Contemporary Irish Literature and Culture ARCH

Dr. Aidan O’Malley, visiting lecturer
Subject: Modern literature
Course title: Contemporary Irish Literature and Culture
ECTS credits: 6
Language:  English
Duration: 1 semester, 8th and 10th
Status: elective
Course type: lectures, seminars

This course examines a selection of the most important contemporary Irish literary and filmic texts, and frames them in terms of the some of the most significant cultural and political debates that have taken place in the country over the last 30-40 years: the Northern Irish ‘Troubles’, the influence of postcolonial discourse, gender and the position of women writers, the language question, immigration and the recent economic crisis.
With one exception, the novels to be examined are placed at the end of this course in order to allow time for these to be read. Students intending to take this module should immediately acquire and read Flann O’Brien’s novel, The Third Policeman.

Course Requirements

  • 10-15 minute oral presentation
  • Mid-term exam (you are not permitted to answer the question on the text you presented)
  • Final exam (you are not permitted to answer the question on the text you presented)
  • 2,000 word essay based on your presentation. Plagiarism will result in a fail grade.
  • Attendance and participation in class

Course Outline

  1. Introduction to the course
  2. An Outlier: Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman (1967)
  3. Postcolonial Thinking: Seamus Deane, Civilians and Barbarians (1983); Declan Kiberd, ‘A New England Called Ireland’ (from Inventing Ireland, 1995)
  4. Northern Ireland 1: Frank McGuinness, Observe the Sons of Ulster Marching Towards the Somme (1985)
  5. Northern Ireland 2: Seamus Heaney, selected poems
  6. Northern Ireland 3: Brian Friel, Translations (1980)
  7. Mid-term exam
  8. Irish Women’s Writing 1: Gerardine Meaney, ‘Women and Writing, 1700-1960’, The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Vol. V, pp. 765-71 (2002); Eavan Boland, ‘Outside History’ (in Object Lessons, 1995)
  9. Irish Women’s Writing 2: Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, selected poems
  10.  Irish Women’s Writing 3: Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, selected poems
  11.  Irish film: John Ford, dir., The Quiet Man (1952); Martin McDonagh, dir., In Bruges (2008)
  12.  Contemporary Irish Fiction 1: John McGahern, Amongst Women (1990)
  13.  Contemporary Irish Fiction 2: Joseph O’Connor, Star of the Sea (2002)
  14.  Contemporary Irish Fiction 3: Donal Ryan, The Spinning Heart (2012)

Final Exam