Denis Donoghue has been a key figure in Irish studies and an important public intellectual in Ireland, the UK and US throughout his career. These essays represent the best of his writing and operate in conversation with one another. He probes the questions of Irish national and cultural identity that underlie the finest achievements of Irish writing in all genres. Together, the essays form an unusually lively and far-reaching study of three crucial Irish writers - Swift, Yeats and Joyce - together with other voices including Mangan, Beckett, Trevor, McGahern and Doyle. Donoghue's forceful arguments, deep engagement with the critical tradition, buoyant prose and extensive learning are all exemplified in this collection. This book is essential reading for all those interested in Irish literature and culture and its far-reaching effects on the world.