Dr. Aidan O’Malley, visiting lecturer
Subject: Modern literature
Course title: Contemporary Irish Literature and Culture: Playing with the Past
ECTS credits: 6
Duration: 1 semester, 8th and 10th (2015)
Course type: lectures, seminars
This course examines a selection of the most important Irish literary and filmic texts of the last 30-40 years. At the heart of this module is an examination of how these texts play with and disrupt conceptions of the Irish past (and, indeed, of history itself). This process of unsettlement is viewed primarily from a postcolonial perspective—in terms, that is, of how this engagement with the past reflects upon contemporary Ireland. To facilitate this, students will also be introduced to important essays in the development of postcolonial discourse in Ireland.
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.
A list of suggested secondary readings will be issued in the class.
- 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
- Introduction to the course: overview of 20th-century Irish literature and history
- Documentaries: Peter Lennon (dir.), The Rocky Road to Dublin (1967); Maurice Sweeney (dir.), Flann O’Brien: The Lives of Brian(2006)
- Rethinking Irish experience in a postcolonial frame: Seamus Deane, Civilians and Barbarians (1983); Declan Kiberd, ‘A New England Called Ireland’ (from Inventing Ireland, 1995)
- Re-performing the past 1: Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman (1967)
- Re-performing the past 2: Brian Friel, Making History(1989)
- Re-performing the past 3: Terry Eagleton, Saint Oscar(1989)
- Re-performing the past 4: Thomas Kilroy, Double Cross (1986)
- Mid-term Exam
- Film 1: Neil Jordan(dir.), The Crying Game (1992),The Butcher Boy (1997),Breakfast on Pluto (2005)
- Film 2: John Crowley (dir.), Intermission (2003); Martin McDonagh (dir.), In Bruges (2008);John Michael McDonagh (dir.), Calvary (2014)
- Contemporary fiction 1: John McGahern, Amongst Women(1990)
- Contemporary fiction 2: Joseph O’Connor, Star of the Sea(2002)
- Contemporary fiction 3: Donal Ryan, The Spinning Heart(2012)
- Final Exam