Dublin Gift #2: World-Class Authors


You know them all by name, if not by works: James Joyce, Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Jonathan Swift, W.B. Yeats. Authors of some of the great classic works of Western literature, these men also have the dubious honor of being Dubliners. What is it about this city that gave rise to such great wordsmiths? Perhaps it was the comingling of Irish and English, upper- and lower-class, North and South sides of the river. Lines tend to blur more in Dublin than in other comparative cities, and such a home was a great mine of resources for the literary writer.

Joyce, who set both Ulysses and Dubliners in Dublin, said, “I want to give a picture of Dublin so complete that if the city one day suddenly disappeared from the earth it could be reconstructed out of my book.” That mark of affection is still heard in a city that sports both a James Joyce Centre and a photo tour of Joyce’s Edwardian backwater, as it was thought of in his day.

Wilde, my personal favorite, has had his house turn into a museum and a deliciously indolent statue reclining in Merrion Square. Dublin also gives him the nod at the Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing, a pretty notable namesake for fellow with as many splotches on his prestige as Wilde. He wrote famously witty books, plays, and poems, and was scandalous for his various affairs with Marquess’s sons. My own personal favorite is The Importance of Being Earnest: “it is very painful for me to be forced to speak the truth. It is the first time in my life that I have ever been reduced to such a painful position, and I am really quite inexperienced in doing anything of the kind.”

For more information on these and other great writers originating from Dublin, check out the Dublin Writers Museum, and if you’re really ambitious, there’s the Dublin Literary Pub Crawl, which is supposed to be pretty entertaining.

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