A small island nation, Ireland has for more than a hundred years commanded an unusual place of honor in the world of literature. Beyond the fact that it is home to 4 Nobel prize-winning writers (and the greatest English-language writer never to win the Nobel, James Joyce), Ireland stands out because literature has played such a central role in its history and in all the major social and political struggles of the past century. This course surveys a range of modern Irish writing, from the so-called Irish Renaissance of the early 1900s to the Celtic Tiger era of the early 2000s. We will be exploring several distinctive Irish themes and topics, including art and violence, literature and nationalism, language and territory, sexuality and citizenship, and gender and tradition. Readings and lectures will provide historical background and social contexts for the following main texts: Bram Stoker's Dracula, W.B. Yeats's Selected Poems, J.M. Synge's Playboy of the Western World, James Joyce's Dubliners, Brian Friel's Translations, Roddy Doyle's A Star Called Henry, Patrick McCabe's Breakfast on Pluto, and Anne Enright's The Gathering. In addition, we will consider poetry, short fiction, and plays by Oscar Wilde, Lady Gregory, Samuel Beckett, G.B. Shaw, Elizabeth Bowen, Seamus Heaney, Nuala Ní Dhomnaill, Marina Carr, and Conor McPherson as well as a small cluster of films such as The Crying Game(1992), In the Name of the Father (1993), Michael Collins (1996), and The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006). Written requirements will include weekly quizzes, a 10-12 page research paper, and two essay exams.