English 119: New Ireland's New Writing (Fall 2021)

This course fulfills the Global Perspectives and Artistic Analysis Core Requirements.

*This course fulfills the Movements and Eras and the Diverse Literature requirements for English Majors.



Ireland is a postcolonial country. Its twentieth century literature is filled with individuals, families and communities grappling with legacies wrought by centuries of occupation by the British Empire. Brian Friel’s Translations, first performed in 1980 as violence over the status of Northern Ireland (still part of the United Kingdom) raged, imagines the time when English map-makers went about the country Anglicizing--and thereby erasing--Irish Gaelic place names along with the legends and stories those names held. John McGahern’s novel, Amongst Women, depicts the simmering tensions over land and status that lingered within and between Irish families whose members fought on different sides of Ireland’s Civil War. Novels and stories by William Trevor, Anne Enright, Colm Toibin and Roddy Doyle explore the ongoing cultural and economic challenges of an emerging, postcolonial, nation.

Emigration is a recurring theme in twentieth-century Irish literature, as the departure of one or more children for economic opportunities in England, Australia or America left many Irish families bereft. In recent years, Ireland has become a site of immigration for Eastern European seekers of economic opportunity, as well as African and Middle Eastern asylum seekers. These new residents have challenged Ireland to wrestle with its identity and values. In addition to the aforementioned Translations and Amongst Women, students in New Ireland’s New Writing will read novels and short stories featuring non-Western characters encountering Irish society and institutions, or Irish characters encountering non-Western characters and cultures.



Basis for final grade:

Daily Reading Journal Entries: 50%

Two formal essays: 25% each



Translations, Brian Friel

Amongst Women, John McGahern

Reading in the Dark, Seamus Deane

The Green Road, Anne Enright

From a Low and Quiet Sea, Donal Ryan

That Old Country Music, Kevin Barry

The Deportees and Other Stories, Roddy Doyle

Down By the River, Edna O’Brien

The Little Red Chairs, Edna O’Brien

This Hostel Life, Melatu Uche Okorie

TransAtlantic, Colum McCann


Instructor: Rosemary Graham                                         MWF: 11:45-12:50