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Modern Irish Literature I: The Literary Revival and Its Aftermath

Class at Faculty of Arts |



An advanced survey course that examines the principal ideas of the Irish Literary Revival, their subsequent transformation in the official policies of the nascent Irish Free State, and their eventual critique by prominent authors of younger generations. The initial discussion of the role of Celticism in the Revival and the formation of an

Irish national theatre will be followed by a detailed work of contemporaneous playwrights whose attitudes to the standard revivalist idealization of the Irish countryside and its people were decidedly more ambivalent (J.M. Synge,

Denis Johnston, Bernard Shaw). The next part of the course looks at the critical voices of younger poets and prose writers and their satirical perspectives, to be followed by the re-visitation of revivalist concepts by the Field Day group in relation to the Troubles, and finally an outline of the variegated legacies of the Revival in the work of contemporary authors.

SCHEDULE 2 Oct. Introduction OP/CW 9 Oct. Celticism OP

James Macpherson, Fragments of Ancient Poetry (Fragment V, VIII, XIII); Douglas Hyde, “The Necessity of De-

Anglicising Ireland”; W.B. Yeats, The Celtic Twilight; “The Celtic Element in Literature” 16 Oct. The Foundation of the Irish National Theatre OP

The Irish Literary Theatre “manifesto”; W.B. Yeats, The Countess Cathleen; Cathleen ni Houlihan 23 Oct. J.M. Synge OP

J.M. Synge, The Shadow of the Glen; Riders to the Sea; The Playboy of the Western World 30 Oct. Lady Gregory CW

Lady Gregory, Cuchulain of Muirthemne (extracts); Grania, Dervorgilla 6 Nov. Guest Lecture Dr Christina Hunt Mahony (Trinity College Dublin)

“Twentieth Century Irish Literary Autobiography—The Legacy of Yeats and Joyce” 13 Nov. Bernard Shaw CW

Bernard Shaw, John Bull’s Other Island 20 Nov. Denis Johnston OP

Denis Johnston, The Old Lady Says “No!” 27 Nov. Flann O’Brien/Myles na gCopaleen OP

Flann O’Brien/Myles na gCopaleen, The Poor Mouth; extracts from Cruiskeen Lawn 4 Dec. Field Day OP

Seamus Deane, Introduction to the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing; “Heroic Styles: The Tradition of an Idea”;

Brian Friel, Translations 11 Dec. Contemporary Drama CW

Conor McPherson The Weir

Martin McDonagh The Cripple of Inishmaan

Marina Carr Portia Coughlan 18 Dec. reserve

Course Requirements:

Students are expected to attend classes, read the materials assigned and to participate in discussions. Each student will give a 15 to 25 minute presentation.


Final essays for Credit (Záp.) should be 2500-3000 words. Students who wish to earn also an exam grade in the subject must submit an additional research paper of 4500-5000 words.The topic of any essay must be consulted with the course instructors in advance. Deadline: Essays should be submitted by 14 January 2013. If you require an extension, you need to write to one of us in advance and explain why you need more time.

MLA format for citations and bibliographies is strictly required (for guidelines, please refer to the relevant section of the department website). Papers without proper references will not be marked.

Study programmes