A hundred years ago, an armed group of Irish nationalist rebels took over public buildings in Dublin, declared a Republic and held out for a week against the British army. They had little public support and the leaders knew that they had no chance of military success. Yet, after those leaders were executed, the Rising was embraced as a ritual of sacrifice, the most effective piece of public theater yet staged. In this course we look at what happened in Easter Week, 1916, how it was imagined at the time and how it was later reflected in drama, in poetry and in fiction.
Sean O’Casey, The Plough and the Stars
Charles Townshend, Easter 1916
Roddy Doyle, A Star Called Henry
Irish Murdoch, The Red and the Green
WB Yeats, Selected Poems
Sebastian Barry, A Long, Long Way
Students will be expected to read and reflect on firsthand primary source documents and on aesthetic materials (play texts, poems, novels and images). Each student will prepare a brief blog post on the set text before each class. An essay of 3,000-4,000 words will be presented by each student at the end of spring break and again at the end of the semester.