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Languages of the NightMinor Languages and the Literary Imagination in Twentieth-Century Ireland and Europe$
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Barry McCrea

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780300185157

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300185157.001.0001

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Language of the Dead

Language of the Dead

The Irish Language in the Twentieth Century

(p.20) one Language of the Dead
Languages of the Night

Barry McCrea

Yale University Press

The chapter explores how as it fell out of mass use as a spoken vernacular the Irish language became the object of utopian longings and psychological investments. It looks at how the revivalist conception of Irish as a lost, perfect language resonated with Joyce’s desire to forge a new language of art, and with the broadly modernist sense that language itself was in need of renewal. The chapter describes and analyzes the different lives and meanings the Irish language has had since its decline as a mass spoken language, and especially at the phenomenon of writers who choose to write in Irish even though it is not their native language.

Keywords:   Irish language, James Joyce, “The Dead”, Dubliners, Finnegans Wake, Dubliners, Gaeltacht, Modernism, Gaelic Revival

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