Literary Research Guide/N

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
2504351Literary Research Guide — Irish Literature2017James L. Harner
Irish Literature

This section is limited to works devoted exclusively to Irish literature (primarily in English). Because Irish writers are frequently included in works on English or British literature, researchers must also consult section M: English Literature. In addition, many works listed in sections G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses are useful for research in Irish literature.

Research Methods[edit]


Matthews, J. Greg. Literary Research and Irish Literature: Strategies and Sources. Lanham: Scarecrow, 2009. 213 pp. Lit. Research: Strategies and Sources 5. (Updates appear at PR8711.M38 820.9′9415072.

A guide to research strategies and reference sources for the scholar working with Irish literature. Although covering literary works in English, Gaelic, and other languages, the resources discussed are—with very few exceptions—in English. Following an admirably clear explanation of the basics of online searching are chapters on general literary reference sources; library catalogs; print and electronic bibliographies, indexes, and annual reviews; scholarly journals; periodicals, newspapers, and reviews; microform and digital collections; manuscripts and archives; and Web resources. (Many of the preceding chapters discuss works devoted to individual authors.) The last chapter demonstrates how to use some of the works and strategies previously discussed to develop a research plan; however, the representative research problem is not as aptly chosen as in preceding volumes in this series. An appendix lists sources in related disciplines. Indexed by names, titles, and subjects (entries in the appendix are indexed only by subject). Describing fully the uses of kinds of reference tools (with more evaluation than is common in other volumes in this series), providing illuminating examples in discussions of key individual resources, detailing techniques for finding kinds of information (including primary works), and illustrating research processes, Literary Research and Irish Literature admirably fulfills its intent: “to describe some of the best practices for researching Irish literature and to address some of the challenges scholars may face working in such a vast and evolving subject area.”

Histories and Surveys[edit]


The Cambridge History of Irish Literature. Ed. Margaret Kelleher and Philip O’Leary. 2 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. PB1306.C36 820.9′9417. Online through Cambridge Histories Online (

A history of Irish literature, principally in English and Irish, from the sixth century to 2000. The essays, which define Irish and literature expansively, consider cultural, social, and historical contexts and give particular attention to the role of literature in shaping Irish identity. Each chapter concludes with a select bibliography. Indexed in each volume by authors, titles, and subjects (the online version omits the indexes). Attending to canonical and marginalized writers, Cambridge History of Irish Literature is the fullest single account of the entire Irish literary tradition. Review Lucy McDiarmid, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 6 Oct. 2006: 3–4.

Literary Handbooks, Dictionaries, and Encyclopedias[edit]


Dictionary of Irish Literature. Ed. Robert Hogan. Rev. and expanded ed. 2 vols. Westport: Greenwood, 1996. PR8706.D5 820′.99415. Available on CD-ROM and online as part of Studies in Irish Literature (

A literary dictionary consisting primarily of entries (ranging from fewer than 25 to nearly 10,000 words) on some 500 English-language writers (including historians, editors, political writers, journalists, and the like) along with a few discussions of literature-related topics and two lengthy essays on Irish-language authors. Criteria governing the selection of authors or topics are decidedly vague. The author entries emphasize critical commentary but also provide basic biographical information and lists of book-length primary works and criticism. Concludes with a basic chronology of literary and historical events and a selected general bibliography. Indexed by titles, persons, and some subjects. Although something of a hodgepodge of entries of variable quality, the Dictionary does provide the fullest discussions of the handbooks devoted to Irish literature. Review: Patrick Crotty, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 30 May 1997: 15.

An essential complement is The Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, ed. Robert Welch (Oxford: Clarendon–Oxford UP, 1996; 614 pp.), which covers more movements, genres, institutions, historical events and figures, folklore, and groups than Dictionary of Irish Literature does. Unfortunately, it contains more factual and typographical errors than one expects in an Oxford Companion.

Entrants in both works are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565).

Bibliographies of Bibliographies[edit]


Eager, Alan R. A Guide to Irish Bibliographical Material: A Bibliography of Irish Bibliographies and Sources of Information. 2nd ed., rev. and enl. Westport: Greenwood, 1980. 502 pp. Z2031.E16 [DA906] 016.0169415.

A bibliography of bibliographies, including books, articles, parts of books and articles, catalogs, unpublished materials, and works in progress through 1978. Although the majority of the 9,517 entries are for bibliographies wholly or substantially devoted to Irish topics, the Guide includes several that are printed in but not about the country, as well as many nonbibliographical works, for the sake of “balance.” Entries are organized by Dewey Decimal Classification; a few are accompanied by a brief descriptive annotation. Supplementary entries are printed on pp. 379–81. Two indexes: scholars; subjects (including literary authors). Because of the organization, users should approach the work through the subject index (especially when searching for bibliographies about a person). Although it is not comprehensive, contains numerous errors, is marred by an inadequate description of limitations and organization, and includes several works outside its focus, the work is an essential source for identifying bibliographies on all Irish topics. For recent bibliographies, consult Bibliographic Index (D145).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]

There is no adequate bibliography of Irish literature. Vol. 4 of The Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (M2467) and New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (N2965) list primary works by some writers, as does Frank L. Kersnowski, C. W. Spinks, and Laird Loomis, A Bibliography of Modern Irish and Anglo-Irish Literature (San Antonio: Trinity UP, 1976; 157 pp.; Checklists in the Humanities and Educ.: A Ser.). Although the latter cites bibliographies of primary and secondary works, its lists of books by 61 writers are highly selective and plagued by numerous errors.

Guides to Collections[edit]


Lester, DeeGee, comp. Irish Research: A Guide to Collections in North America, Ireland, and Great Britain. New York: Greenwood, 1987. 348 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in World Hist. 9. Z2031.L47 [DA906] 016.9415′0025.

A guide to collections for the study of Irish culture and civilization, including biography, film, folklore, literature, and theater. Although the bulk of the entries are for libraries and museums, Lester also lists organizations and periodicals. Entries are grouped by country; then alphabetically by state, province, or county; then city; and then repository or organization. A typical entry consists of address, a brief description of the repository or organization, a note on general collections of Irish materials, a description of special collections, a list of finding aids, notes on access or restrictions, and tips for researchers. Since information is taken from questionnaires or published descriptions, the entries vary in accuracy and fullness of detail. Two appendixes: dealers specializing in Irish books; Irish local newspapers. Indexed by persons, subjects, and titles. Despite the omission of several important collections, the inclusion of many libraries that “may have” Irish material or whose holdings are essentially general, and insufficient detail of many descriptions, Irish Research can be a useful source for identifying collections of Irish literature and related works.

The standard guide to archives in Ireland is Directory of Irish Archives, ed. Seamus Helferty and Raymond Refaussé, 5th ed. (Dublin: Four Courts, 2011; 240 pp.); however, it describes little of literary interest (see “literary papers” in the index). Consequently, researchers must also consult the guides in sections E: Libraries and Library Catalogs/Research Libraries/Guides to Collections and F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives/Guides to Repositories and Archives.



Hayes, Richard J., ed. Manuscript Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation. 11 vols. Boston: Hall, 1965. First Supplement, 1965–1975. 3 vols. 1979. Z2041.D85 016.9415.

An index to manuscripts relating to Ireland held in about 678 libraries and more than 600 private collections in 30 countries. Entries are organized in four sequences: persons and institutions (vols. 1–4), subjects (5–6), places in Ireland (7–8), and dates (9–10). An entry typically provides a brief description of a manuscript, location, and (usually) shelf number or citation to printed calendar or catalog. Vol. 11 consists of lists of manuscript catalogs, private collections, libraries, and various lists of Gaelic manuscripts. The supplement records newly acquired manuscripts. Although many entries are taken from other catalogs or sources and some private collections have been dispersed, Hayes is a valuable, time-saving compilation that includes numerous literary manuscripts.

See also[edit]

Sec. F: Guides to Manuscripts and Archives.

Index of English Literary Manuscripts (M1365).

Printed Works[edit]


Irish Publishing Record, [1967–94]. Dublin: Natl. Lib. of Ireland, 1967–[1995?]. Annual. Z2034.I87 015′.415.

A national bibliography that records books, pamphlets, new periodicals, yearbooks, musical scores, and selected government publications published in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Entries, which provide basic card catalog information, are organized by Dewey Decimal Classification. Two indexes: authors; titles. Since information is compiled from a variety of sources, details are not always accurate, but the work does offer the most thorough record of books published in the island from 1967 to 1994.

In January 2005, the National Library of Ireland began compiling Record of Irish Publishing, a list of new books and periodicals published in the Republic of Ireland (

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Surveys of Research[edit]


Finneran, Richard J., ed. Anglo-Irish Literature: A Review of Research. New York: MLA, 1976. 596 pp. PR8712.A5 820′.9′9415. Recent Research on Anglo-Irish Writers: A Supplement to Anglo-Irish Literature: A Review of Research . 1983. 361 pp. MLA Reviews of Research. PR8712.R4 820′.9′9415.

Evaluative surveys of research on genres and dead authors of Anglo-Irish background who have been the subject of a substantial amount of scholarship. Coverage extends through 1974 in the first volume, through 1980 in the supplement, with the degree of selectivity varying with the contributor. The original volume has chapters on general works; nineteenth-century writers; Wilde; Moore; Shaw; Yeats; Synge; Joyce; four Revival figures: Lady Gregory, A. E., Gogarty, and Stephens; O’Casey; and modern drama. The supplement adds modern fiction and poetry. The chapters are extensively classified, with most including sections on reference works, manuscripts, editions, biography, letters, general studies, and individual works. Each survey combines, in varying degrees, description and evaluation, with suggestions for further research. Indexed by persons. Like similar MLA surveys of research, this is marred by incomplete citations, and some reviewers have objected to a definition of Anglo-Irish background that admits Shaw and Wilde but excludes other similar writers. Still, Finneran is the indispensable, authoritative guide to earlier scholarship. Review: Ellsworth Mason, James Joyce Quarterly 15.2 (1978): 138–46.

Although the revised edition planned for 1990 publication was abandoned because some contributors were unable to complete their surveys, a few of the chapters fortunately have been published elsewhere:

  • Kopper, Edward A., Jr. Lady Gregory: A Review of the Criticism. Butler: Kopper, 1991. 39 pp. Mod. Irish Lit. Monograph Ser. 2.
  • ———. Synge: A Review of the Criticism. Lyndora: Kopper, 1990. 65 pp. Mod. Irish Lit. Monograph Ser. 1.
  • Murphy, P. J., et al. Critique of Beckett Criticism: A Guide to Research in English, French, and German. Columbia: Camden, 1994. 173 pp. Lit. Criticism in Perspective.

See also[edit]

YWES (G330): Anglo-Irish writers are covered in several chapters.

Serial Bibliographies[edit]


“IASIL Bibliography Bulletin for [1970– ].” Irish University Review 2 (1972)– . Former title: “IASAIL Bibliographic Bulletin for [1970–94].” PR8700.I73 820′.8′09415.

An international bibliography of studies of Anglo-Irish literature (along with some original poetry and short fiction). Since the bibliography for 2006 (37 [2007]), entries are organized in two sections: general studies (with divisions for literature, theater, language and culture, and Irish-related work by non-Irish writers) and individual authors; in the installments for 1974–2005 (6–36 [1976–2006]), the general studies section is not subdivided; in the earlier ones, studies are listed by country of origin. Although not comprehensive, the bibliography is useful because of its international coverage.

A useful complement is “Irish Literature in English: The Year’s Work,” Études irlandaises 1–17.2 (1972–92), with better coverage of Continental scholarship.

See also[edit]

Secs. G: Serial Bibliographies, Indexes, and Abstracts and H: Guides to Dissertations and Theses.

ABELL (G340): Entries on Anglo-Irish writers and literature are dispersed throughout.

Bibliography of British and Irish History (M1400).

Bibliotheca Celtica (P3155).

MLAIB (G335): Until the volume for 1981, Anglo-Irish literature was included in the English Literature division. Literature in Irish Gaelic was covered in the Celtic Languages and Literatures heading under the General division in the volumes for 1928–52; in General IV (later V or VI): Celtic Languages and Literatures in the volumes for 1953–66; and in Celtic VI: Irish Gaelic in the volumes for 1967–80. Since the volume for 1981, the Irish Literature section encompasses Irish literature in any language. Researchers must also check the headings beginning with “Irish” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Other Bibliographies[edit]


New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (NCBEL). Ed. George Watson and I. R. Willison. 5 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1969–77. Z2011.N45 [PR83] 016.82.

  • Vol. 1: 600–1660 has sections on Irish literature in Latin (cols. 341–44, 351–56) and Irish printing and bookselling (cols. 669–70), with Irish writers listed in various sections.
  • Vol. 2: 1660–1800 has sections on Irish printing and bookselling (cols. 273–74) and periodicals (cols. 1377–90), with Irish writers listed in various sections.
  • Vol. 3: 1800–1900 has a division for Anglo-Irish literature through 1916 (cols. 1885–948), with classified sections for Gaelic sources, general studies, poets, Yeats and Synge, and dramatists. Coverage of primary (but not secondary) works in vol. 3 is superseded by vol. 4 of the third edition of CBEL (M2467).
  • Vol. 4: 1900–1950 has Anglo-Irish topics and writers listed throughout the various sections.

(For a full discussion of NCBEL, see entry M1385.)

In each volume, many of the general sections list works important to the study of Anglo-Irish literature. Coverage extends through 1962–69, depending on the volume.

Users must familiarize themselves with the organization, remember that there is considerable unevenness of coverage among subdivisions, and consult the index volume (vol. 5) rather than the provisional indexes in vols. 1–4. Despite its shortcomings (see entry M1385), NCBEL offers the fullest single bibliography of primary works and scholarship for the study of Anglo-Irish literature.


Guilarte, Alexandre, comp. Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature, 1972–. Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Inst. for Advanced Studies, n.d. 14 Dec. 2012. <>.

Baumgarten, Rolf. Electronic Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature, 1942–71. Ed. Roibeard Ó Maolalaigh. Dublin Institute of Advanced Studies. School of Celtic Studies, Dublin Inst. for Advanced Studies, 2004. 14 Dec. 2012. <>. CD-ROM. An electronic, corrected version of Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature, 1942–71. Dublin: Dublin Inst. for Advanced Studies, 1986. 776 pp.

Best, R. I. Bibliography of Irish Philology and of Printed Irish Literature. Dublin: HMSO, 1913. 307 pp. (Available in several formats at Bibliography of Irish Philology and Manuscript Literature: Publications, 1913–1941. Dublin: Dublin Inst. for Advanced Studies, 1942. 253 pp. Z2037.D81 016.8916.

A bibliography of scholarship on Irish language and literature through the latter part of the nineteenth century but excluding the Irish Revival. Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature is a draft version that includes only a limited number of articles and books and is cumbersome to search since the database is designed to produce future printed volumes. Users can search a series of static (but interlinked) indexes: authors (i.e., scholars); periodicals; book series; books; classifications (bibliography, manuscripts, linguistics, lexicography, grammar, literature and learning, mythology, verse, law and institutions, church history, history, prehistory and cultural history, and reviews; except for the last, each is extensively subdivided); authors and textual sources (i.e., literary authors and anonymous works); first lines of verse; manuscripts; and words and proper nouns. To view a full entry (which provides a citation, a brief annotation in most, and indexing and classification tags) users must click on the Details link at the bottom of a record. Entries are variously hyperlinked (though inconsistently and sometimes needlessly). Unfortunately, users can download only one record at a time as a LaTeX or PDF file. Still very much a work in progress and lacking a sufficient statement of scope and taxonomy, Bibliography of Irish Linguistics and Literature is at least a place to begin research.

In the volumes by Best, entries are variously organized in two divisions: philology and literature. The first has classified sections for general works, dictionaries and lexicography, etymology (combined with lexicography in the 1913–41 volume), phonology (combined with grammar in 1913–41), grammar, metrics, inscriptions, manuscripts, and Old Irish glosses; the second has sections for general studies, tales and sagas, poetry (only through the seventeenth century in the 1913–41 volume), religious works, history, legal works, and miscellaneous works. The original volume prints additions on pp. 273–74; in the volume for 1913–41 additions appear on pp. 193–94 and corrections to the earlier volume on pp. 253–54. Baumgarten organizes entries by publication date in extensively classified sections for general works, sources, linguistics, lexicology and onomastics, grammar, literature and learning, narrative literature, verse, society (a grab-bag section), Christianity, history and genealogy, and prehistory and cultural history. A few entries are accompanied by a brief descriptive annotation or list of reviews. In the online version, users must navigate through indexes that replicate the classification and indexes of the print edition. Entries can be saved to a list for downloading or printing. The original volume is indexed by persons (with numerous omissions); the one for 1913–41 has indexes for words (with separate sections for personal names, place-names, and other words, as well as an index to the earlier volume), first lines of poems, and persons and subjects; the most recent one has four indexes: words and proper names; first lines of verse; sources; authors of works cited (the electronic version adds an author and short-title index). Although confusingly organized, not comprehensive, and lacking any statement of scope and editorial policy in the 1942–71 volume, these volumes offer the fullest general coverage of scholarship on Irish language and literature through 1971.


Harmon, Maurice. Select Bibliography for the Study of Anglo-Irish Literature and Its Backgrounds: An Irish Studies Handbook. Port Credit: Meany, 1977. 187 pp. Z2037.H32 [PR8711] 016.82.

A highly selective annotated guide, principally to reference works and important background studies published through the mid-1970s. Entries are organized in three divisions: general reference works, background materials, and literature. The background division has sections for reference works, history, biography, topography, folk culture and anthropology, theater, Anglo-Irish language, Irish language, Gaelic literature, and newspapers and periodicals. The literature division lists entries in sections for general studies, poetry, fiction, drama, bibliographies of individual authors, and literary periodicals. The brief descriptive annotations (sometimes including evaluative comments) too infrequently offer an adequate indication of contents or accurate evaluation. The chronology for 1765–1976 has numerous gaps. The lack of an index and numerous omissions make Harmon useful only insofar as it complements or updates the much fuller coverage in New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature (N2965). Review: William T. O’Malley, American Notes and Queries 17.4 (1978): 66.


Hayes, Richard J., ed. Sources for the History of Irish Civilisation: Articles in Irish Periodicals. 9 vols. Boston: Hall, 1970. Z2034.H35 016.91415′03.

A bibliography of articles, original literary works, and reviews in 152 periodicals that were published in Ireland from c. 1800 through 1969 and that print material useful for research in Irish intellectual and cultural life. Hayes excludes popular, trade, and current news periodicals as well as those in the Irish language. Entries (which record author, title, and publication information) are organized in four divisions: persons (vols. 1–5; library catalog main entries as well as persons as subjects and authors of books reviewed); subjects (vols. 6–8); places in Ireland (vol. 9); dates (vol. 9; works dealing with a specific date or period are organized in chronological order). Although the majority of the entries relate to Ireland, a significant number of articles and reviews on other topics, especially British literature, are also indexed. An essential source for locating works by and about Irish writers, and an important complement to the serial bibliographies and indexes in section G.


McKenna, Brian. Irish Literature, 1800–1875: A Guide to Information Sources. Detroit: Gale, 1978. 388 pp. Amer. Lit., English Lit., and World Lits. in English: An Information Guide Ser. 13. Z2037.M235 [PR8750] 016.82.

A highly selective bibliography of works by and about Anglo-Irish authors. Coverage extends through 1974 and includes a few foreign language studies. Entries are arranged chronologically in classified divisions for anthologies, periodicals, general studies, background studies, and individual authors (each with separate lists of bibliographies, biographies, criticism, and primary works). The brief annotations rarely offer an adequate indication of content or substantiate an evaluative comment. Three indexes: authors; titles; subjects. The lack of cross-references—especially to general studies—is not fully remedied by the subject index. Because of its selectivity (which results in some significant omissions) and the fuller treatment of major figures in author bibliographies, McKenna is principally useful as a starting point for work on minor writers. Review: James Kilroy, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 3.1 (1979): 62–67.

McKenna’s volume for 1876–1950, although announced, was never published.

See also[edit]

Schwartz, Articles on Women Writers (U6605).

Dissertations and Theses[edit]


O’Malley, William T., comp. Anglo-Irish Literature: A Bibliography of Dissertations, 1873–1989. New York: Greenwood, 1990. 299 pp. Bibliogs. and Indexes in World Lit. 26. Z2037.A54 [PR8711] 016.8209′9415.

An international bibliography of 4,359 dissertations on literature in English by 193 Irish writers (those born in Ireland or usually considered Irish, including a few critics, scholars, actors, and others) as well as “rhetorical, oratorical, and linguistic” studies of some nonliterary figures. Coverage extends through 1989 for United States and Canadian dissertations but ends considerably earlier or is not consecutive for most other countries. Entries—which consist of author, title, institution, and date—are organized in two divisions: individual authors; general and topical studies. Since each dissertation is listed only once, users must be certain to check the “See also” listings after each author section and the subject index for multiple-author studies. Two indexes: dissertation authors; subjects. Although incomplete, based largely on other bibliographies and lists of dissertations, and providing minimal information, O’Malley offers a useful preliminary compilation of dissertations on Anglo-Irish literature.


Guides to Scholarship[edit]


ABELL (G340): See especially the Dialects section in the volumes for 1920–26; the English Dialects section in the volumes for 1927–72; and the Dialects/British Isles section in the volumes since 1973.

Best, Bibliography of Irish Philology (N2970).

Bibliotheca Celtica (P3155).

Harmon, Select Bibliography for the Study of Anglo-Irish Literature (N2975).

MLAIB (G335): See especially the Dialectology section of the English Language division. (English Language and Literature division in the volumes for 1922–25; English Language and Literature I/Linguistics in the volumes for 1926–66; Indo-European C/Germanic Linguistics IV/English in those for 1967–80; and Indo-European Languages/Germanic Languages/West Germanic Languages/English Language in later volumes.) Researchers must also check the heading “Irish English Dialect” in the subject index to post-1980 volumes and in the online thesaurus.

Biographical Dictionaries[edit]


Dictionary of Irish Biography from the Earliest Times to the Year 2002 (DIB). Ed. James McGuire and James Quinn. 9 vols. Cambridge: Cambridge UP for the Royal Irish Acad., 2009. CR862.D53 941.50099.

Dictionary of Irish Biography from the Earliest Times to the Year 2002 (DIB). Cambridge University Press. Cambridge UP, 2009. 14 Dec. 2012. <>.

A biographical dictionary of individuals either born in Ireland or with significant careers there and who died before the end of 2002; the electronic DIB includes individuals who died after 2002. The signed entries, which range from 200 to 15,000 words, cover the famous or notorious from all walks of life, with the editors giving “primacy to achivement over position” in choosing biographees. When possible, entries combine factual information with “an assessment of the significance of an individual’s career” and conclude with a list of sources (print, manuscript, and electronic). Users should familiarize themselves with the explanation of the treatment of names (1: xxv).

The electronic DIB can be browsed by name or contributor. Basic Search allows users to search by name or full text; Advanced Search allows users to search by a combination of name, gender, dates (birth, death, floruit), place of birth or death, religion, occupation, contributor, or keyword. New entries are identified on the DIB home page.

The DIB is the most authoritative dictionary of Irish biography and rightly assumes its place alongside other monumental national biographies such as the ODNB (M1425) and the ANB (Q3378). Review: Roy Foster, TLS: Times Literary Supplement 5 Feb. 2010: 3–5.

Despite the breadth of the DIB, older biographical dictionaries—such as Henry Boylan, A Dictionary of Irish Biography, 3rd ed. (Niwot: Rinehart, 1998; 462 pp.)—remain useful. For an overview of general and specialized biographical dictionaries through 1979, see C. J. Woods, “A Guide to Irish Biographical Dictionaries,” Maynooth Review 6.1 (1980): 16–34.


Brady, Anne M., and Brian Cleeve. A Biographical Dictionary of Irish Writers. New York: St. Martin’s, 1985. 387 pp. PR8727.B5 820′.9′9415.

A biographical dictionary of Irish writers, from St. Patrick to the present, that corrects many of the errors and omissions in Cleeve, Dictionary of Irish Writers, 3 vols. (Cork: Mercier, 1967–71). Brady and Cleeve includes numerous contemporary authors as well as scholars whose reputation extends beyond academe, but offers no statement of the criteria used to determine who qualifies as “Irish.” The very brief entries—which provide basic biographical information, a list of major publications, and summary critical comments on major writers—are organized in two divisions: writers in English and writers in Irish and Latin. Additions appear on p. 254. Both editions are indexed in Biography and Genealogy Master Index (J565). This work offers the widest coverage (especially of contemporary authors) but the least information of the biographical dictionaries of Irish writers.

See also[edit]

Dictionary of Irish Literature (N2925).

Dictionary of Literary Biography (J600).

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (M1425).


Guides to Primary Works[edit]


North, John S. The Waterloo Directory of Irish Newspapers and Periodicals, 1800–1900, Phase II. Waterloo: North Waterloo Academic, 1986. 838 pp. Phase 2, vol. 1 of Waterloo Directory Ser. of Newspapers and Periodicals: England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, 1800–1900. Z6956.I7 N67 011′.35′09415.

A bibliography and finding list of 3,932 serials published in Ireland during the nineteenth century. Publications are listed alphabetically by earliest title or issuing body for nonspecific titles; cross-references cite alternative titles, issuing bodies, and many subtitles. Main entries record, when possible, title; subtitles; title changes; series, volume, and issue numbering; publication dates; places of publication; editors; proprietors; publishers; printers; size; price; circulation; frequency of publication; illustrations; issuing bodies; indexing; subject matter; departments; religious or political stance; mergers; miscellaneous notes; references to studies or histories; and locations (in selected British and Irish collections). Three indexes: subjects; persons (including companies and issuing bodies); places of publication. The Waterloo Directory, a majority of whose entries are based on the actual examination of runs, offers the most accurate, complete accumulation of information on Irish serial publications. The extensive indexing makes essential sources for the study of nearly all facets of nineteenth-century Irish life and culture readily accessible for the first time. An indispensable work that supersedes all earlier bibliographies listing nineteenth-century Irish periodicals and newspapers and stands as an example of the kind of guide needed for serials of other countries and periods. Review: Rosemary T. VanArsdel, Newsletter of the Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada 13.1 (1987): 63–68.

Since locations are restricted to 50 British and Irish libraries, consult the following for additional holdings: Fulton, Union List of Victorian Serials (M2530); Ward, Index and Finding List (M2535); Union List of Serials (K640a); British Union-Catalogue of Periodicals (K645a); and WorldCat (E225).


Clyde, Tom. Irish Literary Magazines: An Outline History and Descriptive Bibliography. Dublin: Irish Academic, 2003. 318 pp. PR8711.C58 820.9′9417.

An annotated bibliography of approximately 225 Irish literary magazines in English whose first issue was published in Ireland between 1710 and 1985 (with the early terminal date apparently determined by the scope of the doctoral dissertation on which this work is based). Entries, which proceed chronologically, include title, editorial address and printer, editor(s), inclusive dates of publication, total number of issues, frequency, average number of pages per issue, locations of copies (with details of microfilms and reprints), an evaluative (sometimes acerbic) description (hence the Descriptive of the subtitle), and citations to scholarship. Indexed by title. Based on firsthand examination of copies, the entries offer a wealth of detail. Unfortunately, the usefulness of Irish Literary Magazines is severely hindered by the absence of indexes of names and subjects, a flaw thrown into sharp relief by the suggestions for projects that conclude the preliminary outline history. Anyone taking on the recommended studies of publishers, editors, authors, censorship, or small presses will be relegated to reading large blocks of text.


Some works in section L: Genres are useful for research in Anglo-Irish literature.


Some works in section L: Genres/Fiction are useful to research in Anglo-Irish fiction.

Histories and Surveys[edit]


Cahalan, James M. The Irish Novel: A Critical History. Boston: Twayne, 1988. 365 pp. Twayne’s Critical Hist. of the Novel. PR8797.C34 823′.009′89162.

A history of Irish novels, written in Irish or English and set in Ireland, from the eighteenth century to the late 1980s. The chapters, organized chronologically, examine a variety of representative novelists and stress matters of language, genre, and history. Indexed by persons and some subjects. The first single-volume history of the Irish novel, Cahalan is especially valuable for its suggestions for further research (which are designed to redress the neglect of Irish novelists other than Joyce). Review: Marilyn Thorne, Studies in the Novel 21.4 (1989): 446–48.

See also[edit]

Oxford History of the Novel in English, vol. 4 (L1057).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]


Brown, Stephen J., S. J. Ireland in Fiction: A Guide to Irish Novels, Tales, Romances, and Folklore. New ed. Dublin: Maunsel, 1919. 362 pp. Brown and Desmond Clarke. Vol. 2. Cork: Royal Carberry, 1985. 290 pp. Z2039.F4 B8 016.823.

An annotated author list of approximately 3,400 separately published fictional works, through 1960, that treat Ireland or the Irish. Brown includes works by Anglo-Irish as well as foreign writers, but excludes fiction written in Irish. Entries provide title, pagination, publication information (usually for the most recent edition), and a synopsis (including occasional comments on historical accuracy or representation of dialects and quotations from reviews). Most Irish authors receive a brief biographical headnote. Three appendixes in vol. 1 are worthy of note: appendix B is a list of series; appendix C classifies works by type or subject matter (historical fiction by date of event depicted, Gaelic epic and romantic literature, legends and folktales, fairy tales for children, Catholic clerical life, and humorous books); appendix D lists Irish periodicals publishing fiction. Additions are printed in 1: 314–16. Indexed by titles and subjects in vol. 1, by titles in vol. 2. Although the synopses are not always objective (especially for anti-Irish, anti-Catholic, or “prurient” works) and coverage is incomplete, Brown provides access to a wealth of examples of the treatment of Ireland and the Irish in fiction. Unfortunately, vol. 2 is not widely held. Snell, The Bibliography of Regional Fiction in Britain and Ireland, 1800–2000 (M2650), is an essential supplement.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Diane Tolomeo, “Modern Fiction,” pp. 268–98 in Finneran, Recent Research on Anglo-Irish Writers (N2950), surveys scholarship and criticism.

Drama and Theater[edit]

Some works in section L: Genres/Drama and Theater are useful to research in Anglo-Irish drama and theater.

Histories and Surveys[edit]


Hogan, Robert, et al. The Modern Irish Drama: A Documentary History. 6 vols. Dublin: Dolmen; Atlantic Highlands: Humanities, 1975–84. Irish Theatre Ser. 6–8, 10, 12. PR8789.H62 [PN2602.D82] 792′.09415.

  • Vol. 1: The Irish Literary Theatre, 1899–1901. By Robert Hogan and James Kilroy. 1975. 164 pp.
  • Vol. 2: Laying the Foundations, 1902–1904. By Hogan and Kilroy. 1976. 164 pp.
  • Vol. 3: The Abbey Theatre: The Years of Synge, 1905–1909. By Hogan and Kilroy. 1978. 385 pp.
  • Vol. 4: The Rise of the Realists, 1910–1915. By Hogan, Richard Burnham, and Daniel P. Poteet. 1979. 532 pp.
  • Vol. 5: The Art of the Amateur, 1916–1920. By Hogan and Burnham. 1984. 368 pp.
  • Vol. 6: The Years of O’Casey, 1921–1926: A Documentary History. By Hogan and Burnham. Newark: U of Delaware P; Gerrards Cross: Smythe, 1992. 437 pp. PR8789.H66 792′.0415′09042.

A year-by-year account of the drama and theater, with each volume attempting “to recreate the flavour of the period” through extensive quotations from contemporary documents, accounts or reviews of performances, letters, memoirs, and the like. Vols. 4–6, however, do offer considerable critical commentary. Each volume includes a chronological list of significant Anglo-Irish plays and the most important Irish-language ones. Organized by year of first production (or date of publication for unperformed plays), each entry records the first edition, original cast, and date and theater of the first production. Each volume is indexed by persons, titles, and a few subjects. A well-integrated re-creation of the modern Irish theatrical and dramatic milieu.


Maxwell, D. E. S. A Critical History of Modern Irish Drama, 1891–1980. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984. 250 pp. PR8789.M39 822′.91′099415.

A critical history of Anglo-Irish drama since the beginning of the Irish Literary Theatre. Organized chronologically, the 10 chapters chronicle periods and major dramatists. Concludes with a brief chronology and selected bibliography. Indexed by persons and subjects. The fullest critical history of the Irish drama, Maxwell supersedes earlier histories. Review: Ronald Ayling, Essays in Theatre 5.2 (1987): 139–44.

See also[edit]

Greene, Theatre in Dublin, 1745–1820: A History (N3037a).

Guides to Primary Works[edit]


Greene, John C., and Gladys L. H. Clark. The Dublin Stage, 1720–1745: A Calendar of Plays, Entertainments, and Afterpieces. Bethlehem: Lehigh UP; London: Assoc. UP, 1993. 473 pp. PN2602.D8 G7 792′.09418′3509033. (Addenda and corrigenda appear in vol. 6 of 1745–1820.)

Greene, John C. Theatre in Dublin, 1745–1820: A Calendar of Performances. 6 vols. Bethlehem: Lehigh UP, 2011. PN2602.D8. (Searchable indexes are available at

A calendar of theatrical performances in Dublin. Modeled on London Stage, 1660–1800 (M2370), entries provide, where available, venue, date of performance, cast, production personnel, afterpiece(s) and other entertainment, details of benefit or command performances, and notes on box-office receipts and other details. Prefaced by an overview of such theatrical topics as the playhouses, the season, costume, music, and the repertory. Four indexes in 1720–1745: stage personnel; playwrights and titles; main- and afterpieces; topics and persons not included in the preceding indexes; general index of persons, plays, locations, and subjects in 1745–1820 along with searchable indexes (see above) of actors, plays, playwrights, choral works, concerts, venues, seasons, managers, production personnel, benefits, dancers, singers, composers, music, musicians, fireworks, and illuminations. An essential guide to the history of the early Irish theater.

The massive data in 1745–1820 is synthesized in Greene, Theatre in Dublin, 1745–1820: A History, 2 vols. (Bethlehem: Lehigh UP, 2011).

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Despite the interest in Irish drama, there is no reasonably thorough bibliography of scholarship and criticism. The following do little more than provide a starting point for research.

Surveys of Research[edit]

Finneran, Anglo-Irish Literature and Recent Research on Anglo-Irish Writers (N2950) have chapters on the modern drama by Robert Hogan, Bonnie K. Scott, and Gordon Henderson (pp. 518–61) and Hogan (pp. 255–67), respectively.

Other Bibliographies[edit]

King, Kimball. Ten Modern Irish Playwrights: A Comprehensive Annotated Bibliography. New York: Garland, 1979. 111 pp. Garland Reference Lib. of the Humanities 153. Z2039.D7 K56 [PR8789] 016.822′9′1408.

A partially annotated bibliography of primary and secondary works through 1977 for Behan, Boyd, Douglas, Friel, Keane, Kilroy, Leonard, McKenna, Murphy, and O’Brien. The list of primary works for each author includes all genres (as well as interviews); secondary works appear under one of three headings: criticism, dissertations (unannotated), and reviews (spottily annotated). Some of the descriptive annotations are misleading, and there are numerous other errors. Indexed by scholars. The exclusion of most reviews and several articles from Irish periodicals and newspapers along with other significant omissions render this work much less than the comprehensive bibliography claimed by the subtitle. As reviewers point out, a careful revision is needed if Ten Modern Irish Playwrights is to offer more than minimal guidance for research on the 10 playwrights. Reviews: Charles A. Carpenter, Modern Drama 24.1 (1981): 116–19; Richard J. Finneran, Analytical and Enumerative Bibliography 3.4 (1979): 305–19 (with a lengthy list of additions and corrections).


Mikhail, E. H. An Annotated Bibliography of Modern Anglo-Irish Drama. Troy: Whitston, 1981. 300 pp. Z2039.D7 M528 [PR8789] 016.822′91′099415.

A bibliography limited to general studies (from 1899 through 1977), organized in five divisions: bibliographies (a hodgepodge including several works of minimal importance to the subject), reference works, books, periodical articles, and dissertations. Concludes with an incomplete list of library collections. Few of the annotations are adequately descriptive. Two indexes: persons (including authors as subjects); subjects. Plagued by inadequate indexing and annotations, numerous errors and significant omissions, the inclusion of much that is trivial, and poor organization, Bibliography of Modern Anglo-Irish Drama is only marginally useful for identifying discussions of playwrights and a few subjects buried in general studies. This work supersedes Mikhail, A Bibliography of Modern Irish Drama, 1899–1970 (Seattle: U of Washington P, 1972; 51 pp.) and Dissertations on Anglo-Irish Drama: A Bibliography of Studies, 1870–1970 (Totowa: Rowman, 1973; 73 pp.).

Complemented—somewhat—by Mikhail, A Research Guide to Modern Irish Dramatists (Troy: Whitston, 1979; 104 pp.), a bibliography of bibliographies of primary and secondary works. The annotations describe nothing more than the kind of bibliography, and nearly 70% of the entries refer to seven general selective bibliographies (e.g., New Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature [M1385]; Samples, Drama Scholars’ Index [L1150a]; and Coleman and Tyler, Drama Criticism [M2875a]).


Some works in section L: Genres/Poetry are useful to research in Anglo-Irish poetry.

Guides to Scholarship and Criticism[edit]

Mary M. FitzGerald, “Modern Poetry” pp. 299–334 in Finneran, Recent Research on Anglo-Irish Writers (N2950), surveys scholarship and criticism.