Derek Hand's A History of the Irish Novel is a major work of criticism on some of the greatest and most globally recognisable writers of the novel form. Writers such as Laurence Sterne, James Joyce, Elizabeth Bowen, Samuel Beckett and John McGahern have demonstrated the extraordinary intellectual range, thematic complexity and stylistic innovation of Irish fiction. Derek Hand provides a remarkably detailed picture of the Irish novel's emergence in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. He shows the story of the genre is the story of Ireland's troubled relationship to modernisation. The first critical synthesis of the Irish novel from the seventeenth century to the present day, this is a major book for the field, and the first to thematically, theoretically and contextually chart its development. It is an essential, entertaining and highly original guide to the history of the Irish novel.
Whisky, A Very Peculiar History' takes a sideways look at this most inebriating beverage from its simplistic origins to its pride of place in the drinks cabinets of the world. When Henry VIII disbanded the monasteries and let those brewing monks out into the wilderness, he had no idea of the kind of beast he'd unleashed. Whisky was used as a medicine, giving 'the glow of apparent well-being' and even horses were known to be given a dram here and there (although via the kneecaps). Featuring quirky tales of whisky's development and refining through the ages and detailed stories about its effect on the common man and woman, 'Whisky, A Very Peculiar History' delivers a warm aftertaste of hilarity with every shot of fact.
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