Irish Story: Telling Tales And Making It Up In Ireland

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9780140296853: Irish Story: Telling Tales And Making It Up In Ireland

R.F. Foster's The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it Up in Ireland examines how key events in Irish history have been recast and retold to serve a multiplicity of purposes. In this provocative and extremely funny book Roy Foster demolishes the clichés that surround Ireland's past, examining how key moments have been turned into myths - and, more recently, airbrushed and repackaged for Hollywood and popular culture. Whether discussing the 'misery tourism' of Famine theme parks, ideas of mystical Celticism, the contested 'Irishness' of Yeats or the sentimentalized childhoods of Angela's Ashes and Gerry Adams's memoir, The Irish Story brilliantly separates the tall tales from the truth. 'Brilliantly scathing ... combative, incisive and immensely enjoyable'
  Fintan O'Toole, Irish Times 'Inspirational ... challenging, illuminating and witty'
  Antonia Fraser, Irish Times Books of the Year 'Very funny ... the Irish story has rarely received so lively and unbiased an unfolding'
  Patricia Craig, Independent 'A complex and supremely intelligent revision of Irish identity'
  Colm Tóibín, Independent Books of the Year 'Blazingly good ... lucid and elegant'
  John Lloyd, Financial Times R. F. Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford. His books include Modern Ireland: 1600-1972, Luck and the Irish and W. B. Yeats: A Life.

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About the Author:

R.F. Foster is Carroll Professor of Irish History at Oxford University. His books include MODERN IRELAND 1600-1972 and the first volume of W.B. YEATS: A LIFE. In 2000 he was a Booker Prize judge. THE IRISH STORY was shortlisted for the 2001 Orwell Prize.

From Library Journal:

Irish historian Foster (history, Hertford Coll., Oxford; W.B. Yeats: The Apprentice Mage) hits the mark again with his latest iconoclastic look at the institutionalized myth that has become Irish history. In these linked essays, Foster addresses the Celtic lore that many mistake for fact-a situation that makes him frankly and playfully scornful. The subtitle says it all. Although Foster is a respected academician and historian, he is quite hated by the revisionists, who like Ireland's story all green, misty, and folkloric. Foster takes these naysayers on in sprightly fashion, insisting that the nostalgia-tourism marketing forces have overtaken the reality of Ireland's history. To wit: his chapter "Selling Irish Childhoods" offers Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes as an example of sentimentalized falderal. These fictions, he argues, have brought tourists to Limerick, Eire, and elsewhere, where they view the gritty venues and then feel good about going back to America, where all is golden and well. Anyone truly interested in real Irish history can do no better than to read Foster's latest, which could be subtitled "Corrections in Irish History." It is both hugely informative and much fun.
Gail Benjafield, St. Catharines P.L., Ont.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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