This course will focus on the Irish Literary Revival of c.1885-1930, during which Irish literature in the English language became firmly established as a canon clearly separate from the English tradition, and writers such as W.B.Yeats and James Joyce achieved international renown. Readings will include drama, poetry, fiction and non-fiction prose by Yeats, Synge, Joyce, George Moore, George Bernard Shaw, Lady Gregory, Douglas Hyde, Sean O’Casey and others. We will foreground key fault-lines of the period: competing visions of what constituted “authentic” Irish identity; debate over the propriety of writing in English, drawing on English literary traditions, or seeking a non-Irish audience; the work of “self-exiles”such as Shaw and Joyce, versus that of writers who stayed in Ireland; and the long-entrenched ideological and political tensions between Catholics and Protestants, and Unionists and Nationalists. Throughout, we will consider the functions and efficacy of literature in promoting cultural and/or political change. The course will conclude by considering the extraordinary vitality of current Irish literary culture, with readings of work by Seamus Heaney, Colm Toíbín and Anne Enright, and discussion of Neil Jordan’s film The Crying Game. Key considerations here will be the ways traditional notions of Irish Nationalism and national identity have been revised or abandoned under the impact of independence, economic prosperity, contemporary sexual politics and other forms of change.
The Class: Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: four papers (3+ pages for the first, rising to 6+ pages for the last), several shorter critical response papers; active participation in discussions
Extra Info: may not be taken on a pass/fail basis
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam
Enrollment Preferences: sophomores and first-year students who have not yet taken an ENGL Gateway course
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills