Course Spotlight: Irish Film & Literature


EN 275 / IRE 204 Irish Literature & Film (W 6:00 – 9:15) seeks to examine works of Irish cinema in light of a selection of writings from major twentieth century Irish authors. Our study will begin with the writings of the Irish Revival and move on to contemporary works so as to establish a scholarly understanding of recent interpretations and adaptations of these materials. After addressing the fundamental questions regarding
how to study Irish narratives, we will go on to topical analysis of works dealing with central issues in Irish Studies and Irish cinema, including: the War of Independence and Civil War (Michael Collins, The Wind That Shakes The Barley); The Northern Irish Crisis / Anglo-Irish Relations (The Crying Game, The Boxer), urban life / dystopia (Adam & Paul, Intermission) and other topics as appropriate.

Women’s Voices, Irish Writing: 300 Years Of Speaking Out

Angela Bourke final flyer

Dr. Angela Bourke, author of The Burning of Bridget Cleary and Maeve Brennan: Homesick at the New Yorker, will examine the disruptive effects of Irish women’s voices from the 18th century to the present. Focusing on representative individuals across the period, Bourke will begin with oral lament poetry before turning to the modern era and figures such as Bridget Cleary, Molly Ivors in James Joyce’s “The Dead,” Irish-born Maeve Brennan of The New Yorker, and contemporary Irish poet Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill.

Wednesday, November 8, 4:30-5:30 PM
Richardson Library, Room 300

Bourke has published creative and non-fiction work in both English and the Irish language. She teaches at UCD and has been a visiting professor at a number of American universities. Bourke was a co-editor of volumes 4 and 5 of the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing and is a member of the Royal Irish Academy.

Winter Quarter Course Update; Study Joyce, Yeats, and the Irish Revival!

We hope you are enjoying your winter break! If you are taking December Intersession courses, hopefully you’re learning a lot and studying hard!

A heads up that a new course has been added to the Winter Quarter offerings: ENG 354/ 382 The Irish Revival: Joyce and Yeats. The course can also count for ENG 350 credit. See the description below!

*The course is taught by James Murphy and meets Monday/Wednesday 2:40-4:10*

The Irish Revival was one of the most exciting periods in literary history, raising issues of national identity and cultural mobilization that resonate more broadly. It also produced some of the greatest writers in the English language, most notably the poet W.B. Yeats and the novelist James Joyce.

W.B. Yeats

In the three decades before Irish independence in 1922 Ireland underwent an enormous cultural revival. Attempts were made to turn the dying Irish language into a living vernacular, to revive the Irish countryside through the co-operative movement and to revitalise nationalist politics in a variety of ways. It was an era of polemic over what it meant to be Irish and how a ‘Celtic’ or Gaelic element might fit into that identity, as urban intellectuals turned their imaginations to the impoverished and hitherto neglected west of Ireland as a source for cultural energy.

James Joyce

A group of Anglo-Irish writers including W.B. Yeats, J.M Synge and Lady Gregory attempted to create a new Irish poetry and drama in the English language, particularly through the Abbey Theatre in Dublin. They encountered opposition from those who suspected their motives and provenance in the former ruling class, the Protestant Ascendancy.   This course examines the Irish Revival and pays particular attention to the work of Synge and of Yeats. It traces Yeats’s later career as a great poet and the perennial but problematic presence in his poetry of his beloved Maud Gonne, the political radical.

The course also explores the work of two fiction writers of the time, James Joyce and George Moore. Joyce stood apart from the revival and struggled with the legacy of the Dublin from which he had come and which he saw as a centre of paralysis in order to forge an artistic identity for himself. Moore had initially been part of the revival but then became a skeptic.

Glenn Close as Albert Nobbs

Since the recent film, ‘Albert Nobbs’ (2011), with Glenn Close, there has been renewed interest in his fiction, much of which explores issue of gender and sexuality.