This course is a general introduction to modern Irish literature. After a brief survey of ancient and early modern works and authors, we'll focus on the Irish Literary Revival and its aftermath (1880-1940). The reading list includes works of visionary intensity and stark realism, passion and irreverence, humor and high drama. We'll be paying special attention to the role of literature in forging a distinct national and personal identity, and to the unique contributions of Irish writers to modern British literary culture. The course will be especially useful to students who wish to study further the Irish masters of British modernism (Yeats, Joyce, and Beckett) or contemporaries such as recent Nobel-prize winner Seamus Heaney.
Requirements and grading:
--memorize (and recite) 50 (or more) lines of poetry by W. B. Yeats: this task is the midterm and must be completed by 11/17 (one grade unit); --attendance, quizzes, short written assignments (one grade unit); --final (two grade units).
Texts: The Tain, Ciaran Carson tr. (Penguin) or Thomas Kinsella tr. (Oxford ppb). Maria Edgeworth, Castle Rackrent (Oxford, World's Classics). W. B. Yeats, The Yeats Reader (Scribner). J. M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World (Dover Thrift); James Joyce, Dubliners (Dover Thrift); Flann O'Brien, The Poor Mouth (Dalkey Archive Press). Look for inexpensive used/online purchases!