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I have really mixed feelings on this title. It's obvious that George O'Brien knows his subject matter and he is interesting to listen to. He also does a great job explaining the history behind the world that Yeats, Joyce, Beckett, and Wilde lived in. The problem is that O'Brien assumes you've recently read the titles he discusses. While I HAVE read most of the books and poetry he analyzes, it's been quite a few years since I've done so, and therefore a lot of what O'Brien says simply goes over my head.
Other The Modern Scholar professors will give the listener a brief overview of the book or poem that they're about to discuss, so the listener can follow the lecture even if she isn't familiar with the text. Not so for The Giants of Irish Literature. O'Brien delves straight into analysis without any sort of text overview. He doesn't even read an excerpt of the scene he is about to discuss.
Of course, you COULD read the books and poems he discusses before you listen to lecture. Heck, you could probably go online and read a decent summary of the texts too. But personally, I prefer it when The Modern Scholar lecturer will give the listener a brief overview of what s/he's about to discuss.
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