Derek Hand's A History of the Irish Novel is a major work of criticism on some of the greatest and most globally recognisable writers of the novel form. Writers such as Laurence Sterne, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett and John McGahern have demonstrated the extraordinary intellectual range, thematic complexity and stylistic innovation of Irish fiction. Derek Hand provides a remarkably detailed picture of the Irish novel's emergence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He shows the story of the genre is the story of Ireland's troubled relationship to modernisation. The first critical synthesis of the Irish novel from the seventeenth century to the present day, this is a major book for the field, and the first to thematically, theoretically and contextually chart its development. It is an essential, entertaining and highly original guide to the history of the Irish novel.
Derek Hand is a lecturer in English at St Patrick's College, Drumcondra.
Introduction: a history of the Irish novel: 1665-2010; Interchapter: Virtue Rewarded, or, The Irish Princess: burgeoning silence and the new novel form in Ireland; 1. Beginnings and endings: writing from the margins 1665-1800; Interchapter: beyond history: Maria Edgeworth's Castle Rackrent; 2. Speak not my name or, the wings of Minerva: Irish fiction 1800-1891; Interchapter: Edith Somerville and Martin Ross's The Real Charlotte: the blooming menagerie; 3. Living in a time of epic: the Irish novel and literary revival and revolution, 1891-1922; Interchapter: James Joyce's Ulysses: choosing life; 4. Irish independence and the bureaucratic imagination: 1922-1939; Interchapter: Elizabeth Bowen's The Last September and the art of betrayal; 5. Enervated island - isolated Ireland? 1940-1960; Interchapter: John Banville's Doctor Copernicus: a revolution in the head; 6. The struggle of making it new 1960-1979; Interchapter: Seamus Deane's Reading in the Dark and the rebel act of interpretation; 7. Brave new worlds - Celtic tigers and moving statues: 1979 to the present day; Interchapter: John McGahern's That They May Face the Rising Sun: saying the very last things; Conclusion: the future of the Irish novel in the global literary marketplace; Bibliography.