English 250

Research Seminar: Writing and Reading Cultural History: Ireland in the 1930s

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
5 Spring 2011 Pine, Emily
Thurs. 3:30-6:30 102 Latimer

Other Readings and Media

Barry, S.: The Steward of Christendom; Beckett, S.: More Pricks Than Kicks; Carroll, P.: Shadow and Substance; Friel, B.: Dancing at Lughnasa; O'Brien, F.: At-Swim-Two-Birds; O'Brien, K.: Mary Lavelle; O'Connor, F.: My Father's Son; O'Malley, E.: On Another Man's Wound

Recommended: Allen, N.: Modernism, Ireland and Civil War; Brown, T.: Ireland: A Social and Cultural History; Gillis, A.: Irish Poetry of the 1930s


The primary aim of this course is to consider how we read and study literary and cultural history. The focus of the course is on the culture of Ireland in the 1930s and by the end of this course students will have a broad understanding of this culture, have a critical grasp of the international context, and the major literary and artistic theories pertinent to the study of 1930s culture. Finally, the course will concentrate on developing nuanced readings of the key texts of Irish culture in this period.

In many ways, the 1930s, as a decade of cultural, political and social expansion and upheaval, has been written out of Irish history and the course will consider how periodicity functions within literary and historical canons.

The course will be in three basic units. The first part will introduce students to the international and national political and artistic contexts. In the second, and largest, part of the course, students will study and discuss films, plays, short stories, poetry and visual art from the 1930s. The last part of the course will consider the ways in which the 1930s has been remembered and re-imagined. Each seminar will have assigned critical reading and much of this, along with hard-to-obtain primary material, will be provided. Students will be expected to give short presentations and write a 20-page paper for their assessment.

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