Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, a student-specific research tool has ranked the 10 most-read Irish authors.
Online research firm Questia compiled
the list based on the use of the authors’ books in a series of
libraries. The list includes a variety of literary types from a diverse
range of time periods. Poets, playwrights and prose writers are all
So don a fisherman’s sweater, fire up some corned beef and consider exploring one or more of these Irish authors in class:
10 - Oliver Goldsmith: An Anglo-Irish writer and poet, Goldsmith is well-known for his novel The Vicar of Wakefield as well as numerous poems. He is also thought to be the source of the phrase “goody two-shoes.”
9 - Sean O’Casey: One of the first Irish playwrights
to write about the Dublin working class, O’Casey was involved in groups
such as the Gaelic League and the Irish Republican Brotherhood which
represented the interests of unskilled laborers.
8 - Brian Friel: Hailed by the English-speaking world
as “the universally accented voice of Ireland,” Friel’s career as a
dramatist has generated classic plays such as “Philadelphia, Here I
Come!” and “Dancing at Lughnasa.”
7 - Edmund Burke: An Irish statesman, author, orator,
political theorist and philosopher, Burke has generally been viewed as
the founder of modern conservatism as well as a representative of
6 - Jonathan Swift: Although portions of his work
were published under aliases or anonymously, Swift is considered the
foremost prose satirist in the English language. In fact, he is known
for being a master of two styles of satire—Horatian and Juvenalian.
5 - Samuel Beckett: Widely regarded as one of the
most influential writers of the 20th century, Beckett’s works often
offered a bleak tragicomic outlook on human nature, coupled with gallows
4 - C.S. Lewis: A novelist, poet, academic
medievalist, literary critic and essayist, Lewis is known for both his
fictional and non-fictional pieces. His works have been translated into
more than 30 languages and have sold millions of copies.
3 - George Bernard Shaw: A playwright, Shaw wrote
more than 60 plays throughout his life. He examined social problems such
as education, marriage, religion, government, health care and class
privilege through his work, incorporating comedy into the stark themes.
2 - Oscar Wilde: Wilde may be remembered for his career as a playwright, but the writer’s only novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, has become a classic reference in the mainstream media.
1 - James Joyce: An Irish novelist and poet, Joyce
was one of the most influential writers among the modernist avant-garde
of the early 20th century. He is best known for his work Ulysses, in which he parallels the events of Homer’s Odyssey using a variety of literary styles.