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Irish Literature

ENGL 063.001
instructor(s):
MWF 1-2

This course will aim at a comparative approach to Irish literature and culture in the twentieth century, a time of intense political, economic, and literary change to which many Irish writers and thinkers turned their imaginative attention. To do so, we will study James Joyce's *Ulysses* (1922), reading it in its entirety and focusing on the formal and thematic issues it raises, but through the contextual lens of Irish writing from the eighty years between the book's original publication date and the present day. How have Irish writers grappled with the legacy of Ulysses, at once invigorating and crippling? How do we as contemporary readers scrupulously attend to the concerns of a book written to a different day? Some of the issues that will structure the course will be: violence, its aftermath, and the consequences of saying yes; the competing demands of nationalism, modernization, and political stagnation; allegiance, betrayal, and patriotism; and textual responses to historical upheaval. Texts will be drawn from among the works of Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bowen, Ciaran Carson, James Joyce, Molly Keane, Thomas Kinsella, Louis MacNeice, Flann O'Brien, Frank O'Connor, Joseph O'Neill, and others; primary readings will be augmented by film screenings and short background readings in Irish history and political science. No prior knowledge of Irish history, politics, or literature is required. Course requirements will include class participation, five short in-class quizzes, two 6-10 page essays, and various shorter writing assignments.