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Summary

Many political and cultural events sent shock waves through the Irish world in the 19th and early 20th centuries as Ireland gradually shook off the shackles of British rule. Alongside a long and painful political process arose one of the greatest flourishings of literature in modern times - a spirited discourse among those who sought to shape their nation's future, finding the significance of their bloody present intimately entwined with their legendary past. As nationalists including Charles Stewart Parnell, Patrick Pearse, and Michael Collins studied their political situation and sought a road to independence, writers such as W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, J. M. Synge, Lady Gregory, and many others examined the emerging Irish identity and captured the spirit of the nation's ongoing history in their works.

Delve into this remarkable period with The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature. After laying the groundwork of ancient Irish history and centuries of British rule - from the Norman invasion in the 12th century through the brutal Penal Laws and the Great Famine - Professor Conner brings you inside the Irish Renaissance, also called the Irish Revival. Around the turn of the 20th century, a group of writers began taking a keen interest in the uniquely Irish culture, from its language to its art to its mythology. This fascination fed into the growing demand for Irish nationhood, and the arts, culture, and politics of the time are inextricable.

The Irish Renaissance fused and elevated aesthetic and civic ambitions, fueling a cultural climate of masterful artistic creation and resolute political self-determination reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance. Over the course of 36 enthralling lectures, Professor Conner reveals the multifaceted story of the Irish Renaissance through an exploration of its complex history and remarkable literature.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

©2016 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2016 The Great Courses

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Well.

I have found the book to be very interesting. I am Irish so have learned a lot of the history and literature in school which provided me a better foundation to follow along in the listening but I wouldn't say it was necessary. I really like how the author ties in art and culture in order to explain the political processes because it is an extremely accurate depiction and still quite relevant today.

My only real negatives are:
1. There is a lot of repetition. He mentions some points 3 or 4 times. It's only a sentence or two that gets repeated, but I picked up on it immediately even though I listened to the book over several weeks.
2. Sometimes the audio would jump or skip back for a few seconds- less than 5 but still annoying.
3. The narrator's pronunciation; it killed me. I'm sure it wouldn't bother non-Irish but it grated on me every time he would say O'Mahony or Pearce or Dail Eireann and absolutely massacre them. Weirdly enough there is a part where he reads out a short poem in Irish and the was pronounced properly so I'm not sure why he was not able to properly pronounce places and people.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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In depth, incisive & invaluable account of Ireland's story

I thoroughly enjoyed this audio book. It is well written & well read. The series of lectures seemed to flow naturally from the story of Ireland's earliest inhabitants to the huge influence of Seamus Heaney. The listener is guided backwards & forwards through the material in an entertaining & informative way. I highly recommend this fascinating & balanced overview of Irish Identity. I have walked, driven & exercised my way through five thousand years of my country's history in the company of a master teacher. Mo mhíle buíochas Marc c. Conner. Réamonn Ó Ciaráin - Ard Mhacha.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Intelligent and engaging

Refreshing perspective on all things Irish. Succinct and illuminating. I liked the authors intent and delivery and could easily forgive his occasionally dodgy pronunciation. Very much enjoyed. Thanks!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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excellent book. the topics explained clearly and always gives the historic context of each poem and book

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The Irish Identity

Anyone with a smattering of interest in the complex and often tragic history of Ireland will benefit from this series of lectures. Interspersed with poetry and the Gaelic language delivered without prejudice from an author who clearly understands his subject, a small island on the very edge of western Europe the Irish Identity is full of sorrow and towering culture which can never be denied.

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Sycophantic

I was really disappointed by this, perhaps the first of the Great Courses I have been. The run through of Irish history was so unbalanced and lacking in any attempt to provide context or an opposing view that it falls far short of the usual standard.

The Irish heros of old, and literary greats are all perfect, their adversaries are all as bad as can be. During the famine the English are all simply evil. There is no consideration if laissez faire norms of the time could in part explain, if not justify the lack of response; or that though slow to start, the relief when it did come was unprecedented in scale for that point in history. The other great courses on the industrial revolution covers this with far more nuance.

Although probably more a course on Irish literature than history, in the end I gave up on the book without finishing as it was just frustrating me.

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Would recommend

Great overview of key events and figures in Irish history. Particular focus on the key literary figures.

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Excellent book.

Loved this book ,it was really easy to listen to. Great detailed history from the beginning .

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Well worth a listen.

What made the experience of listening to The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature the most enjoyable?

Prof. Marc C Conner clearly loves the subject. His quotations are beautifully read and truly inspiring. For such a long audio book, it is extremely engaging and entertaining.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Irish Identity: Independence, History, and Literature?

His lectures on the Celtic Renaissance are masterly and inspired.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Nothing so extreme, but for anyone interested in the arts, this is an absolute gem.

Any additional comments?

Conner's politics can seem naive and myopic. You will get a very one sided, Nationalistic view of the history of Ireland with a laziness to the use of 'Normans', 'English' or 'British' depending on the shock factor needed. The lectures offer a very simple view of Irish history suitable for young people but such brevity colours the truth. Also his pronunciation in English is off quite often even though his Irish is excellent. However, as a series of lectures on the Arts, this cannot be beaten, truly excellent.

I will definitely listen to these lectures several times over.

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moving

I really enjoyed these lectures,I think I'll delve into the world of Irish literature a lot more,was moved to tears several times throughout. long live Ireland.

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  • ELG
  • 13-11-16

Need to recommend a prerequisite

If one was familiar with all the writings of all the Irish authors perhaps one might have understood what he was talking about. Was like being at a party where all they did was name drop. Yes I would like to learn more about my Irish roots but most of this was awful unless you know the writings of the authors he is talking about. Not a history, more a fan club. Disappointed , couldn't finish after several tries.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Tracie Smith
  • 08-09-16

Entertaining and educational... Especially for literature buffs

The narrative of the first few lectures was a little hard to follow, but after that this course was very entertaining, educational and interesting. I gained a strong appreciation for Irish literature and history and their role in shaping the national identity. After having traveled trough the country, this was a very rewarding course.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Dana Payne
  • 23-08-16

More Literature with a little history thrown in.

This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you're a fan of Irish "Renaissance" literature and academic literary analysis this is for you. It focuses mostly on a small group of writers that seem to have created said renaissance with special attention paid to James Joyce.

What could The Great Courses have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

I would have preferred the history of the independence movement and the average Irish citizen to have taken a larger role in the lectures. Instead they were occasional seasoning next to a group of writers that the professor stresses were not like the average Irishman at all. I was expecting more actual history and connections between the literature and the actual independence movement given the description. While the professor does try to connect them it doesn't work. We're given academic and disconnected analysis of pretentious writing not a real look at Irish Identity.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Mr. Tim Skirvin
  • 30-12-16

Please lose the background music

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

This course was interesting enough, though I was expecting a much greater focus on history rather than literature. Still, the thing that really annoyed me was the occasional foray into background music - ~20-30 second clips of background material played under the main narration. I find this distracting and tedious, and it takes away from the overall experience. I would really like it if the Teaching Company would stop doing this!

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew
  • 29-12-16

Too heavy on literature

I was looking for more of a history lesson, over 50% reviewing Irish literature which to be honest was not as interesting as the lecturer made out.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon04
  • 16-10-16

Terrific!

A wonderful blend of Irish history, literature, theater, politics and the people who lived through it all. Professor Conner is an excellent narrator and I was sorry when it came to an end! I enjoyed his Shakespeare course, too. More, Please!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-03-18

Before I travel to Ireland

In anticipation and preparation for my journey to Ireland , I selected this course. The lecturer provides a memorable experience of the history and literature of Ireland. My upcoming trip will have so much more meaning. I’ll see this place differently with insights as benefit of this course. I highly recommend this course to anyone who wants to understand this great people, their struggles and this land, and their literature.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 30-01-18

The Irish

Terrific way of understanding the
Irish love of place and deep dedication to family and country.

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  • Judy Lindsey
  • 26-01-18

Irish history comes alive

The narrator made this story come alive, his history lesson was exciting. loved listening to it.

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  • Anthony Englert
  • 30-11-17

Much more a literature class than a history class

This is an excellent course, however it should be noted that this is much more a course on Irish literature than on Irish history. The instructor is well-versed in Irish literature and goes into great detail in explaining how the culture effected the authors. This may be the first time I can say I have at least a small grasp of understanding James Joyce