Introduction to Irish literature - AAA132005E
Poslední úprava: prof. Mgr. Ondřej Pilný, Ph.D. (16.09.2019)
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A survey course designed to introduce some of Ireland’s major authors and discuss their work in its broader cultural and political context (Irish, Anglophone, and European respectively).
1 Oct Introduction
8 Oct James Joyce, “The Dead”
15 Oct J.M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World
22 Oct W.B. Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” “Sailing to Byzantium”
29 Oct W.B. Yeats, “Meditations in Time of Civil War”
5 Nov Frank O’Connor, “Guests of the Nation,” “First Confession”
12 Nov Elizabeth Bowen, “Sunday Afternoon,” “Hand in Glove”
19 Nov Patrick Kavanagh, The Great Hunger
26 Nov Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman
3 Dec Samuel Beckett, All That Fall
10 Dec Seamus Heaney, “North,” “Punishment,” “Strange Fruit”
17 Dec Martin McDonagh, The Cripple of Inishmaan
7 Jan Arthur Riordan & Bell Helicopter, Improbable Frequency
James Joyce, “The Dead”
1. What are Gabriel’s greatest worries before and during Misses Morkan’s dance? List at least four of these. 2. Pay attention to the occurrence of snow. How do you interpret the role of snow in the final scene of the story?
J.M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World
1. Why is Christy Mahon glorified for what he has done, and what are the reasons for Pegeen Mike falling in love with him? 2. Why is Christy rejected after he has killed his father again, and what does this tell you about the local community?
W.B. Yeats, “The Lake Isle of Innisfree,” “Sailing to Byzantium”
1. What attitude does “The Lake Isle of Inishfree” take to life in the country? Think of other texts that express the same view, based on your reading experience. 2. What are the principle features of the contemporary world according to “Sailing to Byzantium”? 3. List the reasons why the speaker wishes to sail to Byzantium.
W.B. Yeats, “Meditations in Time of Civil War”
1. When was the “Civil War” of the poem’s title fought, and what for? 2. Describe the poet’s feelings when he encounters the soldiers in Part V; how do these emotions relate to the concluding stanza of the sequence? 3. Translate the line “Come build in the empty house of the stare.” into Czech (or your mother tongue, in case it is not Czech).
Frank O’Connor, “Guests of the Nation,” “First Confession”
1. Comment on the names of the characters in “Guests of the Nation”. 2. Is Jeremiah Donovan an evil person? 3. Are you happy about the way in which the narrator is taught to be a good Christian in “First Confession”, by the teacher and by the priest respectively?
Elizabeth Bowen, “Sunday Afternoon,” “Hand in Glove”
1. How is nature (e.g., plants, flowers, the weather) used in “Sunday Afternoon”? 2. Think of analogies to “Hand in Glove” in terms of genre, based on your reading experience.
Patrick Kavanagh, The Great Hunger
1. Make a list of at least five principal qualities/features of the Irish peasant based on your reading of this poem. 2. Is this an anti-religious poem?
Flann O’Brien, The Third Policeman
1. Characterise briefly the three policemen. Is the number three of importance? 2. How do de Selby’s theories concerning time, space, and existence relate to the circumstances of the narrator-protagonist?
Samuel Beckett, All That Fall
1. Why is Mr Rooney so furious when he gets asked about the black ball at the end of the play? 2. Outline briefly the relevance of the biblical allusion in the title of this play to what the play is about.
Seamus Heaney, “North,” “Punishment,” “Strange Fruit”
1. Why does Heaney speak about the Vikings in “North”? Does the title “North” refer only to Scandinavia? 2. What is the girl described in “Punishment” punished for? 3. How does “Strange Fruit” relate to the famous song of the same title (performed by Billie Holiday)?
Martin McDonagh, The Cripple of Inishmaan
1. Put down a list of five basic characteristics of Inishmaan as depicted in the play. 2. What happened to Billy’s parents?
Arthur Riordan & Bell Helicopter, Improbable Frequency
1. Familiarise yourself with the biographies of Erwin Schrödinger, John Betjeman, and Myles na gCopaleen.
Kelleher, Margaret and Philip O’Leary, eds. The Cambridge History of Irish Literature, Vol. 2, 1890-2000. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
The Irish University Review. (The entire archive of the journal since its inception in 1970 is housed in the central library of the Faculty of Arts, and is available for research upon request from the librarians there.)
Frawley, Oona, ed. A New and Complex Sensation: Essays on Joyce’s Dubliners. Dublin: Lilliput Press, 2004.
Ellmann, Richard. James Joyce. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1974.
Levin, Harry. James Joyce: A Critical Introduction. London: Faber, 1960.
Attridge, Derek, ed. The Cambridge Companion to James Joyce. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Brown, Richard, ed. A Companion to James Joyce. Malden: Blackwell, 2008.
Hogan, Robert, and James Kilroy. The Abbey Theatre: The Years of Synge 1905-1909. Dublin: The Dolmen Press, 1978. (available from the instructor)
Grene, Nicholas. The Politics of Irish Drama. Plays in Context from Boucicault to Friel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999.
Bloom, Harold, ed. John Millington Synge’s The Playboy of the Western World. New York: Chelsea House, 1988. (available from the instructor)
Levitas, Ben. The Theatre of Nation: Irish Drama and Cultural Nationalism, 1890-1916. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2002.
Pilný, Ondřej. Irony and Identity in Modern Irish Drama. Praha: Litteraria Pragensia, 2006.
Yeats, W.B. Poems. Ed. and annot. A. Norman Jeffares. London: Macmillan, 1996.
Foster, R.F. W.B. Yeats: A Life. I. The Apprentice Mage. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1997.
–––. W.B. Yeats: A Life. II. The Arch-Poet. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
Brown, Terence. The Life of W.B. Yeats: A Critical Biography. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1999.
Howes, Marjorie and John Kelly. The Cambridge Companion to W.B. Yeats. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Lennon, Hilary. Frank O’Connor: Critical Essays. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2007.
Steinman, Michael. Frank O’Connor at Work. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1990.
Foster, R.F. Modern Ireland, 1600-1972. London: Penguin, 1989. (Chapters 19, 20.)
Hill, J.R., ed. A New History of Ireland, VII: Ireland 1921-1984. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003
Corcoran, Neil. Elizabeth Bowen: The Enforced Return. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2004.
Foster, R.F. “The Irishness of Elizabeth Bowen.” Paddy and Mr Punch. Connections in Irish and English History. London: Penguin, 1995. (available from the instructor)
–––. “Prints on the Scene: Elizabeth Bowen and the Landscape of Childhood.” The Irish Story. Telling Tales and Making It up in Ireland. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.
Quinn, Antoinette. Patrick Kavanagh: Born-Again Romantic. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1993.
–––. Patrick Kavanagh: A Biography. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 2003.
Brown, Terence. Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-1985. London: Fontana, 1985. (Chapter 6.)
–––. “After the Revival: Seán O Faoláin and Patrick Kavanagh.” Ireland’s Literature: Selected Essays. Dublin: Lilliput Press, 1988.
Hopper, Keith. Flann O’Brien: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Post-modernist. 2nd ed. Cork: Cork University Press, 2009; 1st ed. 1995.
Booker, M. Keith. Flann O’Brien, Bakhtin and Menippean Satire. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1995.
Lanters, José. Unauthorized Versions: Irish Menippean Satire, 1919-1952. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2000.
Pilný, Ondřej. “Cycling Round The Bend: Interpretation and Punishment in Flann O’Brien’s The Third Policeman,” Litteraria Pragensia 7.13 (1997): 41-50.
Cronin, Anthony. No Laughing Matter: The Life and Times of Flann O’Brien. London: Paladin, 1990.
Knowlson, James. Damned to Fame. The Life of Samuel Beckett. London: Bloomsbury, 1996.
Pilling, John, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Beckett. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994.
Ackerley, C.J. and S.E. Gontarski, eds. The Grove Companion to Samuel Beckett. New York: Grove Press, 2004.
Uhlmann, Anthony, ed. Samuel Beckett in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013.
O’Donoghue, Bernard, ed. The Cambridge Companion to Seamus Heaney. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009.
O’Driscoll, Dennis. Stepping Stones: Interviews with Seamus Heaney. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008.
Vendler, Helen. Seamus Heaney. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 2000.
Parker, Michael. Northern Irish Literature: The Imprint of History. 2 vols. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.
Chambers, Lilian and Eamonn Jordan, eds. The Theatre of Martin McDonagh: A World of Savage Stories. Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2006.
Lonergan, Patrick. The Theatre and Films of Martin McDonagh. London: Methuen, 2012.
Pilný, Ondřej. Irony and Identity in Modern Irish Drama. Prague: Litteraria Pragensia, 2006.
Riordan and Rough Magic Theatre:
Grene, Nicholas and Chris Morash, eds. The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Jordan, Eamonn and Eric Weitz, eds. The Palgrave Handbook of Contemporary Irish Theatre and Performance. London: Palgrave, 2018.
Please note that the library has dozens of other important volumes on the authors discussed in the course.
Credit requirements include regular attendance, active participation in debates (based on the assigned reading and the ability to reflect on the assigned question on a week-to-week basis) and a final essay (min. length 2 000 words, MLA-style footnotes and bibliography strictly required). Essay topics must be consulted with the instructor in advance. Deadline for essays: 22 January 2020.