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Irish Literature and the idea of 'Ireland' (EL307)
Semester 1 / 2016


y separately published work icon The Harp in the South Ruth Park , 1947 Z1326724 1947 single work novel (taught in 2 units)
— Appears in: The Harp in the South Trilogy 1987;

— Appears in: Great Australian Writers : Miles Franklin, Henry Handel Richardson, Mrs Aeneas Gunn, Ruth Park 1987; (p. 513-698)

'Amid the brothels, grog shops and run-down boarding houses of inner-city Surry Hills, money is scarce and life is not easy. Crammed together within the thin walls of Twelve-and-a-Half Plymouth Street are the Darcy family: Mumma, loving and softhearted; Hughie, her drunken husband; pipe-smoking Grandma; Roie, suffering torments over her bitter-sweet first love; while her younger sister Dolour learns about life the hard way.' (Book description from publisher's website.)

Castle Rackrent, Edgeworth

The Green Road, Enright

New Selected Poems 1988-2013, Heaney

Dubliners, Joyce

Winterwood, McCabe

Country Girls, O'Brien

TransAtlantic, McCann


Irish literature offers a unique insight into Ireland's struggle for cultural and national identity, canvassing the relationship between nation and narration, an understanding of which is vital to all nations. What constitutes 'literature' and what is 'Irish'? What should and should not be included in a canon of a national literature, and by whom? As a group of writings written largely in a non-native language and often written outside the country during a period of prolonged colonial subjugation, this is a complex and contested category of writing. The unit begins with an examination of key texts from earlier periods; from the seminal work of St Patrick in the fifth century to the influence of Celtic mythology and Pagan literature, leading to the emergence of early Christian literature. The latter part of the unit focuses on the late eighteenth to late twentieth centuries. It includes a variety of important figures, such as W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Flann O'Brien, Julia O'Faolain, and Seamus Heaney, across a range of narrative forms. Students critically examine texts from this exceptional body of work, asking what role writers have played and continue to play in understanding the idea of 'Ireland'.

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Current Campus: Freemantle