Faculty of Arts


Reinventing Ireland

Please note: this is archived course information from 2012 for ENGLISH 266.


This course combines historical and theoretical frameworks to explore contemporary reinventions of Ireland and ‘Irishness’ through a range of novels, plays, short stories and poetry. Throughout the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, Ireland has serially reinvented its social and political realities. Unsurprisingly, cultural narratives of ‘Irishness’ remain in a perpetual state of revision and reconfiguration. Between the early 1990s and the present, Ireland has seen an unprecedented acceleration of cultural change. Our focus is the retrospective negotiations of Irish history and identity that characterise Irish literature of the 1990s and the 2000s and the treatment of contemporary Ireland in Irish literature since 2000.

Our explorations are based around two nodes, which reflect the dynamics of reinvention: ‘Retrospective Negotiations’ and ‘The New Ireland (?)’. ‘Retrospective negotiations’ initially pairs early twentieth century literary imaginings of Ireland with contemporary literary reinventions of Ireland and Irishness around that period. We then explore contemporary reworkings of mid-late twentieth century Ireland and the emergence of Ireland as a postcolonial nation. ‘The New Ireland (?)’ reflects on Ireland’s rapidly changing identity since the Millennium. We examine the collision between alternatively imagined communities, and the relationship between postcoloniality and multiculturalism in contemporary Irish literature.

A series of feature films will be screened across the semester in the hour following each lecture. Attendance is optional but is greatly encouraged; the films have been carefully selected to boost students' knowledge of Irish culture, history and society.

Availability 2012

Semester 2


Coordinator(s) Dr Jan Cronin


Sebastian Barry, The Steward of Christendom [play -  contained in the Methuen Drama Anthology of Irish Plays (2008)]
Elizabeth Bowen, The Last September [novel]
Seamus Deane, Reading in the Dark [novel]
Roddy Doyle, The Deportees [short stories]
Brian Friel, The Home Place [play]
Claire Keegan, Walk the Blue Fields [short stories]
Patrick McCabe, Winterwood [novel]
Martin McDonaghThe Cripple of Inishmaan [play - contained in the Methuen Drama Anthology of Irish Plays (2008)]
Eilis Ni Dhuibhne, The Dancers Dancing [novel]
Nuala Ni Dhomhnaill, The Fifty Minute Mermaid [poetry]
JM Synge, The Playboy Of The Western World [play]


Coursework (60%) and exam (40%)


ENGLISH 266: 15.0 points


30 points at Stage I in English



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