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Irish Culture and Politics

Class at Faculty of Arts |



The aim of this course is to provide students with an historically and socially conscious basis for their readings of Irish literature. It will examine some of the forces that have shaped and are continuing to shape modern Ireland. Literary texts will be used in conjunction with historical and cultural studies material. Discussion will focus on how political / historical discourse and cultural discourse interact in the Irish context. This interaction will be approached in terms of salient historical events and literary figures and movements such as the famine, the literary revival and the struggle for independence. The course will be structured around topics including Cultural Nationalism, perspectives on the 1916 Uprising and the Civil War, Urban-Rural tensions, Church-State affiliations, Family, Gender, Class and Northern Ireland.


The Field Day Anthology of Irish Literature will be used as well as selected material from various authors including W.B.Yeats, Lady Gregory, Sean O?Casey, J.M.Synge, Patrick Kavanagh, Seamus Heaney and Eavan Boland and others, extracts from the films Michael Collins and The Treaty. Historical texts referred to will include Robert Kee Ireland A History, R.F.Foster Modern Ireland 1600-1972 and The Oxford History of Ireland, Maria Luddy Women in Ireland 1800-1918 and J.C.Beckett The Making of Modern Ireland. Further material will be selected from Kiberd Inventing Ireland, W.J. McCormack From Burke to Beckett Ascendency Tradition and Betrayal in Literary History and Terry Eagleton Heathcliff and the Great Hunger Studies in Irish Culture.


Class presentation, attendance, and a 2500-3000 word essay.