Top o’ the morning, Erin go bragh, and may the road rise to meet you! For our 50th post, we prepared a special St. Patrick’s Day Literary Quiz, celebrating Irish (or Irish-American) writers and their works. We came up with seventeen questions (in honor of March 17th), and just so you know: some are tougher than the blarney stone, and leave just as bad a taste in your mouth! Answers follow…
- What is the last story in James Joyce’s short story collection Dubliners?
- From which William Butler Yeats poem did Chinua Achebe borrow the title Things Fall Apart?
- Which Irish-born writer is famous for classic “chick-lit” novels such as Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married, Watermelon, Sushi for Beginners, and This Charming Man?
- What is the name of Jonathan Swift’s well-known satirical essay, in which he advises the Irish to sell their children for food in order to relieve the problems of famine and poverty in Ireland?
- He may not have won an EGOT (and for all non-30 Rock fans out there, that stands for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony), but Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw is the only person to have won a Nobel Prize for Literature AND an Oscar. For what film did Shaw win the Oscar?
- In Samuel Becket’s famous play, who are the two main characters who are waiting for Godot?
- How many Pulitzer prizes did Irish-American playwright Eugene O’Neill win?
- Which Seamus Heaney poem begins, “Late August, given heavy rain and sun/ For a full week, the blackberries would ripen”?
- Which best-selling Irish writer, whose sixteen novels include Glass Lake, Tara Road, and Circle of Friends, died last summer, on July 30, 2012?
- What is the title of Irish playwright Oscar Wilde’s only novel?
- Stephanie Meyer owes a blood debt to this nineteenth-century Irish-born writer, whose Dracula is the prototypical vampire novel. Who is this author?
- Which Irish writer was famous for his short stories, including “The Majesty of the Law,” “The Drunkard” and “My Oedipus Complex”?
- I am an importance voice in the literature of the American South. My stories (including “Everything That Rises Must Converge” and “A Good Man is Hard to Find”) have influenced rock-and-roll demigods Bruce Springsteen (who allegedly read my stories while writing the album Nebraska) and Bono, of the Irish supergroup U2; in fact, Bono alludes to my story “The Enduring Chill” in the lyrics of the song “One Tree Hill.” And while I was not born in Ireland, I do have Irish ancestry and an Irish last-name. Who am I?
- The “S” in “C.S. Lewis” stands for “Staples.” What does the “C” stand for? (And yes, the author of The Chronicles of Narnia was born in Belfast, Ireland.)
- Which Irish college houses the Book of Kells, an ornately decorated rendering of the Four Gospels, dating back to the Middle Ages?
- What is Gulliver’s first name in Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels?
- Who is Angela in Frank McCourt’s memoir Angela’s Ashes?
What is “Bloomsday”—the date on which James Joyce’s Ulysses is set? (a) July 2, 1902 (b) June 12, 1903 (c) June 16, 1904, or (d) July 16, 1905
- “The Dead”
- “The Second Coming” (The line is, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”)
- Marian Keyes
- “A Modest Proposal”
- Pygmalion (1938). Shaw also wrote the play on which the film is based.
- Vladimir and Estragon
- Four, for Beyond the Horizon (1920), Anna Christie (1922), Strange Interlude (1928), and Long Day’s Journey into Night (1957).
- “Blackberry Picking”
- Maeve Binchy
- The Picture of Dorian Gray
- Bram Stoker (Incidentally, his actually first name is “Abraham.”)
- Frank O’Connor
- Flannery O’Connor
- Trinity College
- Angela is the author’s mother, who is a native of Limerick, Ireland. Frank McCourt himself was born in New York, but eventually his family moved to Limerick.
Tie-Breaker: (c) June 16, 1904
How’d You Do?
15-17 Correct: Pot o’ Gold!
11-14 Correct: Shamrock-star!
6-10 Correct: Lucky Guesser
2-5 Correct: Green around the Gills
0-1 Correct: Potato Famine