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Introduction to Modern Irish Literature

ENGL 063.001
instructor(s):
MWF 2:00

This course will offer an introduction to the literature of Ireland, beginning with the late nineteenth century and continuing through the twentieth century. The course will situate modern Anglo-Irish literature within its historical context, in order to raise questions about how this literature responds to and engages with political, social, and cultural issues and events. We will explore the means by which Irish writers have contributed to efforts toward a political and cultural autonomy for Ireland, and how they have addressed differences of class, language, and religion within Ireland. We will pay special attention to the way that various conceptions of the home and the family participate in larger debates and discussions about cultural nationalism and Ireland's relationship to the British empire. We will also examine how writers have revisited themes and genres - such as the big house novel - from a later historical perspective. No prior knowledge of Irish history is expected. Texts to be studied in this course will be drawn from a variety of genres, including short stories, novels, plays, poetry, essays, and possibly film, and will include such authors as W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, Somerville and Ross, J. M. Synge, Lady Gregory, Sean O'Casey, Elizabeth Bowen, Molly Keane, Mary Lavin, and others. Course requirements will include participation both in class and through an electronic listserv, several short papers (5-7 pages), a presentation, and a final exam.