The Great War in Irish Theater, Literature and Art

The Great War of 1914-1918 was a defining experience for the modern world. Ireland was no exception: around 40,000 Irishmen died. But unlike in other cultures, the memory of the war was largely suppressed in Ireland, in part because it conflicted with the nationalist uprising that began in 1916. Writers who tried to represent it often found their work suppressed or ignored: most famously, Sean O’ Casey’s play The Silver Tassie was rejected by the Abbey. In this course, we excavate forgotten memories and explore a fascinating tension between remembrance and amnesia.

Sample reading list:
Sean O’Casey, The Silver Tassie
Gerald Hanley, The German Prisoner
Liam O’Flaherty, Return of the Brute
William Butler Yeats, An Irish Airman Foresees His Death
Robert Graves, Goodbye to All That
C. S. Lewis, The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
See instructor for complete list

Reading/Writing assignments:
The class will read a significant work each week and each student will be expected to create a short blog post on the reading before class. Two substantial essays will be required and graded.




Wednesdays, 1:30 - 4:20 pm


Fintan O'Toole