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Twenty Years A-Growing (Oxford Paperbacks) Paperback – 17 Feb 1983

4.6 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford; New Ed edition (17 Feb. 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0192813250
  • ISBN-13: 978-0192813251
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 2.3 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 156,394 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

Review

I was fascinated by the language of the book, originally written in Irish: much of the idiom of that language had been retained in the English Translation (Paul Buttle - The Independent)

Part of a unique and remarkable Irish literary archive ... compelling. (Neil Johnston, Belfast Telegraph, 24/6/00)

About the Author

About the Author Maurice O'Sullivan


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4.6 out of 5 stars
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Format: Paperback
With encouragement from Linguistic scholar George Thomson who visited the western Blasket Isles off Ireland's Kerry coast in 1923, Muiris O'Sullivan writes an insider's account of the last of the ancient celtic lives. It is full of sadness and gentle glimpses of close family and community life but, surprisingly, its most compelling feature is the humour and the modesty of understatement.
In an introduction to the English translation, E.M. Forster writes that Moya Llewelyn Davies (one of the two translators from the original Irish) "is in sensitive touch with the instincts of her countryside".
I have enjoyed both the English and the Irish editions and believe that Moya was the key to the lightness and the lustre of the translation.
Moya was a great "natural" gaelic scholar. Like George, Moya gets a mention in the text when Muiris (the young islander) visits Dublin for the first time. He stays at Moya's "castle" in Killester on the outskirts of the city. O'Sullivan and Moya were life-long friends. In time, I believe the reputation of O'Sullivan will grow to the point where his anthropological masterpiece will become a cornerstone work for serious students of social studies and indeed I believe it has great potential as a more widely-read piece of complete entertainment.
Moya Llewelyn Davies is an almost forgotton figure in Irish History despite her intimate closeness to Michael Collins and her pivitol role in the independence movement and the Anglo-Irish peace process of 1921.
Moya's story ("magnificent lamp alight above the door") will be told soon and it would be fitting if her portrait could hang alongside O'Sullivan's and Thomson's in the National Gallery in Dublin where they belong.
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By Bob Salter TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 8 Mar. 2009
Format: Paperback
At the most Westerly tip of Europe; situated just off the tip of the Dingle peninsula in the very South West of Ireland, watched over by the mighty Mount Brandon, there lies an Island that stands like a whales back riding just above the storm tossed waters of the Atlantic. The Island is constantly assailed by the corrosive powers of wind and rain. The next landfall West is the Eastern American seaboard where so many people of Irish descent now live. On this Island there are deserted cottages where people once lived. It was a hard unforgiving life which the younger generation were unable to continue. Now only seagulls and a steady trickle of tourists visit this beautiful desolate place. This Island and its surrounding Islets are known as The Blasket Islands. The main Island is the Great Blasket, and it was here that a small community eked out a hard existence from the sea. The Island is also remarkable for the number of authors that it produced. Maurice O'Sullivan the author of this book is perhaps the best known but there is also Thomas O'Crohan and Peig Sayers. They were all Irish Gaelic speaking and were brought up in a strong oral story telling tradition that is thousands of years old. In this way by means of story tellers were the classics of Homer originally recited, and it is to this tradition the works of the Blaskets are akin.

"Twenty Years A-Growin" first published in 1933, is rich in human observation and family bonds. It chronicles a now sadly lost way life. That O'Sullivan loved the life is clear from his book. It has a remarkable style and lyrical quality no doubt gleaned from from the folk tales he heard at his Grandfathers fireside. These must have sharpened an already lively imagination.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Not the usual type of book I read. However, it was recommended by a friend and I found it very interesting. I enjoyed it. Further I suggested a friend in the USA read it and she couldn't put it down and said she read it along with referring to Google Earth to better understand the location.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Maurice O'Sullivan was there in front of you leading through every moment of this enjoyable book.
It was while reading another book whose Author mentioned how much he had loved it that brought me to read
this beautiful book I am so pleased I did...
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Format: Paperback
Sometimes you pick up a book, blow the dust from it and find inside not just words, but a living account of vanished lives. O'Sullivan documents his childhood on the mainland, his growth amongst the Islands and easy acceptance into a way of life that is no longer with us. The joy of bird hunting, the terror of the cliffs and the scree. His superstition and musha, his turn of phrase all combine in this delicate translation to reveal a rich peat-steeped tradition, where coin meant little and family was everything.
His book is a valuable glimpse of an Ireland that is gone, an old Ireland; one that will no longer open its doors to the casual observer. One that has gone the way of the turf and the curragh. Ireland's literary tradition is without peer, more so when one considers the few that called her home; and this is yet another wonderful work brimming with beauty and humour.
Inside is the raw uncut Ireland, long before tourism tainted her waters, and politicians ruined her clothes. Every page inspires with its simplicity yet delightful prose and warmth.
A gem, that gleams long in the memory, well after the last page has whispered to a close.
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