Irish Literature/Literatura Irlandesa - LEM2055

Dr. Bruce Stewart DLLEM / CCHLA
Reader Emeritus in English Literature
University of Ulster

Bem-vindo / Welcome

UFRN Courses

Lecture Series

The index below lists authors and texts cited in the classroom during the present course on Ireland Literature in Summer-Autumn 2017. That course may be regarded as a cornerstone of a new teaching programme in Irish studies at at UFRN (Brazil) with the aim of providing introduction and training for purposes of the wider program conducted by the Irish Studies Research Group [Grupo de Pesquisas Irlandesas] directed here by Professors Ana Graca Canan and Marcello Amorim under the aegis of the CNPq/CAPES (Brazil). Students are warmly invited to supply feed-back - or anyone else who reaches these pages and feels an interest in the material gathered here. Contact me at

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The primary topic of the course is Irish literature in English – a body of writing based on the turbulent history of a nation on the Western edge of Europe which suffered the impact of a more powerful neighbour, England, and evolved a method of cultural retaliation culminating in some of the masterpieces of modern literature in the language of the colonial master. This extraordinary transaction was accompanied by a constant spirit of resistance which sought to revive the native language, Gaelic, and which resulted in the creation of a modern national state by force of arms in the period 1919-21. The history of that struggle and the nature of the new state are unavoidable strands in the narrative associated with the literary history of the island and are therefore part of the wider context dealt with in this course.

As far as possible all classes will be divided between Lectures and Practicals, allowing for the nature of the material in hand at any time. In the first half (periods 3 & 4 in the UFRN horario), classes will be conducted in the form of transmitted information by the teacher. In other words, the teacher will talk. In the second (periods 4 & 5), the time will be largely occupied with critical work on specific texts involving the maximum of participation on the part of students. Evaluation will be  project-based for Units 1 & 2 and test-based for Unit 3. In 1 & 2, for example, each student – working either singly or in pairs and groups – might take a task such as ‘biographical report’, ‘historical context’, ‘description of form’, ‘listing of vocabulary’, or ‘commentary on poem’, the mark to be arrived at by the consensus of the class. The allotment of dates and topics may vary according to progress made or varying levels of work involved in the proper treatment of each and I reserve the right to vary the list of writers treated at any point.

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Irish Literature at UFRN (LEM 2055)

[ The links below will take you directly to the various texts and galleries used during classroom lectures on the subjects listed here together with some others under each listing which are placed there for further consultation. ]

Lecture Topics
Irish Mythology: An Introduction
William Carleton - Traits and Stories
Saint Patrick and Gaelic Culture
Irish Gothic - Bram Stoker's Dracula
Jonathan Swift - Modest Proposal
W. B. Yeats and the Literary Revival
Maria Edgeworth - Castle Rackrent

Note: Texts for each subject listed below will be uploaded here only after the completion of the relevant in-class sessions. [BS]

Additional Information: Appendices

Anglo-Ireland & the Protestant Ascendancy
The Hedge Schools of Ireland

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Authors/ Works


Historical Events

Cultural Forms



Introductory Meeting: Course Planning



Irish Mythology (1) - Book of Invasions (M.Heaney)

Gaelic Invasion, c.400 b.c.  


Irish Mythology (2) - Irish Romance (Lady Gregory)



Gaelic Myth & Sovereignty


St. Patrick (Confessio)


Coming of Christianity, 432 a.d.

Celtic Christianity


Jonathan Swift (Modest Proposal)


Battle of the Boyne, 1691

Anglo-Irish Ascendency


Marie Edgeworth (Castle Rackrent)


The Act of Union, 1800



William Carleton (Traits & Stories)


Catholic Emancipation, 1828

Rise of Irish Nationalism




WB Yeats & the Irish Literary Revival

Death of Parnell, 1891

Home Rule Bills, 1886, 1893


W. B. Yeats, Early Poems




W. B. Yeats, Later Poems




J. M. Synge & Sean O’Casey

Easter Rising, 1916

Irish Ireland


James Joyce & Literary Modernism




James Joyce, Ulysses (sel.)

Independence, 1922



Samuel Beckett - The Plays (Godot, &c.)


Catholic Triumphalism


Samuel Beckett - The Prose (Murphy, Unnamable)






Flann O’Brien, Third Policeman

World War II

“The Emergency”


Ulster Poetry: Mahon & Longley

The Troubles (NI), 1969



Seamus Heaney, Selected Poems


Irish Revisionism


Brian Friel, Translations

European Union, 1972



Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy




Sebastian Barry The Secret Scripture

Celtic Tiger, 1990s

The Blame Game

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