Blasket Biographies

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

As Blasket Biographies ( English for "Blasket-Biographien", Irish Beathaisnéisí an Bhlascaoid ) is a group of autobiographical books written in the course of the 20th century by people who spent most of their lives on the Blasket Islands before the Irish coast. Most of these people lived on the main island, the Great Blasket Island ( Irish name An Blascaod Mór , pron. [ Ən 'blaskeːd' moːr ]).

These works were initially celebrated by Irish literary criticism for their high level of linguistic originality and the detailed depiction of an allegedly completely archaic way of life. The Irish in these books was considered particularly pure and lexically and idiomatically rich and poorly Anglicized . Its content was particularly interesting for anthropologists , who often (but probably wrongly) saw it as evidence of a culture on the edge of Europe that was perceived as Stone Age . In recent years, however, there has been a change in which the works are judged less according to anthropological or sociological , and more according to purely literary criteria . In this regard, the works have far less to offer, as they mostly trace the lives of simple people. It must be noted, however, that the works were probably not written with literary ambition, but as testimonies to life. At least in the case of Tomás Ó Criomhthain , the biography was created under the guidance and encouragement of anthropologically interested linguists such as the Norwegian Carl Marstrander or the English Robin Flower .

There are around 14 autobiographical works by Blasket residents as well as some secondary literature . The following are considered to be the most significant:

  • Tomás Ó Criomhthain (Tomás O'Crohan), An tOileánach , 1929. ( Eng. The boats no longer go out , Lamuv 1983.)
  • Muiris Ó Súilleabháin (Maurice O'Sullivan), Fiche Bliain ag Fás , 1933. ( Eng. "Inselheimat", Manesse 1956 or "The sea is full of the most beautiful things", Lamuv 2000.)
  • Peig Sayers , Peig , 1936. ( Eng . "As Irish as I", Lamuv 1996.)

Note: The German translations are all based on the English translations & # 150; Tomás O'Crohan: The Islandman (Oxford 1951), Maurice O'Sullivan: Twenty Years A-Growing (Oxford 1953) and Peig Sayers: Peig (Dublin 1974).

Annemarie Böll and Heinrich Böll , who had a second home on an island in north-west Ireland, translated Tomás O'Crohan's boats in 1960 .


  • Robin Flower : The Western Island, or, The Great Blasket , Oxford 1944.