Introduction to Select Irish Literature and Film/Introduction

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General Introduction[edit]

In the fall of 2013, a course in Modern Irish Literature was offered at Trent University, Oshawa Campus. Students who took this upper-year university course were offered a number of options for completion of their final project. Eight female students volunteered to create an introduction to Irish literature with the instructor, Dr. Sara Humphreys. The readers of this wikibook will find information on the canonized Irish authors who have had a hand in the construction of a well-established and decidedly Irish literature.


Irish Literature in General[edit]

Irish literature and culture courses are a growing concern in Canadian Universities. Not so long ago, such courses were quite rare, but most universities in North America that offer English courses, also offer Irish Literature in some form, thankfully. The steady diet of British literature did not represent the vastness of the world’s literature. Indeed, literary scholar and cultural critic, Frank Moretti explains that the word “literature” operates as a kind of “slaughterhouse” in that English professors tend to teach a very limited number of books that have been canonized [1]. Usually, Irish authors are displaced from their - often complicated - national contexts and co-opted by literary movements and concerns, most often modernism, drama, and contemporary poetry. Writers like James Joyce and Samuel Beckett are the usual victims of such critical appropriation. Irish literature courses tend to set things straight and enable students to explore the richness of Irish narrative forms. The authors of this wikibook share their expertise gained from course they took in Modern Irish Literature at Trent University, Oshawa Campus in the fall of 2013. Therefore, this introduction to Irish literature concentrates mainly on twentieth and twenty-first century literary works, but also traces the origins of these works to Ireland's long tradition of storytelling.


  • the most popular authors and forms of Irish literature in order to provide the neophyte with a starting place for further study;
  • the critical conversation that is common to these authors and a select number of works in order to demonstrate how one might read these works;
  • the historical and social contexts in which these works were produced.

Contributors and Acknowledgments[edit]

I would like to sincerely thank the students of Modern Irish Literature who took the source in winter of 2013. Their hard work is clearly demonstrated in this wikibook, which we hope you find useful.

References[edit]

  1. [1], Moretti, Frank. "The Slaughterhouse of Literature. MLQ: Modern Language Quarterly. 61.1:(2000).207.