This is a collection of seventeen essasy and articles on various aspects of Irish literature which were originally published over a period of some thirty years. For the present publication, they have been revised, extended and/or translated from the German. The subjects covered range from studies of individual writers and their works (Jonathan Swift, Charles Robert Maturin, Thomas Crofton Croker, John Mitchel, William Butler Yeats, Bernard Shaw, Sean O'Casey, Sean O'Faolain, Hugh Leonard and Jennifer Johnston) to surveys of larger area such as nineteenth-century Irish poetry, the forerunners of the modern short story, the nineteenth-century novel, Irish plays about the First World War, and adaptions of Continental dramas by Irish playwrights. The concluding paper argues that the emergence of Irish literature from a colonial background over the centuries prefigures in many ways more recent developments in the 'New Literatures in English'. While the contributions have their individual merit in their own right, taken together they also reflect the growth of Irish Literary Studies as an academic discipline from the founding of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL) in 1970 to the present. day.
The author is Professor Emeritus of English and American Literature in the University of Wuppertal, Germany. From 1982 to 1985 he acted as Chairman of IASIL. Among his numerous publications on Irish subjects are Studies in Anglo-Irish Literature (1982), O'Casey the Dramatist (1985), Short Plays from Ireland (1989), Geschichte der anglo-irischen Literatur (1990), Plays and Playwrights from Ireland in International Perspective (1995) and The Theatre of War: The First World War in British and Irish Drama (2007).