Essays from one of the most popular literary critics and writers in Ireland for over fifty years.In these selected essays, published to mark his eightieth birthday, Benedict Kiely writes principally about the writers of his native Ireland. WrittenMoreEssays from one of the most popular literary critics and writers in Ireland for over fifty years.In these selected essays, published to mark his eightieth birthday, Benedict Kiely writes principally about the writers of his native Ireland. Written across half a century a number of them were first published in periodicals in the min-1940 s they affirm the breadth of his reading and interests- novelists of the nineteenth century, like Gerald Griffin, William Carleton, Canon Sheehan and George Moore- prose writers of the twentieth century, such as Kate O Brien, Sean O Faolain and Mary Lavin imaginatively twinned with the American writer Flannery O Connor- the early collections of John Montague and Seamus Heaney- as well as thematic essays on such subjects as literary censorship, dialect and literature.One of Benedict Kiely s cherished gifts as an essayist is to send the reader back to the books themselves, to make us read or re-read neglected and even forgotten writers: Shan Bullock, Patrick Boyle and Michael McLaverty come to mind.Kiely s reputation as novelist, short-story writer, broadcaster, literary journalist and storyteller is secure.
As an essayist, he knows when to let the work about which he is writing speak for itself, and shows a wisdom, insight and humanity that call to mind the essays of the English critic V.S. Pritchett. Yet it should not be forgotten that Ben Kiely was writing these essays in a social and political atmosphere that was far less warm-hearted than that in which Pritchett worked.