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For a small country, Ireland has a remarkable literary tradition. Students will examine some of the most distinguished and innovative Irish literature in English since the eighteenth century. They will attend to how literary texts respond to key social, political, and historical issues: including the Act of Union and the struggle for independence, colonialism and postcolonialism, gender, class and religious relations, the cultural revival and counter-revival, and the Irish ‘Troubles’, the Catholic Church. Authors may include Jonathan Swift, Eibhlín Dhubh Ní Chonaill (Evelyn O’Connell), Maria Edgeworth, James Clarence Mangan, W.B. Yeats, J.M. Synge, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney and others. While Irish, these writers are also responsive to British and European political and intellectual developments. This subject will bring together the national and international dimensions of their work, asking what it means to conceptualise and debate a national literature. The subject examines a range of genres, including fiction, autobiography, drama, poetry and the essay. It will produce an understanding of the Irish literary tradition in an international context and develop capacity to reflect on the relationship between literature, politics and culture.
Intended learning outcomes
On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Understand the literary responses to cultural, social, and political developments in Ireland;
- Communicate appropriate literary critical, historical and theoretical concepts in relation to Irish Literature;
- Research and analyse past and present cultural and literary debates in and about Ireland;
- Appreciate formal and generic conventions and innovations in a selection of Irish literary texts.
At the completion of this subject, students should gain the following generic skills:
- Be able to apply new research skills and critical methods to a field of inquiry;
- Develop critical self-awareness and the capacity to shape and strengthen persuasive arguments;
- Communicate arguments and ideas effectively and articulately, both in writing and to others.
Last updated: 16 March 2020