English R1B

Reading and Composition: “So this is Dyoublong?”: Reading Modern Ireland

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
16 Spring 2013 Tazudeen, Rasheed
TTh 9:30-11 225 Wheeler

Book List

Beckett, Samuel: Waiting for Godot; Bowen, Elizabeth: The Last September; Enright, Anne: What Are You Like?; Harrington, John P.: Modern Irish Drama; Joyce, James: Dubliners; Wilde, Oscar: The Importance of Being Earnest

Other Readings and Media

Neil Jordan, The Crying Game (film); Ken Loach, The Wind that Shakes the Barley (film); Course Reader with selections from Samuel Beckett, Seamus Deane, Lady Augusta Gregory, Seamus Heaney, Douglas Hyde, Declan Kiberd, J.M. Synge, and W.B. Yeats.  All titles subject to change.


James Joyce claimed in a 1907 lecture that “No one who has any self-respect stays in Ireland, but flees afar as though from a country that has undergone the visitation of an angered Jove.” Literary critic Declan Kiberd writes that the Irish in the early twentieth century “suffered from a homeless mind.”  As both a colony of England and an agent of the British Empire that participated in England’s colonial missions abroad and its wars in Europe, as a country comprised of both a “native” Irish-Catholic population and an Anglo-Protestant settler class each vying for political and cultural dominance over the other, and as a population of citizens who more often left Ireland and claimed identification with America, England, and the European continent than remained in the country, Ireland had no simple and self-evident national identity to fall back on.  The response of several of the writers we will explore in this course, from Oscar Wilde, W.B. Yeats, and James Joyce in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries to Brian Friel, Seamus Heaney, and Anne Enright at the turn of the millennium, was to use literature and drama to invent an Irish identity out of this chaotic tangle of competing national, cultural, religious, sexual, racial, and ethnic affiliations.  In this course, we will explore the role of literature in producing and contesting ideas of “Irish” identity, challenging the racial, sexual, and cultural norms of both English imperialism and Irish nationalism, and above all, asking the pervasive and timeless question: what does it mean to belong?

The primary goal of this class is to improve your writing skills and your ability to construct complex ideas and interesting arguments and develop them in your essays.  We will concentrate on mechanics and style, learning how to read closely, formulate arguments, gather evidence, and organize claims into persuasive essays.  Course assignments will include a minimum of 32 pages of writing divided among a number of short essays and culminating in a longer research paper. 

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