an Irish identity in Literature. From a nation that was occupied by the British, forced to learn their language and forced to follow their rules to an independent Ireland that has created some of the greatest writers in the English language, Kiberd shows the path and makes it intensely interesting.
Aug 24, 2007 Kate rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Academics, 20th Century Irish Literature
Interesting, and Kiberd is definitely high up on the list of those to read in Irish Lit Crit. Might I suggest Moynagh Sullivan's PhD Thesis which argues that there is a paternal oedipal complex to be found in Kiberd's writing... also an interesting read.
Though this book has an obvious agenda (what book doesn't?), *Inventing Ireland* is the most exhaustive yet readable work of criticism on Irish literature that I've come across. I especially recommend it to anyone with postcolonial "tendencies."
Feb 07, 2008 Hilary is currently reading it
It's about damn time I read this. Worth reading, if not for the introduction alone.
Oct 23, 2007 Celi rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
I have wanted to write this book for three years now. Kiberd beat me to it.
Jun 19, 2009 Anna rated it really liked it
challenging but gives a great insight into the Irish literary scene.
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Declan Kiberd is a professor of Anglo-Irish literature at the University College Dublin and the author of Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation, which won the Irish Times Prize, and of Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce's Masterpiece. He lives in Dublin.
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