One of the most important aspects of modern Irish literature is Ireland itself. Employing diverse genres and styles, Irish writers helped invent Ireland as they responded to important political and historical events and actively produced a distinctly Irish culture. Ireland emerges as a pastoral ideal but also ghostly and tied to trauma; it is a place of humor and hospitality, but also a site of violence and poverty. This upper-level class works through these contradictory representations by reading a variety of genres—poetry, the national tale, gothic fiction, drama, big house novels, naturalist and modernist fiction—and studying key historical developments such as the Act of Union, agrarian movements like Ribbonism, the Famine, the Irish Literary Revival, the establishment of the Irish Free State, and the Troubles in Northern Ireland.
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