Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase & Fable (Cassell Dictionary of...)

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9780304363346: Brewer's Dictionary of Irish Phrase & Fable (Cassell Dictionary of...)

In the tradition of Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable comes the most complete single-volume reference guide to the folklore, language and culture of Ireland. Authors Jo O'Donoghue and Sean McMahon cover an impressive range of subjects in over 5000 entries, with special attention paid to the unique legends, superstitions and fables of the Emerald Isle. Other topics addressed include contemporary Irish culture, the origins of Irish words and sayings, and Irish literature throughout the ages. At once scholarly and whimsical, this is a truly indispensable trove of fact and fancy for any lover of Irish culture.

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About the Author:

Jo O'Donoghue was born in Co. Kerry in 1956 and educated at University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin, where she was awareded an M. Litt in modern English. She has lived in Dublin since the mid-1980s and has worked in publishing and related areas since 1988. She is the author of a critical study of the novelist Brian Moore (1990) and has edited several anthologies including Golden Apples: Irish Poems for Children (1995) and Taisce Duan (1992, with Sean McMahon). She is also the co-author (with Sean McMahon) of The Mercier Companion to Irish Literature (1998).

From Booklist:

In a somewhat tongue-in-cheek introduction, the authors of this work discuss the need for an "Irish Brewer" providing a fuller account of all aspects of Irish life and culture than that in the traditional Brewer volume. The result is a compendium recording people, places, and events in the tradition of its parent, Brewer's Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (16th ed., HarperCollins, 2000).

In keeping with its lineage, this dictionary is quite eclectic, beginning somewhat surprisingly with Aachen (the German city of the Holy Roman Emperors, here included because of the influx of Irish scholars) and ending with Zozimus (the nickname of balladeer Michael Moran). McMahon, editor of volumes such as the recent Derry Anthology (Blackstaff Press, 2002), and O'Donoghue, coauthor (with McMahon) of The Mercier Companion to Irish Literature (Mercier Press, 1998), fill in the intervening pages with entries as diverse as Collins, Michael; Linen Hall Library; Philadelphia, Here I Come (Brian Friel's first play); and Smithereens. Entries read in the usual informative, casual style typical of the Brewer family of reference works.

Each entry is completely cross-referenced within the volume. For example, the entry on Irish revolutionary Michael Collins points to those of others involved in the Irish fight for independence, the places and events of the period, and the cultural resurrection he underwent after the eponymous 1996 film of his life. The volume is not just limited to the Irish Republic, drawing as it does on some of the people, places, and events of the Northern Ireland Troubles (for example, events in Derry are cited under entries such as Bloody Sunday 1972; Bogside, Battle of the; and the Burntollet ambush).

As a volume documenting Ireland, its history, people, culture, places, and events, this is a worthy addition to any general reference collection. John Doherty
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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