The course offers graduates in English or in related disciplines (e.g. history, art history, Irish studies, a modern language) the opportunity to study a broad range of Irish writing in English from the late-sixteenth century to the present. It also involves close study of single authors and addresses thematic aspects of the subject. The course is designed to be complete in itself, but can also serve as preparation for those who wish to proceed to further research in the field.
The course consists of five modules:
This module, taught in a weekly two-hour seminar, covers the work of four major individual authors from the Irish literary tradition. In Michaelmas term we study Swift and Yeats, and in Hilary term, Joyce and Beckett.
Perspectives in Irish Writing:
This module introduces students to the socio/cultural contexts in which Irish writing in English developed from the late sixteenth century through to the twenty-first century. It investigates key terms that students will encounter in the critical literature on Irish writing and culture: Anglo-Irish, Protestant Ascendancy, the Gaelic tradition, colonialism, the Big House, romantic and cultural nationalism, the Literary Revival. In addition to covering the significant authors of the tradition, it also addresses such issues as authorship, publishing history and reception as they bear on the emergence and development of a national literature in English and explores a number of theoretical issues.
Students take one option module in each of the semesters, choosing from the variety of special subjects on offer each year. These special subjects include: Writing the Troubles, Big House Literature, Irish Poetry after Yeats, Ireland on Stage, and Creative Writing.
In place of the special subjects offered in the second term, students may enrol for a Creative Writing Workshop (an element of the M.Phil. in Creative Writing). Entry to this workshop is restricted and based on assessment of a portfolio of the student's creative writing, which must be presented before the end of the first term.
A dissertation (12,000-15,000 words) is planned in consultation with a Course Director during the second (Hilary) term and is written under the guidance of a supervisor. This work is undertaken in the third term (Trinity term) and in the long vacation (April-August).
Assessment is by a combination of course papers and exercises and dissertation.