Wednesday, 25 July 2012

On an Irish Island

Finished July 24
On an Irish Island by Robert Kanigel

This book looks at the legacy of the Blaskets, islands in the north west of Ireland. As the Irish language was vanishing throughout Ireland, these islands drew scholars and writers to them. A pocket where Irish was still the language spoken daily, this area drew a variety of visitors that elevated the islands both nationally and internationally. From J.M. Synge, the playwright to Carl Marstrander, a Norwegian linguist, the area drew both writers and scholars of the Irish language.
Some of these visitors encourage the local inhabitants to write of their lives as well, creating a body of work about their lives that is still studied.
I hadn't been aware of the role this area played in Irish nationalism, language, and literature. Part of their legacy is the language that is still spoken and studied today, but the Blaskets also represented a dying way of life with the move from rural to urban, the growth of modern conveniences, and the decline of community.
A very interesting study that provides many insights.

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