Twentieth Century Irish Literature



Twentieth Century Irish Literature


Fall, 2016


ENG 365




Every reader and scholar of Irish literature is familiar with its extensive genealogy of nature writing, and a ‘sense of place’ found across a great variety of texts. While not unique to Ireland such a rich heritage has produced some of the most enduring and exciting literary and cultural narratives and criticisms. However, given our contemporary concerns with environmental issues, of which climate change is one, literary and cultural narratives need to be re-read and re-energized to help us find a language that speaks to current existential anxieties. This course offers an opportunity to read influential Irish authors from the 20th century through the lens of the environmental humanities. While we will learn of the sociopolitical conditions which have shaped Irish literature we will also be attentive to environmental questions that such literature often provoke and respond to. We require active participation in classroom discussions and close readings of texts and documents for the course to be successful. As part of the Blended Learning Initiative of the Five Colleges this course utilises digital resources (such as podcasts and documentaries) as well as traditional lectures, classroom discussions and literary criticism. Assignments are similarly ‘blended’, in that students will have an opportunity to write critical assessments and essays, and publish digital reflections and record podcasts. (Students will receive guidance on such assignments.) An exciting aspect of these digital assignments is that they give students the opportunity to be a part of a growing digital resource on the environmental humanities at UMass. There are class presentation assignments for this course. At the start of the semester each student will be assigned to a team which will research a particular topic. These findings have to be presented to the class. You will be marked individually and as a group for this assignment on a 50:50 ratio. Presentations may range from close scrutiny of texts (literary or otherwise), films and documentaries etc., or may also be creative. (Do not let either yourself or your team down!) You must submit all assignments to pass this course.


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