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Modern Irish Literature

ENGL 1111.001
MW 3:30-4:59pm

This is a study of one of the great literary cultures of the world. It is full of intense material – moving stories, beautiful poems, searing films, and funny plays. It might well be called “Irish Lit: the Hungry, the Haunted, and the Humorous.” Modern Ireland commands an unusual place of honor in world literature, punching far above its weight. Home to four Nobel prize-winning writers (and the greatest English-language writer never to win the Nobel, James Joyce), Ireland stands out because the literary imagination has played such a central role in its social history. It also stands out because Irish artists have played such a central role in defining new forms, genres, and styles of writing – famous across the globe -- for the last 150 years. Even now, Irish materials are at the center of some of the best writing of our new-ish century. Poetry and novels, films and plays – all four of these have unusually strong and fascinating traditions in Irish culture, and we will study them all. The class will survey modern Irish writing starting with the Celtic Revivals of the early 1900s and running all the way to 2022. We will explore distinctive Irish themes such as beauty and violence, language and territory, sexuality and citizenship, famine and excess, gender and tradition, colonial domination and national revolt.


English Major Requirements
  • Sector 2 Difference and Diaspora (AEDD)
  • Sector 5 19th Century (AE19)
  • Sector 6 20th & 21st Centuries (AE20)
English Concentration Attributes
  • 20th-21st Century Concentration (AE21)
College Attributes
  • Foundational Approach: Cross Cultural Analysis (AUCC)