Department of English

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358-001 Postcolonial Literature: Nationalism, Rebellion, and Decolonization in Modern Irish Literature

358-001 Postcolonial Literature: Nationalism, Rebellion, and Decolonization in Modern Irish Literature
Instructor: Stewart Cole
Description:

Despite Ireland’s almost 400-year occupation by the British (not to mention the waves of invaders that preceded them – the Vikings in the 9th century and the Normans in the 12th, for instance), Irish literature is not always thought of as “postcolonial.” Focusing on the literature of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Ireland, this course will examine works written in the lead-up to the 1922 establishment of the Irish Free State, in its immediate aftermath, and in the nearly hundred years since, with a view to investigating how the specter of being invaded, occupied, or colonized has haunted and continues to haunt the Irish imagination. The works we will study – of poetry, drama, and prose fiction – range from coming-of-age stories to political fantasies to tales of love and revenge (and sometimes all three at once!), and while we certainly will attend to their specific differences in genre and technique, we will always do so with a view to interrogating the crucial role that the presence and memory of occupation by and conflict with Britain plays in shaping their aesthetic approaches.

Works to be studied include:
W.B. Yeats, Selected Poetry and Prose
James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Elizabeth Bowen, The Last September
William Trevor, Fools of Fortune
Edna O'Brien, Wild Decembers
...and more.

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