In this class we’ll examine how contemporary Irish literature and film conserves, critiques, and rewrites the past. As Emilie Pine notes in The Politics of Irish Memory, the Irish obsession with the past has been creating “alternate and more complex narratives” that explore memories “that were for too long ‘forgotten,’ or sidelined, by Irish history and culture.” Particularly vexed have been such national traumas as the 1920s civil war, the violent Republican and Loyalist conflicts preceding the 1998 Good Friday Agreement, the notorious scandals connected with the Catholic church, and the economic downturn that followed the heady era of the “Celtic tiger.” And yet, culture is ever-evolving. In light of the Marriage Equality Act (2015) and a liberalizing trend in legal and social arenas, we’ll think about new ways to imagine “Irishness,” taking up fresh work by recent writers who, as Lucy Caldwell puts it, want to “experiment with and to embrace pluralities, contradictory ways of being.”
Under the headings of “Revolution, Civil War, and Memory,” “Men, Women, and the Church,” “Mythology, Fantasy, and Language,” and “Nostalgia, the Crash, and New Histories,” we’ll study such writers as Flann O’Brien, Eavan Boland, Seamus Heaney, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, Edna O’Brien, Colm Tóibín, Clare Keegan, Kevin Barry, Eimear McBride, Sally Rooney, and Yan Ge. We’ll also screen such films as The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006; Ken Loach), Bloody Sunday (2002; Paul Greengrass), Breakfast on Pluto (2005; Neil Jordan); The Magdalene Sisters (2002; Peter Mullen), Six Shooter (2004; Martin McDonagh), The Guard (2011; John Michael McDonagh), and Rose Plays Julie (2019; Christine Molloy and Joe Lawlor).
This writing Intensive course fulfills the diversity requirement for the B.A. in English Teaching at UNH Manchester, as well as the Theory/ Poetics requirement for the Literary Studies option within the Literary Arts & Studies / English studies major.