Séadna (Cois Life, 2011) 12 June 2011 – Posted in: Uncategorised

Interview with Maighréad Uí Lionáird about Séadna

Interviewer: Liam Ó Muirthile

Séadna is one of the great classics of modern Irish prose, a version of the Faust legend in a retelling from the beginning of the twentieth century, it is often referred to as the first, proper modern Irish novel. Those who are familiar with it have usually read the abridged, school version and have a (perhaps grudging) fondness for the cobbler who makes a deal with ‘An Fear Dubh’.

This edition allows an altogether more nuanced version of the story to emerge, one which portrays more fully life in the countryside, the earthy, hearty approach to life which hasn’t come across in the historical or literary theses, a philosophy of life deeply rooted in the culture of ordinary folk.

One measure of what constitutes a classic – which Séadna undobtedly is – is whether it provides us with a way of seeing the present in the context of what has changed in the interim.

Séadna certainly does this – the rest is up to us.

This edition is by Prof. Liam Mac Mathúna and contains an expanded, revised introduction. An audiobook of the unabridged version of Séadna, read byMaighréad Uí Lionáird, is also being published separately by Cois Life at the same time as Prof. Mac Mathúna’s new edition.

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