English 352: Modern Irish Literature

Autumn 2003

Professor Marc C. Conner

Payne 32B; x8924; connerm@wlu.edu

Office hours: M & W 12:30-2, Tu and Th 12-2, and by appointment

(no office hours on Fridays)

COURSE DESCRIPTION: This course investigates one of the most magnificent outpourings of literature in European history, the movement of Modern Irish Literature from the 1890's through the 1930’s. During these remarkable decades, Irish writers reached unprecedented heights in poetry, fiction, drama, and prose, reasserting Ireland’s ancient literary heritage and assuming the vanguard in European Modernism. After an initial study of the context and development of Irish literature in history, poetry, landscape, and music, we will focus primarily on the four most prominent writers of the Irish modern period: W.B. Yeats, Lady Gregory, J.M. Synge, and James Joyce. Major themes will include attitudes towards the past, particularly the uniquely Irish past of myth, legend, and folklore that was put to such intriguing uses during this era; political issues such as colonialism, nationalism, poverty and wealth, and the Irish language; religious issues such as belief, despair, prayer, the figure of the priest, good and evil, and the nature of sin; attitudes towards the Irish landscape, people, and culture; as well as more general modernist questions such as fragmentation, paralysis, alienation, silence, issues of gender, the nature of the work of art, the role of the artist, and the relationship between the individual and the community.

COURSE REQUIREMENTS: Students will produce two major papers during the semester: a five-page essay in close reading on the early poetry of Yeats, due the fourth week of the term, and a 7-10 page study of either Gregory, Synge, or Joyce, due the ninth week of the term. The final exam will focus entirely on Joyce=s Ulysses. There are also four quizzes on Irish History during the first week. Class will be a rough mix between formal lecture and guided discussion. Students will be expected to come to class prepared to discuss the day=s readings in detail, and with great passion and interest. In addition, all students are required to attend the four visiting lectures as well as the Irish harper performance, and also the film screening.

Grades will be determined as follows: short essay, 20%; longer essay, 30%; class participation, 20% (including history quizzes); final exam, 30%. Attendance is absolutely mandatory: each unexcused absence after one will lower the final grade by one-half. (Three tardies = one absence.)

There are eight required books for the course, all available at the W&L bookstore. Please get these editions: Thomas Kinsella, ed., The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse (Oxford); W.B. Yeats, The Collected Poems, (Simon & Schuster); J.M. Synge, The Complete Plays (Random House); James Joyce, Dubliners (Penguin), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (Penguin), and Ulysses (the corrected text; Random House); Don Gifford, Ulysses Annotated: Notes for James Joyce=s Ulysses (U of California P); and Harry Blamires, The New Bloomsday Book: A Guide Through Ulysses (3rd ed., Routledge). In addition, a required course reader is available through the English Department secretary; Conner’s Introducing Irish History: A Web-Text, is available online.


The Context and Development of Irish literature: History, Poetry, Landscape

F 9.12 Introducing Irish History: A Web Text (Conner)

(http://ireland.wlu.edu/lecture/ch1_1.htm) Read chapters 1-3 by Monday (9/15), chapter 4 by Wednesday (9/17); complete all quizzes by Wednesday 9/17; in addition, complete the following readings in The New Oxford Book of Irish Verse:

M 9.15 Early Irish Poetry, 600-1300: "The rath in front of the oak wood," "Three rounded flanks I loved," "He is coming, Adzed-Head," "St. Patrick’s Breastplate," "A Poem to Mary," "All alone in my little cell," "Pangur Ban," "First of summer, lovely sight," "The wind is wild tonight," O Dalaigh, "Young man of alien beauty," and Mac Con Midhe, "A Defence of Poetry"

The Decline of the Irish Bards, 1500-1800: "Cill Chais," O Ghimh, "After the Flight of the Earls," "The Passing of the Poets," O’Rathaille, "Brightness most bright, I beheld on the way forlorn," Ni Chonaill, "The Lament for Art O=Leary," Merriman, "The Midnight Court"

W 9.17 The Nineteenth Century & Anglo-Irish Poetry: Thomas Moore, "The Harp that Once Through Tara=s Halls," "Let Erin Remember the Days of Old," "She is Far from the Land," "Believe me, if all those enduring young charms"

James Clarence Mangan, "Dark Rosaleen," "A Vision of Connaught in the Thirteenth Century," "The Nameless One," "Kathaleen Ny-Houlahan"

Samuel Ferguson, "The Burial of King Cormac," "Deirdre=s Lament for the Sons of Usnach," "Lament for Thomas Davis"

Thomas Davis, "Lament for the Death of Egohan Ruadh O’Neill," "A Nation Once Again"

Part I: The Irish Revival: Yeats, Gregory, Synge, Joyce, 1890-1914

F 9.19 W.B. Yeats: Introduction

Yeats, "Hopes and Fears for Irish Literature," "The Celtic Element in Literature," and "The Irish Literary Theatre"; Lady Gregory, "The Changing Ireland" (reader)

M 9.22B The Early Yeats: AThe Cloak, the Boat, and the Shoes,@ AEphemera,@ AThe Stolen

F 9.26 Child,@ ATo an Isle in the Water,@ ADown by the Salley Gardens,@ ATo the Rose upon the Rood of Time,@ AThe Lake Isle of Innisfree,@ AWhen You Are Old,@ AWho Goes with Fergus?,@ AThe Man Who Dreamed of Faeryland,@ AThe Two Trees,@ AThe Hosting of the Sidhe,@ AThe Song of Wandering Aengus,@ AThe Cap and Bells,@ AHe Wishes His Beloved Were Dead,@ AHe Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven,@ AThe Folly of Being Comforted,@ AAdam=s Curse,@ AA Woman Homer Sung,@ AWords,@ ANo Second Troy,@ AUpon a House Shaken by the Land Agitation,@ ABrown Penny@

M 9.29B James Joyce, Dubliners

F 10.3 Friday, October 3, 6-10 pm: film screening of The Dead and Nora (UC 205)

M 10.6 Lady Gregory: selections from Visions and Beliefs and Poets and Dreamers, Kathleen ni Houlihan

Essay #1 (5 pp., on Yeats) due Monday 10.6

W 10.8 The Rising of the Moon, "The Felons of Our Land"; read also McDiarmid, "The Demotic Lady Gregory"

F 10.10 Spreading the News, Hyacinth Halvey (all Gregory selections in course reader)

Thursday, October 9, 8 p.m.: Lecture by Professor Lucy McDiarmid, Villanova University, Williams 327

M 10.13B J.M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World & Riders to the Sea

W 10.15

F 10.17 no classBreading days

Part II: High Modernism: Yeats and Joyce, 1914-1939

M 10.20B The Middle Yeats: A[Pardon, Old Fathers],@ ASeptember 1913,@ ATo a Shade,@ AThe

F 10.24 Three Hermits,@ AThe Witch,@ AThe Peacock,@ ATo a Child Dancing in the Wind,@ ATwo Years Later,@ AA Memory of Youth,@ AFallen Majesty,@ AThe Cold Heaven,@ AThat the Night Come,@ AThe Magi,@ AA Coat,@ AThe Wild Swans at Coole,@ AIn Memory of Major Robert Gregory,@ AAn Irish Airman Foresees His Death,@ AOn Woman,@ AThe Fisherman,@ AA Deep-Sworn Vow,@ AThe Phases of the Moon,@ AThe Cat and the Moon,@ ATwo Songs of a Fool,@ AThe Double Vision of Michael Robartes,@ ASolomon and the Witch,@ AEaster, 1916,@ ATowards Break of Day,@ AThe Second Coming,@ AA Prayer for My Daughter,@ ATo be Carved on a Stone at Thoor Ballylee@

Wednesday, October 22: Grainne Hambly, Irish Harper ~ lecture on the Irish Harp at 4 pm (Payne 21), concert in Lee Chapel at 7:30 pm

M 10.27B Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

F 10.31

M 11.3B The Late Yeats: ASailing to Byzantium,@ AThe Tower,@ AMeditations in Time of

F 11.7 Civil War,@ ATwo Songs from a Play,@ALeda and the Swan,@ AAmong School Children,@ AIn Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markievicz,@ AA Dialogue of Self and Soul,@ ABlood and the Moon,@ ACoole and Ballylee, 1931,@ AFor Anne Gregory,@ ASwift=s Epitaph,@ AByzantium,@ AVacillation,@ ACrazy Jane Talks with the Bishop,@ AAfter Long Silence,@ AParnell=s Funeral,@ AThey Gyres,@ ALapis Lazuli,@ AThe Three Bushes,@ AAn Acre of Grass,@ ABeautiful Lofty Things,@ AThe Spur,@ AThose Images,@ AThe Municipal Gallery Revisited,@ AWhy Should Not Old Men Be Mad?,@ AUnder Ben Bulben,@ AThe Statues,@ AJohn Kinsella=s Lament for Mrs. Mary Moore,@ AThe Apparitions,@ AMan and the Echo,@ AThe Circus Animals= Desertion,@ APolitics@

Thursday, November 6, 8 p.m.: Lecture by Professor Adrian Frazier, University College Galway, Northen Auditorium

M 11.10B Joyce, Ulysses (episodes 1-6, pp. 3-95)

Essay #2 (7-10 pages, on Gregory, Synge, or Joyce) due Monday 11.10

F 11.14

M 11.17B Joyce, Ulysses (episodes 7-12, pp. 96-283)

F 11.21


M 12.1B Joyce, Ulysses (episodes 13-15, pp. 284-497)

F 12.5

M 12.8B Joyce, Ulysses (episodes 16-18, pp. 501-644)

F 12.12 Read also DiBattista, "Joyce’s Endearing Form" (reader)

Thursday, December 11, 8 p.m.: Lecture by Professor Maria DiBattista, Princeton University, Northen Auditorium

Final Exam on Ulysses, during week of 12.13-12.19