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The Midnight Court

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  55 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
Originally written in the Irish language by the 18th-century poet Brian Merriman (circa 1745–1805), The Midnight Court is here translated by one of Ireland’s distinguished contemporary poets, Ciaran Carson. This extended satiric poem assesses the growing economic, political, and familial constraints of late 18th-century Catholic Ireland under British colonial rule, while s ...more
Paperback, 63 pages
Published March 1st 2006 by Wake Forest University Press (first published January 1st 1975)
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Jul 16, 2015 Tom rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry, irish-lit
As others have already said, a very witty, bawdy, entertaining read, one that can be enjoyed on that level alone. But to fully appreciate the social and literary significance of the poem, I'd recommend some background reading, in particular a Declan Kiberd essay in Irish Classics. DK argues that M. was parodying conventions of the traditional "aisling" ("vision") poem in Gaelic literature, and in the process promoting the vernacular in Irish language: "What critics once counted as a weakness may ...more
Sep 30, 2010 Bruce rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This witty, rollicking, and ribald poem was written in 1780 by Brian Merriman, a resident of County Clare, Ireland. Little is known about the poet. The poem is a variant of the aisling, a literary genre in which a poet typically wanders into the wild and meets a fairy woman identified with Ireland who predicts the return of the rightful Irish king. In this poem, however, the fairy is ugly and threatening, dragging the author off to a court where the issue of Irish under-population is being tried ...more
Mar 04, 2016 Ellen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fairies, poetry, ireland
This poem reminds me a bit of Keats' "La Belle Dame Sans Merci" - by that, I mean it's more like a satire version of the Keats poem, with added social commentary. I especially enjoyed reading the varied translations, each with their own rhythm, rhymes, and overall feeling.
Delia O' Riordan
Apr 12, 2014 Delia O' Riordan rated it it was amazing
Ribald - and/or scatalogical - poetry are not my idea of literature though both were produced by a writer I admire, Jonathan Swift. The world of publishing was a very different one in the 1700 and 1800s and ribald humour was more openly indulged than is generally the case today. The value of The Midnight Court is primarily as an artifact of the age rather than as literature. It is, in its way, a social document that pulls back the Irish lace curtain revealing the lust and hypocrisy of the privil ...more
Feb 02, 2011 D rated it it was ok
Clever, amusing, and a wonderful translation--especially given Carson's setting in a nursery-rhyme-like rhythm--but just not my cup of tea. Definitely recommended for those with an interest in poetry or Irish literature, though.
Nicole Kapise-Perkins
For the time it was written (1780) this ballad-style poem was probably the cheekiest, funniest thing around. By today's standards, I'll give it points for excellent rhyming, but that's about it.
Paul Gibbons
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Jan 24, 2016
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Katie Biggs
Katie Biggs rated it liked it
May 15, 2013
Feb 20, 2012 NaomiRuth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: af, old-classic
Eh... It was odd. I'm glad I read it. But it was strange. But good. But strange.
Ocianain rated it it was amazing
Jan 03, 2016
Albertjan rated it really liked it
Sep 12, 2015
Stella rated it it was ok
Jan 04, 2014
Syracuse University Press
Syracuse University Press rated it it was amazing
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Dec 19, 2014
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Dec 19, 2007
Apr 07, 2016 Eden rated it really liked it
Some good bawdy and dry Irish humor. Fun poem!
Tim O'Toole
Tim O'Toole rated it really liked it
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