The Begorrathon and Dewithon: A Month to Celebrate Irish and Welsh Writing

Begorrathon

Join Cathy at 746 Books to celebrate Irish writing during the month of March.

Ireland Month, or The Begorrathon as it is affectionately called, will feature book reviews, poems, plays, songs, giveaways and much more. 

You might like to join in by reading an Irish classic. Or two. Or three. Here are some you might consider.

Dracula by Bram Stoker (1897)

Famous for introducing the character of the vampire Count Dracula, the novel tells the story of Dracula’s attempt to move from Transylvania to England so he may find new blood and spread the undead curse, and the battle between Dracula and a small group of men and women led by Professor Abraham Van Helsing.

The Country Girls by Edna O’Brien (1960)

Considered the ‘doyenne’ of Irish literature, Edna O’Brien is a greatly celebrated novelist, poet, and playwright whose first work, The Country Girls, is recognized for its contribution to the development of discussions of sexuality, amongst other social issues, in a post-war period that was particularly repressive.

Ulysses by James Joyce (1922)

Ulysses chronicles the wandering appointments and encounters of Leopold Bloom in Dublin, Ireland, and it also parallels the characters and events of ancient Greek writer Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey.”

Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)

Gulliver’s Travels is a novel by Irish writer and clergyman Jonathan Swift, that is both a satire on human nature and a parody of the “travellers’ tales” literary subgenre.

Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne (1760)

Part novel, part digression, its gloriously disordered narrative interweaves the birth and life of the unfortunate ‘hero’ Tristram Shandy, the eccentric philosophy of his father Walter, the amours and military obsessions of Uncle Toby, and a host of other characters, including Dr Slop, Corporal Trim and the parson Yorick.

Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (1895)

Here is Oscar Wilde’s most brilliant tour de force, a witty and buoyant comedy of manners that has delighted millions in countless productions since its first performance in London’s St. James’ Theatre on February 14, 1895.

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1890)

In this celebrated work, his only novel, Wilde forged a devastating portrait of the effects of evil and debauchery on a young aesthete in late-19th-century England.

Dubliners by James Joyce (1914)

Joyce described the collection as his ‘nicely polished looking glass’, looking in through the windows of the lives of real people in the city and piecing them together to create a kind of map of 20th century Dublin.

Collected Poems by William Butler Yeats (1933)

As well as being one of the major literary figures of the twentieth century and the recipient of the 1923 Nobel Prize for Literature, William Butler Yeats (1865-1939) is often considered the greatest lyric poet that Ireland has produced.

The Ginger Man by J.P. Donleavy (1955)

Set in Ireland just after World War II, The Ginger Man is J. P. Donleavy’s wildly funny, picaresque classic novel of the misadventures of Sebastian Dangerfield, a young American ne’er-do-well studying at Trinity College in Dublin.

The Last September by Elizabeth Bowen (1929)

The Last September is Elizabeth Bowen’s portrait of a young woman’s coming of age in a brutalized time and place.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe  by C. S. Lewis (1950)

The fictional world of Narnia was inspired by the incredible Mourne Mountains of County Down, and it was written by an author from Belfast.

Others you may consider:

The Third Policeman by Flann O’Brien
At Swim-Two-Birds by Flann O’Brien
Castle Rackrent by Maria Edgeworth
The Tain translated by Ciaran Carson
The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch
Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith
The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde
The Happy Prince by Oscar Wilde

 

Welsh flag texture crumpled up

The people of Wales celebrate St. David’s Day annually on 1st March – the date of our patron saint’s death in 589 CE. In honor of this traditional anniversary, and also in recognition of the time of year when daffodils (the national flower of Wales) explode into bloom, we will hold our second Dewithon – Dewi being the diminutive form of the Welsh name Dafydd (David).

Throughout March 2020 the international book blogging community will be invited to write about the literature of Wales. This will include reviews and articles about novels, non-fiction publications, short story anthologies, biographical works (by or about Welsh writers), travelogues, volumes of poetry (or single poems), essay collections, or indeed any texts with a meaningful connection to Wales.

Paula of Book Jotter will host Dewithon here.

What classic books by Welsh authors might you consider?

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl (1961)

After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no fun, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen.

Collected Poems by Dylan Thomas (1953)

This book is considered the definitive edition of the poet’s work.

Feet in Chains by Kate Roberts (1936) 

Spanning a 40-year period ending during the First World War, Feet in Chains is a compelling saga of family life in the slate quarries of north Wales.

The Mabinogion by Anonymous (13th Century)

Set in dual realms of the forests and valleys of Wales and the shadowy otherworld, the tales are permeated by a dreamlike atmosphere.

How Green Was My Valley by Richard Llewellyn (1939)

Huw Morgan remembers the days when his home valley was prosperous, verdant, and beautiful—before the mines came to town. The youngest son of a respectable mining family in South Wales, he is now the only one left in the valley, and his reminiscences tell the story of a family and a town both defined and ruined by the mines.

The Rebecca Rioter by Amy Dillwyn (1880)

This story tells the tale of Evan Williams, a young working-class man struggling to come to terms with the injustice and social inequalities of the world he lives in.

The Problems of Philosophy by Bertrand Russell (1912)

This little book is an intelligible and stimulating guide to those problems of philosophy which often mistakenly lead to its status as too lofty and abstruse for the lay mind.

The Black Venus by Rhys Davies (1944)

The Black Venus is the story of a young woman put on trial for the crime of “courting in bed” or “bundling.”

 

Please share other classic Irish and Welsh books in the comments.

11 thoughts on “The Begorrathon and Dewithon: A Month to Celebrate Irish and Welsh Writing

  1. Some suggestions….for #ReadingIrelandMonth20
    Jennifer Johnston ‘Two Moons” (mother-daughter relationship…light but insightful)
    Jess Kidd “Hoarder” amusing….with the saints an angels to the rescue!
    John McGahern ‘Memoir” …..very good (non-fiction)
    Ruádhan MacCormaic The Supreme Court (Ireland) …journalist Irish Times give the reader a gripping inside story of Irish judiciary….that changed the country forever! Writing style: NOT academic…very accesible (non-fiction)
    Gerard Fanning (poet) …little known …but gosh, this man knows how to express emotion in a few nuanced lines. I read “Water & Power” (review on blog dd. 29April 2019)
    Erin Go Bragh!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thanks for highlighting our authors from Wales. Sorry to be a pain but if the list is based on authors from Wales rather than books set here, the. How Green Is My Valley is not really a Welsh classic. Llewelyn wasn’t born in Wales nor lived here.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m planning on reading Under Milkwood for Dewithon & I’ve just pulled out an older book of Colm Toibin, The Heather Blazing for Begorrathon. I may even squeeze in some William Trevor short stories.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are set for 50 per page, with the newest comment at the front of the line. Feel free to explore and chat! :-)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.