Archive

Spring 2014

Advanced Irish I - IRLL 10101

This course builds on the reading skills that students have acquired in their first four semesters of Irish. The course will be based on the reading of selected short stories from both Gearrscéalta an Chéid and Gearrscéalta ár Linne. The aim is for students to be proficient in reading at advanced level C1 of "Teastas Eorpach na Gaeilge" (The European Certificate of Irish Language).

Advanced Readings in Irish Culture - IRLL 20203, IRLL 60203

An advanced course focusing on reading and translating a variety of texts in the Irish language concentrating on further development of reading, interpretive, and technical skills mastered in previous language courses (IRLL 10101, IRLL 10102, IRLL 20103). Texts from various authors and historical periods allow students to taste different writing styles: contemporary fiction, journalism, literary criticism, historical and cultural texts. Emphasis will be on sentence structure, stylistics and syntax. Students are required to have earned a high grade in IRLL 20103 in order to take this class. At the conclusion of this course, students will be able to conduct independent research with Irish texts. 
 
Literature and Violence in Colonial Ireland - IRLL 13186
 
This course will examine the writing that emerges from the Irish colonial encounter from its roots in the twelfth century to the complete conquest of Ireland in 1603 and its aftermath. We’ll pay attention to foundational texts that shape how peoples and power relations are represented and track the shifts in discourse over the busy sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries by looking at a variety of texts such as travel writings, praise poetry, treatises, annals, satire, state papers, maps, royal proclamations, memoirs and legal texts, including texts originally written in English, Irish (Gaelic) and Latin by Gerald of Wales, Edmund Spenser, Shakespeare, Henry and Philip Sidney, John Davies, John Donne, Eochaidh Ó hEodhusa, Fear Flatha Ó Gnímh, Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, Florence Conry, Hugh O’Neill, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James I, along with historical writing about the period. In place of “history written by the winners” alone, however, our goal will be to grasp the sharp ideological contention in these wildly disparate, often contradictory works to restage the battle of representations that accompanied military conflict. Who was civil? Who was savage? What was moral? What was legal? Whose authority was legitimate? Whose versions of history would endure? As we ask these questions, we will also consider what difference a text’s form makes to its meaning, as well as asking what a text’s “meaning” might mean in practice. As always in the University Seminar, in place of examinations, we will focus deeply on your own writing and argumentation, so that you learn the skills to succeed at Notre Dame and beyond.
 
Folklore, History and National Culture: Ireland and Europe - IRLL 20223
 
This course will examine the writing that emerges from the Irish colonial encounter from its roots in the twelfth century to the complete conquest of Ireland in 1603 and its aftermath. We’ll pay attention to foundational texts that shape how peoples and power relations are represented and track the shifts in discourse over the busy sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries by looking at a variety of texts such as travel writings, praise poetry, treatises, annals, satire, state papers, maps, royal proclamations, memoirs and legal texts, including texts originally written in English, Irish (Gaelic) and Latin by Gerald of Wales, Edmund Spenser, Shakespeare, Henry and Philip Sidney, John Davies, John Donne, Eochaidh Ó hEodhusa, Fear Flatha Ó Gnímh, Tadhg Dall Ó hUiginn, Florence Conry, Hugh O’Neill, Henry VIII, Elizabeth I, and James I, along with historical writing about the period. In place of “history written by the winners” alone, however, our goal will be to grasp the sharp ideological contention in these wildly disparate, often contradictory works to restage the battle of representations that accompanied military conflict. Who was civil? Who was savage? What was moral? What was legal? Whose authority was legitimate? Whose versions of history would endure? As we ask these questions, we will also consider what difference a text’s form makes to its meaning, as well as asking what a text’s “meaning” might mean in practice. As always in the University Seminar, in place of examinations, we will focus deeply on your own writing and argumentation, so that you learn the skills to succeed at Notre Dame and beyond.
 
 Introduction to Irish Folklore - IRLL 20223
 
This course will discuss the 19th century concept of folklore and its application in Ireland. ´Irish folklore´ is usually understood in terms of three main and related domains: ´folk narrative´ (or oral literature), ´folk belief´ (or popular religion) and ´material folk culture´. These will be examined with special emphasis placed on narrative. Representative oral narrative texts from the Gaelic tradition will be studied in translation. 
 
The Literatures of the 16th & 17th Century -  IRLL 30121
              
 This new course will explore the various literatures that emerge at a time of dramatic change in early modern (16-17th-century) Ireland, including works originally written in Irish and English ranging from courtly poetry of praise and love for noble patrons to rather less savory justifications of colonial violence. In tandem with our reading of primary materials (using English translations), we will examine the historiography of the period ranging from older texts to podcasts of papers given in the last two years to grasp key debates and shifts in scholarly understanding; in so doing, we will take up longstanding areas of debate regarding the characteristics of this colonial encounter, the degree to which comparisons are useful or apt, the nature of Irish literary culture, the characteristics of the age, and, if we're feeling cocky, the modern. My own particular topics of interest include poet-patron relations, the imposition of English law, and native mechanisms of legitimation; others will emerge as we read a variety of texts together. While you need not know any Irish (Gaelic) to take this course, 
 
 
Travels to Medieval Lands - IRLL 30224
 
One of the most popular genres of medieval literature was the travel tale, and Celtic, Norse and British authors created an exciting range of stories about far-flung, fantastical , and holy or heavenly places, and the experiences of quite normal people in these often really abnormal places. While these texts generally stage transformations, meetings, and confrontations with new peoples, landscapes and ideas at geographically remote sites, the narratives typically lead audience members to reflect on issues of identity and belief that are actually very close to home. Analyzing the role of travel and visits to different worlds across several types of texts (legendary histories and origin accounts, hagiographies, adventure and voyage tales, sagas, pilgrimage accounts, etc.) we will identify several of the universal attributes, styles, compositional goals and motifs found in travel literature. We will also explore the differences between, for instance, secular and sacred travel tales, with particular attention to the role of the audience, the reader who undertakes an imaginative, textual journey by turning a books pages or listening to a tale?s oral performance. Participants will read both primary literary texts (all available in English translation), as well as a number of critical essays. Primary texts (some excerpted) may include but are not limited to Lebor Gabála Érenn (Book of Invasions of Ireland), Acallam na Senórach (Colloquy of the Ancients), Navigatio Brendani (Voyage of St. Brendan), Irish immrama (voyage tales), the Prologue to Snorri Sturluson?s Gylfaginning (Fooling of Gylfi), the Norse Vínland sagas, Geoffrey of Monmouth?s Historia Regum Britanniae (History of the Kings of Britain), the Welsh Mabinogi, the Travels of Sir John Mandeville, and a pilgrimage account (TBD
 

Fall 2013

Decoding Modernism - IRLL 13186

The Modern movement in the arts transformed consciousness and artistic form just as the energies of modernity--scientific, technological, philosophical, political--transformed forever the nature, the speed, the sensation of human life. This course examines this proposition as it pertains to a series of well-known and less well known literary texts. Among the key question in this course are the following: What is modern? How do we think about the modern? How do we express the modern? Why are modernist texts ‘difficult’? How should we approach/read/decode modernist texts? What did it mean to think and write about ‘modern’ life a hundred years ago and how is that different from the present day? Is modernism a question of theme, style or attitude? This course introduces students to Modernism through a careful and detailed examination of literary texts, - novels and short stories - by James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, Franz Kafka, Pádraic Ó Conaire, Máirtin Ó Cadhain, Seán Ó Ríordáin and others. No prior knowledge of Modernism required.
 

Irish Literature and Culture I - IRLL 20115

Ireland can lay claim to one of the most extensive, unique, and oldest literatures in Europe. By engaging with a wide range of literary texts from the medieval and early modern periods (ca. 800-1800), participants will consider how changing social, cultural, literary and intellectual contexts, in terms of both authors and audiences, have dramatically transformed Ireland’s literature over the centuries. By looking at authors ranging from heroic bards and literary monks to lamenting wives and satirizing schoolmasters, we will examine the dynamics of production and the voices that speak to us from Ireland’s past. Additionally, by thinking about the identities of those who have more recently translated and edited the versions of the texts we will read, by questioning the different topics that scholars have chosen to explore, and by articulating our own responses to often arresting works from the Irish literary tradition, we will begin to understand the complexities and rich possibilities inherent in experiencing these literary masterpieces in a time and place very different from medieval or early modern Ireland.
 
Folklore and Irish History - IRLL 13186
 
This course will examine notions of history in oral cultures with special reference to Ireland. Who were those who transmitted oral traditions about historical events? Which genres shaped oral historical traditions? In which contexts were these traditions transmitted? What was the nature of the traditions? What was their content? What relationship did they have to the written record, to counter-hegemonic histories and to official histories? To what extent, if any, can they be said to articulate a national perspective? These are some of the questions that will be addressed, and case studies that illuminate special aspects of the subject such as oral traditions of the Vikings, of 1798, of the Famine and of landlords will be discussed in some detail.
 
The Irish Comic - IRll 30310
 
Fantasy. Humor. Ribaldry. The Macabre. The Grotesque. Wit. Word play. Satire. Parody. This course will read diverse examplesof the long and fertile comic tradition in Irish literature (in Irish and in English), from medieval to modern, in order to enjoy a good laugh, get an alternative take on the Irish literary tradition, and think about the politics of humor. Authors will include unknown acerbic medievalscribes, satiric bardic poets, Swift, Merriman, Sheridan, Wilde, and Flann O’Brien. No knowledge of Irish is assumed or necessary.
 
Ireland on Screen - IRLL 30130
 
This course will examine and analyze representations of Ireland in film from the Silent era through Hollywood film to the contemporary independant indigenous cinema of today. It will trace the representation of the rural and the urban through the varying utopian/dystopian lenses of film makers from the Kaleb Brothers to John Ford to Jim Sheridan to Lenny Abramson. Films discussed will range from early 20th century silent films to The Quiet Man, Ryan's Daughter, The Commitments, Poitin, The Field, Kings, My Left Foot, Once, Garage, Goldfish Memory and The Guard.
 
Irish Language Poetry - IRLL 30117
 
This course is what it says it is, a study of 20th Century Irish Language Poetry, from Pádraig Pearse, to Gearóid Mac Lochlainn. Each week we take a different poet and study their aims, techniques and what they offer to Irish Poetry as a 20th century artistic medium.  A  knowledge of Irish is not essential, as we will be using translations, though always with reference to the originals, but it helps.
 
National Descriptions - IRLL 70111
 
‘All ethnography is fiction’ contended the anthropologist Edmund Leach, and it is true that ethnography (ethnos, ‘nation’), a science of cultural description, may demand qualities of imagination in other contexts typical of literature. While ethnography at home, in the work of folklorists and dialectologists especially, was often understood to be a ‘national science’, documenting and mapping the national culture, ethnographers were not alone in creating representations of the nation. Many writers’ work was in part informed by their ethnographic interests (Ibsen and Yeats, for example, both collected folklore). Literature itself can be an ‘allegory for the nation’ (Fredric Jameson). Populist politics typically evoked the nation that would exist but for the traducement of its elites, representing the plebs as the real people (Ernesto Laclau); the work of many writers and ethnographers in these terms was implicitly or explicitly populist.
 
This course will look at the intersection of ethnography, literature and politics in 19th and early 20th century European cultural history, using critical works from sociology, anthropology, folklore studies, history and literary theory. The focus will be on those countries, such as Ireland, Finland or Norway, in which a national movement concentrated the efforts of writers, linguists, historians, folklorists and politicians in the pursuit of a common goal. Representative texts will be read.
 

Fall 2012

Folklore, History, Literature and National Identity IRLL 60316 

The notion of folklore emerged in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Closely associated with ideas of cultural relativism, from the romantic period on it became an important resource to national movements in search of cultural authenticity. This course will explore the idea of folklore within the history of ideas and will examine the relationship between folklore and popular culture and between folklore and modernity. It will also outline the development of folklore as an academic discipline. It will look at the Irish case in detail, from the beginnings of scholarly interest in popular culture in Ireland to the central intellectual engagement of the literary revivals in English and Irish with it at the end of the 19th century, leading ultimately to the institutionalization of folklore study in the Irish state.

Introduction to Medieval Irish Literature - IRLL 20106

This course introduces students to various aspects of Irish Language Literature and Culture. As offered Spring 2010: Outside the classical world of Greece and Rome, Ireland has the oldest attested European literature and this fact alone gives the literary products of Medieval Ireland a singular significance. The purpose of this course is to introduce the richness and variety of the literature produced in the Irish language during the medieval period (for present purposes the period between 700 and 1300). The emphasis will be on studying mainly the prose saga literature of this period in its various literary, cultural and historical contexts. This will involve both a close reading of the texts themselves in English translation and an examination of the material in the light of recent scholarship in this area. The course will be organized around the two most substantial narrative texts of the Irish Middle Ages: the ‘Cattle Raid of Cooley’ (Táin Bó Cúailnge) and ‘Tales of the Elders of Ireland’ (Acallam na Senórach).

Ireland's Edge -  IRLL 20114

This course explores the culture, heritage and literature of the Aran Islands, an Irish speaking Island off Ireland’s west coast. The unique island culture has long attracted authors and artists: JM Synge, P.H. Pearse and Martin Mc Donagh among them. Responding to external depictions, islanders such as Liam O’ Flaherty, Máirtín Ó Díreán and Dara Ó Conghaile have created a native island literature. Students will learn about island life, culture, traditions, historic buildings and sights and efforts to modernize the island economy. Reading a selection of poems, short stories, plays, novels this course deconstructs the competing and conflicting images of the island.

The Irish Short Story -  IRLL 20120

This course introduces students to the themes, motifs, approaches and various forms common to the Irish short story as well as the critical debates associated with the genre. We begin with a survey of the literary history and cultural politics of Ireland in the nineteenth and the emergence of the Irish short story and compare it to the American and French story, before considering the relationship between folklore and literature and the origins of the modern short story form. Having discussed various theories of the short story, we proceed to examine the interactive relationship between orality and print culture, tradition and modernity, native and foreign, natural/authentic and artificial/other.  Among the authors we read in detail are: George Moore, P.H. Pearse, James Joyce, Pádraic Ó Conaire, Máirtín Ó Cadhain, Frank O’Connor, Sean O’Faolain, Liam Ó Flaithearta/Liam O’Flaherty, Seamus Ó Grianna, Seosamh Mac Grianna, Angela Bourke, Samuel Beckett, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Pádraic Breathnach, Seán Mac Mathúna, Micheál Ó Conghaile, Alan Titley, Dara Ó Conaola and Eilís Ní Dhuibhne. Stories are read primarily as literary texts that shed light on evolving cultural, political and social conditions and provide incisive insights into the Irish literary and cultural tradition. This course is an ideal introduction to literary criticism and cultural studies. No prior knowledge of Irish or Ireland is required. All texts will be available in English. 

Irish Folk Custom and Belief -  IRLL 30112

Is both the title of a popular work from 1967 by Seán Ó Súilleabháin (1903-1996), archivist of the Irish Folklore Commission, and an approach to the study of rural Irish popular religion. That approach was long dominant among Irish folklorists. It tended to frame rural popular religion ahistorically and to fudge the issue of its relationship to specific social groups. At the same time it led to the recording of extraordinarily rich data, mostly from the Irish-speaking population of the West.Concentrating on the work of 19th century antiquarians and 20th century folklorists and anthropologists, the course will examine the study of rural popular religion in Ireland. It will contextualise it both in terms of historical, sociological and anthropological knowledge of Irish rural society and specifically of Irish peasant society, and in terms of the scientific study of religion. Specific topics often identified under the headings of 'folk custom and belief' will be discussed, in particular ritual, festival, magic, supernatural beings, sacred places and the oral narratives that deal with them. Specific scholarly texts, including texts by leading contemporary scholars of Irish rural popular religion, will be discussed as well as ethnographic texts recorded by the Irish Folklore Commission'.

Irish Language Lyric Song Tradition - IRLL 30362

The music, the meters, the magic of the Irish language lyric song tradition will be explored in this course spanning the known history of the most enduring songs; their transmission and migration in oral, written and sound-recorded form; the sources from which draw inspiration and their influence in translation on writers and performers as diverse as W.B. Yeats and Sinéad O'Connor. Using recordings, live performance and close textual analysis the course will aim to chart the journeys of these songs through the centuries and offer insights into their lasting appeal.

Spring 2012

Irish Jokes from Medieval Satirists to Bart Simpson - IRLL 30310

This seminar will examine the long and very fertile comic tradition in Irish literature, considering texts originally written in Irish and in English, from medieval to modern, to think about the politics of humor, get an alternative take on the Irish literary tradition, and enjoy a good laugh. Authors will include cranky medieval monks, harshly satiric professional poets, great eighteenth-century parodists, twentieth-century witty dramatists and one of the funniest short novelistic spoofs ever written. Along the way, you will work hard on oral and written analysis of literature, defining the nature of different comic genres, and what makes them work. No knowledge of Irish is assumed or necessary, but a willingness to tolerate the texts' puns, flatulence and insult is essential. Audio recordings of course readings will be accessible for students who need them.

Introduction to Irish Folklore - IRLL 30223

This course will discuss the 19th century concept of folklore and its application in Ireland. ´Irish folklore´ is usually understood in terms of three main and related domains: ´folk narrative´ (or oral literature), ´folk belief´ (or popular religion) and ´material folk culture´. These will be examined with special emphasis placed on narrative. Representative oral narrative texts from the Gaelic tradition will be studied in translation. 

Oral Traditions and Irish History - IRLL 30115

This course will examine notions of history in oral cultures with special reference to Ireland. Who were those who transmitted oral traditions about historical events? Which genres shaped oral historical traditions? In which contexts were these traditions transmitted? What was the nature of the traditions? What was their content? What relationship did they have to the written record, to counter-hegemonic histories and to official histories? To what extent, if any, can they be said to articulate a national perspective? These are some of the questions that will be addressed, and case studies that illuminate special aspects of the subject such as oral traditions of the Vikings, of 1798, of the Famine and of landlords will be discussed in some detail.

Irish Comic Tradition - IRLL 30310

Fantasy. Humor. Ribaldry. The Macabre. The Grotesque. Wit. Word play. Satire. Parody.  This course will read diverse examples of the long and fertile comic tradition in Irish literature (in Irish and in English), from medieval to modern, in order to enjoy a good laugh, get an alternative take on the Irish literary tradition, and think about the politics of humor. Authors will include unknown acerbic medieval scribes, satiric bardic poets, Swift, Merriman, Sheridan, Wilde, and Flann O’Brien. No knowledge of Irish is assumed or necessary. Audio recordings of course readings will be accessible for students who need them. This course is NOT for students who have previously taken the Irish Jokes: University Seminar course.

Modern Irish Poetry - IRLL 40308, IRLL 60308

An introduction to modern Irish literature and the Irish poetic tradition, this course is a magnificent opportunity to study modern Irish poetry with the foremost Irish-language critic. Visiting Notre Dame for this academic year, Professor Bríona Nic Dhiarmada, as the Fulbright Professor-in-Residence, will teach a course on modern and contemporary Irish poetry in the Department of Irish Language and Literature. This course focuses on key canonical texts by Irish-language poets and students will conduct close textual readings, examine the social and political context,consider various theoretical applications and deconstruct the mechanics of individual poems. Among the texts to be studies are: Cathal Ó Searcaigh, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Biddy Jenkinson, Michael Hartnett, Máire Mhac an tSaoi, Michael Davitt, Gabriel Rosenstock, Liam Ó Muirlithe, PearseHutchinson, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Máirtín Ó Direáin and Áine Ní Ghlinn. Particular attention will be paid to the poetry of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and the politics of translation. All texts will be available in English. No prior knowledge of Irish required. 
 
Modernism in Ireland, Britain and Europe - IRLL 70301
 
This course is a critical examination of the major canonical texts in literary modernism. We consider the cultural, social and political conditions that gave rise to modernism and how urbanization, advertising, war and cinema serve as metaphors for the modernist transformation of form, narrative and style. In addition to drawing on classic accounts of cultural modernity and contemporary scholarship, issues of modernism in music, fashion and the visual arts will also be addressed. While British and French authors will be studied in detail, particular attention will be paid to the Irish experience in both languages. Authors to be studied include James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, Flann O'Brien, Virginia Woolf, Marcel Proust, Joseph Conrad, Elizabeth Bowen, W.B. Yeats, Seán Ó Ríordáin, Eimar O'Duffy, Pádraic Ó Conaire and Austin Clarke. 
 
 
Poetry and " The Troubles" - IRLL 60104
 
It's to hell with the future and live in the past May the Lord in his mercy be kind to Belfast - Maurice CraigThis course will look at the impact of the post 1969 political conflict in Northern Ireland on contemporary Irish poetry. What is the poet's responsibility, if any, to political and violent conflict in a divided society? How have poets responded to what are popularly known as "The Troubles"? What has been the impact both thematically and formally of poets' engagement with political and violent upheaval?This course will attempt to engage with these and other questions focusing on the work of such poets as Seamus Heaney, Derek Mahon, Paul Muldoon, Ciaran Carson, Maedb McGuckian and Gearoid Mac Lochlainn. It will also address and interrogate the various critical responses of critics such as Edna Longley, Peter McDonald, Clair Wills and Guinn Batten among others. 
 
Folklore, Literature and Irish National Culture - IRLL 40316, IRLL 60316
 
The ideological character of the 19th century concept of folklore allowed it to transcend the social category of peasants from whom it was largely recorded. This course will look at the role of folklore in the building of an Irish national culture from the time of the Gaelic Revival. Programmatic texts in Irish and in English by Douglas Hyde, first president of the Gaelic League, and by Séamus Delargy, director of the Irish Folklore Commission, will be discussed. It will also look at a later polemical text of the Gaelic writer Máirtín Ó Cadhain directed at what he perceived as the essentialism of Irish folklorists. No knowledge of the Irish language required. 
 
Poetry and Politics in Early Modern Ireland - IRLL 40304, IRLL 60305
 
The political poetry of the period 1541-1688 will be discussed and analyzed against the historical background. The primary focus will be the mentalite of the native intelligentsia as it is relfected in the poetry and as it responded to the momentous changes of the period. The origins and rise of the cult of the Stuarts will be examined
and the historiography of the period will be assessed. 
 
 
Foreign Language Podeagogy - IRLL 66075
 
In this course you will be introduced to the theories and research associated with second language acquisition (SLA). You will become familiar with the major research issues, both theoretical and empirical, of this growing field. The goal of this research is to identify the principles and processes that govern second language learning and use. Study of this research will enable us to identify important factors in SLA as we seek to understand their impact on language learning. Additionally, this course focuses on a range of practical implications/applications of SLA theories for communicative language teaching. By the end of this course, you will have developed an awareness of the various techniques and approaches associated with targeted teaching methods. Finally, you will also gain further knowledge and application skills in the field of second/foreign language pedagogy. 
 
 
Irish Language Poetry -  IRLL 40311, IRLL 60306
 
This course will look at the work of the post-war generation of Irish language poets focusing in particular on the work of Seán Ó Ríordáin, Máirtín Ó Direáin and Máire Mhac an tSaoi, the trio credited with successfully bringing Irish language poetry into the modern era. We will use close readings to trace both the formal and thematic innovations in their work and will also endeavor to situate them in relation to Modernist developments in poetry internationally as well as locating them within a specifically Irish poetic trajectory. 
 
 
Clasaicí na Gaeilge - IRLL 60312
 
Déanfar staidéar sa chúrsa seo ar na príomhshaothair a scríobhadh sa Ghaeilge sa tréimhse 1600 -1900. Déanfar cúram den teanga is den litríocht i dteannta a chéile; cuimseoidh an cúrsa idir staidéar téacsúil agus anailís liteartha. Iniúchfar cúlra na dtéacsanna go mion agus pléifear an chritic agus an tráchtaireacht atá déanta orthu go dtí seo. 
 
A Gendered Voice - IRLL 40110, IRLL 60110
 
This course will focus on the interstices of gender and cultural identity in the work of Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill, the foremost contemporary poet writing in Irish. Her poetry will be situated within a theoretical framework which draws, inter alia, on recent feminist scholarship. It will address theories of the feminine as well as the specificities of Irish-language literary and oral discourses and their impact on Ní Dhomhnaill's poetic practice. The course will also address the implications of translation. While texts will be read in English, there will be an opportunity for close textual comparisons with the original Irish-language poems.