Here are some online places to find Irish and non-Irish literature for free!!
I have two goals with this post. Firstly, I want to show you two of my favourite free websites for literature, and secondly, I want to introduce you to some famous Irish authors and literature. If you click on the blue text below, you'll find websites that give you access to free, 'public domain' works.
If you're a student of English language and literature, or simply enjoy reading, then you need to know about Project Gutenberg! It contains almost 50,000 works by authors such as William Shakespeare, James Joyce, Charles Dickens and Mark Twain. Simply type in a name of an author, or browse their most popular lists, and you'll find thousands of electronic works to choose from.
Here is the page for William Butler Yeats, an Irish poet. Yeats was born in Dublin in 1865 but spent his childhood in the beautiful, rugged countryside of the west of Ireland. He wanted to reduce the influence of English culture on Ireland and wrote poetry, plays and stories about Irish folklore, myths and legends from ancient times. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1923 and is one of my favourite poets of all time although be warned, he may be a little difficult to understand for non-native English speakers (and for native speakers too!). Here is one of his most famous poems:
When you are old by W. B. Yeats
WHEN you are old and gray and full of sleep,
And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;
How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
And loved the sorrows of your changing face;
And bending down beside the glowing bars,
Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
And paced upon the mountains overhead
And hid his face among a crowd of stars.
Another Irish author I've spoken about is James Joyce and here are some of his free books on Project Gutenberg. I would recommend 'A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man' and especially 'Dubliners' as his most interesting (and accessible, easy to read) works. Joyce has a reputation for complex writing styles and allusions. For example, his book 'Ulysses' is usually read with a second reference book explaining the complicated details in the original book! But 'Dubliners' is quite accessible to all readers and I would recommend you read this, especially the very beautiful last chapter, if you want to explore Irish literature!
According to their website, The Literature Network “currently have over 3500 full books and over 4400 short stories and poems by over 260 authors. Our quotations database has over 8500 quotes, and our quiz system features over 340 quizzes”. The have texts from Ancient Greek authors, 19th century American authors and recent Irish and English poets. They also have forums you can ask any questions you might have about literature so overall it's a very good site!
You can read the works of the Irish playwright, author and poet, Oscar Wilde on this site. Wilde lived and wrote during the second half of the 19th century and was a celebrity during his life although, sadly, he was later disgraced and imprisoned for being gay. He left Ireland and Britain after spending two years of hard labour in prison and died in poverty in Europe. Today Wilde is incredibly popular in Western literature and his hilarious plays continue to be enjoyed in Ireland abroad. Here's one of his most famous... enjoy!! 'The Importance of Being Earnest'.
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A Portrait of the Artist as a young man, books, Culture, Dubliners, gutenberg project, Ireland, Irish, james joyce, literature, oscar wilde, poetry, The Importance of Being Earnest, W. B. Yeats, When You are Old, William Butler Yeats