From Jonathan Swift to Eimear McBride, and passing the countless Joyce, Yeats, Shaw, Beckett, and other Wildes, there is certainly no shortage of famous names in the Irish literary canon. But beyond native pride, and the minute fragments of information they’ve kept over from their school days (the kind you occasionally still show off to bystanders when you need to impress them), what do the Irish really know about them? Barely more than you, as it turns out.
There is little doubt that Irish literary tradition has, over the past 100 years or so, consistently been one of the most daring and creative forces in literature. But what do the Irish themselves make of it? We asked a few Dubliners we passed by on the street what they know—or don’t—about their countrymen’s work.