William Carleton, the Authentic Voice
21.6 x 13.8 cm. l, 455 pp. 2006 Irish Literary Studies series (ISSN 0140-895X) volume 53
The William Carleton Summer School is one of the most important literary festivals on the island in that there are very few that make a point of studying an aspect of Ireland before the Great Famine. William Carleton (1794-1869) is the greatest author to have written about the Irish peasant and the Ireland of the period immediately preceding it: he enables the reader to think back past the Famine into the culture – particularly the peasant culture – of that time, confused, rich, tortured, bilingual, that made him as a writer.
Enjoying immense popularity during his lifetime, his popularity dwindled but a century after his death it began to revive, not least because of the influence of the Summer School. The lectures given at the School and revised for publication in William Carleton, The Authentic Voice provide ample evidence that he was one of the greatest entertainers of Irish literature in English.
This volume also contains contemporary portraits of Carleton, reproduces previously unpublished letters and documents, a chronology, publication history of his writings, provides fine line illustrations by Sam Craig and detailed maps of the countryside he loved and wrote about, so this is an indispensable book for everyone interested in Carleton and pre-Famine Ireland.
Edited by Gordon Brand, the collection contains contributions by Gordon Brand, Terence Brown, Brian Earls, Peter Denman, Owen Dudley Edwards, Marianne Elliott, Thomas Flanagan, Roy Foster, Maurice Harmon, Seamus Heaney, Eamonn Hughes, Jack Johnston, John Kelly, Declan Kiberd, David Krause, Robin Marsh, John Montague, Pat John Rafferty, Sean Skeffington, Barry Sloan, Norman Vance, and Robert Welch.