ENGL 203: 20th Century Irish Literature

Prof. Kathryn Conrad

MWF 11-11:50 am,  4023 Wescoe

Office hours: M T W 2-4 pm, 3001L Wescoe Hall

Last updated 12-13-14

[Jump to SCHEDULE]


Irish theater critic Stephen Gwynn said of W. B. Yeats's play Cathleen ni Houlihan,"I went home asking myself if such plays should be produced unless one was prepared for people to go out to shoot and be shot." His comment proved prophetic: many of the Irish men and women who fought in the 1916 Easter Rising spoke of Yeats's play as their inspiration. As this anecdote suggests, writing and politics have been--and still are--closely and explicitly intertwined in Ireland. In this course, we will look not only at the literary and political responses to Ireland's history of British colonial rule, but also the challenges to contemporary Irish politics and culture articulated by contemporary writers. We will explore a variety of genres and artists, including some music and film.

This will focus on writing in several genres, including the annotated bibliography and literary-critical essay genres. Our other goals for the course will be to think critically about the relationship among Irish and Northern Irish literature, history, politics, and culture; to examine the relationship between writing and the wider culture; and to think about the significance of different forms and genres.



     KU CORE:

This course fulfills the second KU Core Goal 2.1 (requirement for most of you; for those who have already completed Goal 2.1, this course can serve instead to fulfill either KU Core Goal 1.1 or KU Core Goal 3 (humanities).


As a KU Core Goal 1.1 course, this course is intended to help you sharpen your critical thinking abilities, which include, as the Core site, puts it, "the ability to gather and evaluate information, raise relevant questions, build sound arguments, weigh alternative evidence and reasoning, generate and test hypotheses, compare and interpret texts." The Goal 2.1 outcomes are closely related; as a Goal 2.1 course, this course is intended to help you develop your writing, from idea and research through revision and final product, for multiple genres and communication situations.  Writing will be the supermajority of your grade in the course, in keeping with Goal 2.1 standards.

This course can also serve as a Goal 3 (humanities) course, because it introduces you to methods and concepts used in the humanities. We will use Ireland as a case study to develop and apply your understanding of the importance of representationÑartistic, political, narrative, historiographical-- and the ways in which representation affects, and is affected by, politics, culture, and economics.  In so doing, we will use the methods of literary and rhetorical analysis.


Students will be expected to write in a variety of genres, including a literary analysis, a research paper, and annotated bibliography, and blog postings focused on several kinds of genres and evaluative tasks (literary analysis, rhetorical analysis, etc.).


--complete assigned readings
--participate in classroom discussion and discussion groups


 In addition to several online texts, I have ordered the following texts:

James Joyce, Dubliners
David Pierce, ed., Irish Writing in the Twentieth Century

RESOURCES, POLICIES, & CONTACTS (Adapted from statements and policies from the KU Registrar, CLAS, the Writing Center, the KU Faculty Council, and the English Department)

 Grading:  In this course we will be using the +/- grading scale, approved by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences to describe intermediate levels of performance between a maximum of A and a minimum of F.  Intermediate grades represented by plus or minus shall be calculated as .3 units above or below the corresponding letter grade.

 Plagiarism:  Plagiarism is stealing and passing off someone else's ideas or words as one's own or using information from another's work without crediting the source. Any detected cheating offense--including but not limited to plagiarism; the unauthorized use of crib sheets, texts, or other materials during an examination or quiz; the copying of another student's work (even with the permission or aid of that student, who is thereby culpable); the use of prewritten essays (the student's own or someone else's); the uncredited adoption of another writer's interpretation of a work; or the unauthorized use of work written for another assignment or class--will be reported to the University. A record of each verified offense will be kept throughout the student's association with the University.

Plagiarism is not a game, nor is it simply a "shortcut" when time presses. It is a very serious form of academic misconduct and will be treated as such in this class. When you consult outside sources for ideas--through published or unpublished essays, interviews, the Internet, conversation, etc.--you must cite those sources in your work. I understand that academic work can be daunting: if you are struggling with an assignment, are unclear about my expectations, or are behind on your work, please consult me. There is always a better path than plagiarism; I can work with you to help you find your own voice while incorporating others' ideas appropriately. If after reading the statement above, you are still unclear about what constitutes plagiarism, ask me BEFORE turning in an assignment.

A plagiarized assignment will result in failure of the assignment (no credit given); it also impacts your larger course grade more than a paper that merely receives an F, and will usually result in failure of the course. The Department of English has a zero-tolerance policy on plagiarism. Formal records are currently kept by the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. I may also send a copy of the plagiarism form to the home department or school of any student who is found to have plagiarized.

KU Statement on Diversity and Inclusion:
As a premier international research university, the University of Kansas is committed to an open, diverse and inclusive learning and working environment that nurtures the growth and development of all. KU holds steadfast in the belief that an array of values, interests, experiences, and intellectual and cultural viewpoints enrich learning and our workplace. The promotion of and support for a diverse and inclusive community of mutual respect require the engagement of the entire university.

Recording of Classes:  At KU, course materials prepared by the instructor, together with the content of lectures, are the property of the instructor. Video and audio recording of lectures and review sessions without the consent of the instructor is prohibited. On request, the instructor will usually grant permission for students to audio tape lectures, on the condition that these audio tapes are only used as a study aid by the individual making the recording. Unless explicit permission is obtained from the instructor, recordings of lectures and review sessions may not be modified and must not be transferred or transmitted to any other person, whether or not that individual is enrolled in the course.

Attendance and Termination of Enrollment: Students may neither add nor change sections in any English course after Friday, August 29 without departmental permission. For courses numbered above 200, instructor's permission is required to add or change sections.   The last day to petition to add classes is Monday, September 22.  The Department of English reserves the right to terminate administratively the enrollment of any student who misses two consecutive class meetings during the first two weeks of the semester.* Should an emergency situation cause the student to miss two consecutive class meetings, the student should contact the instructor(s) or the English Department, 864-4520, immediately.

Students who decide to drop English classes should do so promptly so that other students may enroll in the class.  The last day to withdraw from classes under any circumstances is Wednesday, November 19.

Students with Disabilities: The Academic Achievement & Access Center (AAAC) coordinates accommodations and services for all KU students who are eligible. If you have a disability for which you wish to request accommodations and have not contacted the AAAC, please do so as soon as possible. Their office is located in 22 Strong Hall; their phone number is 785-864-2620. 

Information about their services can be found at http://disability.ku.edu. I also encourage you to contact me privately in regard to your needs in this course.

Drop policy: If you are having trouble succeeding in the course, it is especially important that you consult with me so that we can develop a plan of action that may enable you to complete the course.  If you decide to drop this class, please refer to the Website below:



 Policy on Student Academic Creations: Since one of the aims of this course is to teach students to write for specific audiences, ungraded student-authored work may be shared with other class members during the semester in which you are enrolled in the class.  Please do not submit materials on sensitive subjects that you would not want your classmates to see or read, unless you inform the instructor in advance that you do not want your work shared with others. 

Other uses of student-authored work are subject to the UniversityÍs Policy on Intellectual Property and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  If your instructor desires to use your work outside of this class (e.g. as a sample for another class or future classes), you will be asked to fill out and sign a written form authorizing such use.

     Writing Resources:  For help with your writing, I strongly encourage you to contact the KU Writing Center.  At the Writing Center you can talk about your writing with trained tutors or consult reference materials in a comfortable working environment.  You may ask for feedback on your papers, advice and tips on writing (for all your courses), or for guidance on special writing tasks.   Please check the website at http://www.writing.ku.edu/students/ for current locations and hours. The Writing Center welcomes both drop-ins and appointments, and there is no charge for their services. For more information, please call (785) 864-2399 or send an e-mail to <writing@ku.edu>. The website is loaded with helpful information about writing of all sorts, so even if you consider yourself a good writer, I encourage you to visit.

   Weather cancellations: Call 864-SNOW to discover whether classes have been cancelled by the University due to inclement weather. Cancelled classes will be held online; see this website for details.  Be sure that Blackboard has your correct contact information, since I will use it to send e-mail in case of a cancellation.


* How many blog postings are required?

You should post 5 times, including the two required posts listed on the syllabus. These must be completed before class time on the date on which we discuss the text.

If you miss a class for any reason, you should post on the text or topic for which you missed discussion (AKA, an 'absence post').  This will help mitigate the loss of participation.  Any 'absence posts' do not count toward the 5 required posts, although you may post on a text as a required post and then post again on the same text as an 'absence post.'  'Absence posts' may be completed after the date on which the text or topic was discussed; required posts may not. (Last day for absence posts: Dec. 10, 11:59:59 pm).

  * Why a blog?

We'll be using a course blog much the same way other courses use discussion boards. The benefit of the blog format is that it is easy to follow the thread of the discussion visually. Blogging allows you to share your ideas on the material, starting from a prompt provided by the instructor. Unlike classroom discussion, which is spontaneous and sometimes fast-paced, blogging offers an opportunity for you to provide a thoughtful, articulate response.  

 * What's a "substantial blog posting"?

A substantial blog posting is a short paragraph response either to the instructor prompt or to another student's posting on the topic. A substantial posting also takes into consideration the entire conversation, even if it is directed primarily toward one comment. In other words, read other people's posts before posting.
        Blog discussions, like any discussions, can get off topic; that's fine, but the blog postings that count toward your requirement are those that are on-topic.

    * Do all of my postings have to be "substantial"?

Not at all. You are welcome to use the blog informally, just as in any discussion. When postings are required, however, you must offer at least one substantial post. 

    * Can I start a new thread?

Yes, you can start a new thread. Please do so only if you feel it is a significantly different issue than that raised by the initial thread(s), just to ensure you get a good audience that isn't divided between threads.  There may be days where there is no prompt; you are welcome to start a thread on those days as well.

     * Will you tell me how many posts I have completed or that I have left to complete?

No.  You are responsible for keeping track of your required and absence posts over the course of the semester.  I will tally them all at the end of the semester.


SCHEDULE (subject to change; changes will eventually be reflected here):

Note: asterisks denote texts that are fair game for the final.   

M 8/25               Introduction.   

W 8/27               Lady Gregory, *Manifesto of the Irish literary theatre

F 8/25                 [Slideshow]


M 9/1                 Labor Day: class does not meet.

W 9/3                 *Yeats, Cathleen ni Houlihan (play, IW).

F 9/5                   Cathleen ni Houlihan cont;

                           WB Yeats, 'Red Hanrahan's Song About Ireland' (online)

                           Daniel Corkery, 'The Aisling' (essay, IW 289)

            Recommended background essays about the Irish literary renaissance:

            D. P. Moran, 'The Battle of Two Civilizations' (IW 32)

            Yeats, 'The Literary Movement in Ireland' (IW 38)

            George Russell (AE), 'Nationality or Cosmopolitanism?' (IW 44)

            Anon., 'Lecture by Mr. W. B. Yeats' (IW 49)

            John Eglinton, 'The De-Davisization of Irish Literature' (IW 70)

M 9/8                 Spencer Research Library visit.  Meet in Spencer lobby (behind Strong Hall).

W 9/10               Watson Library visit: Aeon.  Meet in Watson lobby.

F 9/12                 Riots and representations.

                           *Synge, The Playboy of the Western World (play, IW)


M 9/15               Playboy cont.  Hone, 'Yeats, Synge, and The Playboy' (essay, IW 213)

W 9/17               Political revolutions.  *Pearse, The Singer (play, online, CELT, http://www.ucc.ie/celt/pearsefic.html; also on Bb);

F 9/19                 Pearse, 'Why do ye torture me?', *'Renunciation,' 'Christ's Coming,' 'Christmas 1915,' 'Mise ƒire' (poems, online, CELT, http://www.ucc.ie/celt/pearsefic.html); *Graveside panegyric for O'Donovan Rossa (speech, online, CELT, http://www.ucc.ie/celt/pearsenf.html)

M 9/22               [The Easter Rising: in-class lecture]

                           Recommended:  BBC Easter Rising website

(last day to add or swap a class/last day petition for late enrollment/last day 50% refund)

W 9/24               Political revolutions: the aftermath

                          Shaw, 'The Easter Week Executions' (essay, IW 239)

                           Sean O'Casey, 'High Road and Low Road' (essay, IW 548)

                           James Stephens, from The Insurrection in Dublin (essay, IW 235)

                   Pearse, *"The Mother" (poem, online, http://www.ucc.ie/celt/published/E950004-022/text001.html)

                           W. B. Yeats, *'Easter 1916' (poem, IW)

F 9/26                 W.B. Yeats, 'Sixteen Dead Men,' *'The Rose Tree' (poems, online, http://www.theotherpages.org/poems/yeats02.html#sixteen)  . Dora Sigerson Shorter, "Sixteen Dead Men,"( poem, online, http://www.bartleby.com/291/158.html  )    

                            Annotated bibliography due. (note date change)

M 9/29               [Writing a literary essay.]

W 10/1               Visions and revisions

                           James Joyce, Dubliners. *'The Sisters'

                           Different views of Joyce: Stanislaus Joyce & Brian O'Nolan (Flann O'Brien), (IW 609-618)

F 10/3                 *'An Encounter'

M 10/6               *'Araby'

W 10/8               *'Eveline'

F 10/10               *'The Boarding House' Literary essay draft due.

M 10/13             Fall break: class does not meet.

W 10/15             *'A Mother'

F 10/17               *'A Little Cloud'


M 10/20             'Counterparts'

W 10/22             'Ivy Day in the Committee Room'

F 10/24               [Writing a research paper.]


M 10/27            [Writing a research paper, day 2]

W 10/29            Joyce, *'The Dead.'

F 10/30               Research proposal due. Joyce, Finish.

M 11/3               Visit from Dr Mairin Kenny: Irish Travellers.

W 11/5               Gender and Irishness.

                            Ailbhe Smyth, 'Declining Identities (lit. and fig.)' (essay, IW 1118)

                            Nuala ni Dhomhnaill, Caitlin/*Cathleen (poem, IW 1174)

F 11/7                 Research day: class does not meet.

M 11/10             Language and representation.

                            Douglas Hyde, 'The Necessity for De-Anglicizing Ireland'

                            Nuala n’ Dhomhnaill, *'Ceist an Teangan/The Language Issue' (poem, IW 1164)

W 11/12             Ian Duhig, *'From the Irish' (poem, IW 1174).  Brian Friel, from *Translations (play excerpt, IW).

F 11/14               Research draft due. Northern Ireland.  [Background lecture in class.]

                            Recommended:  CAIN (Conflict Archive on the Internet) website, http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/

M 11/17             Background to Bloody Sunday.  Movie, Bloody Sunday.

W 11/19             Bloody Sunday

F 11/21               Bloody Sunday

M 11/24             discussion of Bloody Sunday

W 11/26             Thanksgiving break

F 11/27               Thanksgiving break


M 12/1             U2, *"Sunday Bloody Sunday," http://www.u2.com/discography/lyrics/lyric/song/127
                          Seamus Heaney, *'Punishment'; Linda Anderson, *'Gang-Bang, Ulster Style' (poems, online, Bb)

W 12/3              Ciaran Carson, "O" (poem, IW, 1235); Paul Muldoon, *"Sightseers" (poems, online, Bb)

F 12/5                 Muldoon, *'Anseo' (poem, online, Bb)


M 12/8               Northern Ireland: popular visions
"Unfinished Revolution," Peter Cadle/Christy Moore (online: http://celtic-lyrics.com/lyrics/101).
*"Alternative Ulster," Stiff Little Fingers (http://www.slf.com/lyrics1.htm, or, to print out, probably
Discussion of final, part 1.

W 12/10             Last day of classes. Discussion of final: essay questions.  Evaluations.  All absence blogs must by completed by midnight on this day.

Final exam as scheduled:  Friday, 12/19, 10:30-1 pm (scheduled; I do not anticipate students needing more than 1 1/2 hours).

Portfolio due at final exam (first drafts with comments + final drafts of annotated bibliography,  literary essay, and research paper.)