Regular price: £39.39

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free
  • 1 credit/month after trial – choose any book, any price
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel
  • Free, unlimited access to Audio Shows
  • After your trial, Audible is just £7.99/month
OR
In Basket

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

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    22
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    21
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    3
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    33
  • 4 Stars
    17
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1
Sort by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Overview of series

Most enjoyable series of lectures, well researched and well presented. History and culture/literature are well integrated and the lectures are well paced and interesting.
The lectures are somewhat spoiled by the many mispronounciations,, notably Ireland ( 2 syllables) being called I er land ( 3 syllables), and one of Ireland’s greatest heroes Padraig Pearse, always referred to as Padraig Persse. There are numerous others. Still most enjoyable and well wort listening to!


  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Ahhhhh....

Content is good but the pronunciation is horrific. Don’t get if this would annoy you

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Would recommend

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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent book.

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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

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.

Sort by:
  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • 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!

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
  • 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.

24 of 28 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • 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

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kimball Smith
  • 24-08-18

Marc C. Connor

Marc C. Connor is a superb lecturer, offering impressive scope, compelling detail, and passionate enthusiasm for his subject. His students are very fortunate recipients of his excellence. Listening to him was was such a pleasure I can imagine revisiting these very lectures again. Bravo!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tricia
  • 13-08-18

Great content, bad pronunciation

The content relayed is accurate and historically accurate. However, in what I’m assuming is an attempt to speak clearly, the speaker mispronounced names of most ancient gods and famous tales For example, “Lug” is was pronounced “Luke”, when it should have been pronounced like the name “Lou”.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Tommy D'Angelo
  • 15-07-18

A Masterpiece from Professor Connor

I can't say enough god things about this course. I have been known to be a notoriously tough reviewer but I honestly struggled mightily to identify any kinds of flaws in this masterfully produced course. Perhaps the only minus is the lack of Irish history narrative from 1940's to the present (especially the resolution of the struggles between the Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland) even if in summation for completeness sake (the political narrative seemed to end in the 1930’s). But this was not the focus of the Irish Identity/Renaissance of the late 1800's and early 1900's.

I've taken one other course with Professor Connor: "How to Read and Understand Shakespeare". And while I thought that was an excellently produced work, this course was just as brilliant and has elevated the professor in my pantheon of favorite instructors which includes Professors Elizabeth Vandiver, Gary Gallagher, and Jennifer Paxton.

I will admit I am much more interested in history than literature and I had some reservations purchasing this course because I knew it would be difficult for anyone to hold my attention through lectures on literature. But I bought it thinking at least I will retain 10 or so lectures on history and just "get through" the literature lectures as a necessary evil. While he knocked the ball out of the park on providing excellent narration of historical events surrounding Ireland from its first inhabitants in the Stone Age to independence in the 1930’s, I was amazed that his lectures on literature also kept me enraptured. He really knows how to capture the human condition.

This course focuses on the Irish Renaissance (the formation of the Irish identity in the late 19th and early 20th century). Its main theme is how Irish literature is inexorably tied up with politics and the search for independence from their English overloads. The historical narrative included (but was not limited to):
o The first inhabitants
o The Celtic people
o Christian missionaries/monasteries
o The Vikings
o England's dominion of the island/union
o The great famine
o The home rule debate
o The Dublin Lockout
o World War I
o The Easter Rising of 1916
o The War of Independence
o The Civil War

Another theme the professor does a good job of positing is the connection between the poets and the land of Ireland itself as if the history and culture is embedded in the soil itself.

For those of you interested in the breakdown: lectures 1-6, 18-19, 23-24, and 35 have a good mix of historical narrative and literature/poetry. The remaining lectures were strictly literature discussions.

Professor Connor has a great voice for lecturing. He has great command when presenting and communicates in a clear and easy to understand style but provides enough detail and color to draw you in to the narrative. He describes the atmosphere of certain events in such a way that makes you feel like you were there yourself. He superbly painted a picture of the land of Ireland and what the Irish identity truly entails.

Even the music that accompanied the intro and endings of the lectures was pleasant and soothing and seemed to fit the general theme of the course: optimism around the preservation of the Irish identity with a hint of sorrow reflecting the struggles and often heartbreaking history of the Irish under British rule. Does anyone know if there is a longer version for purchase anywhere??

It goes without saying that I would highly recommend this course to anyone with even a flicker of interest in history or literature. In fact even if you don't I would suggest it just so you could listen to how a great professor presents and teaches. Textbook stuff.

Please, please, please sign up Professor Connor for another course (hopefully on Shakespeare). And then a second. And third. And...

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Alessandra M. Parachini
  • 14-07-18

Wonderful

This course has opened my eyes to Ireland as a whole and helped me understand its amazing literary tradition. Joyce seems more accessible to me now.