Skip Navigation
search: People Opens New Window | Departments Opens New Window | Penn State Opens New Window | Web Opens New Window
Penn State mark
Penn State mark
University Bulletin
Undergraduate Degree Programs

These course descriptions are not being updated as of August 1, 2016. Current course descriptions are maintained in LionPATH.

English (ENGL)

ENGL 145 (GH;IL) Modern Irish Literature (3) Irish literature in the twentieth century and beyond; focus on the interplay of poltical, social, and cultural, forces on literature.

ENGL 145 Modern Irish Literature (3)

(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.

ENGL 145, Modern Irish Literature, will concentrate on Irish literature, history, and politics from the early twentieth century to the present. The course will begin with the socio-political implications of the Home Rule movement and the important figures associated with the rise of the Irish Literary Renaissance. Instructors will spend much of the course focusing on canonical figures of modern Irish Literature (such as Joyce, Yeats, Synge, Beckett, Shaw,O'Casey,O'Flaherty,and Lady Gregory). The course will introduce students to the political context and themes of Irish Literary Renaissance (Irish Literary Renaissance), including the notion of “cultural nationalism.” Instructors may draw upon contemporary literary critics, such as Declan Kiberd, Seamus Deane, and Terence Brown, by way of introduction to the ILR. The class will then move on to Post-World War II Irish Literature. In this component of the course, instructors will select literature from writers who began publishing in the Post-War era. These authors may be examined as they follow the legacy of the ILR, or as they challenge it and forge new courses for Irish literature. In other words, these authors can be writing within or against the traditions and themes of ILR artists—or, more likely, doing both things at once. This component of the course will help students see the enduring legacy of the themes and forms of the ILR, as Irish authors continually reckon with its massive political and cultural inheritance. The course fulfills IL requirements in its emphasis on postcolonial relationships between Irish identity and culture and issues of British colonial occupation and the influence of American popular culture in the later twentieth century. The interpretive framework of postcolonial studies will inform the instructor’s approach to the literature. Postcolonial studies seeks to examine the conditions and tropes of colonial and post-colonial writers and peoples. While postcolonial studies offers broad theories and concepts that can be applied to any postcolonial scene, the movement nonetheless has an interest in studying and honoring the regional particularities and the specific reaction of its writers to the postcolonial moment. This interplay of the unifying, international experience of colonialism with the particularity of individual nations and writers helps students to become sensitive to ideas of nation, unity, and difference. More so, the tropes of postcolonial literature—and Irish literature especially--focus on concepts of hybridity, the Other, contact zones, modernity vs. tradition, national identity, and personal identity, all on which seek to understand the self and others within an intercultural context. The literature of the IRL also explores the corrosive effects of British imperialism, which helps students to consider whether “might makes right” and interrogate various forms of cultural imperialism, then and now. The literature of the IRL also promotes themes of intercultural understanding, featuring examples of reconciliation and compromise between tradition and modernity, and, more importantly, between Irish, American, and British characters. Students will be evaluated through writing assignments (about 15 pages of formal writing—the instructor can decide upon the number of papers and page length for the assignments), a midterm and final exam that feature essay responses, and class participation, which may include an online discussion forum (on ANGEL) and group presentations. These assignments will help students focus on issues of identity construction, and social and political conflicts within and between cultures (Ireland in relationship to British and American culture and influence) within a post-colonial context.

General Education: GH
Diversity: IL
Bachelor of Arts: Humanities
Effective: Spring 2007

Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.


Look up course abbreviations

Course descriptions are stored in LionPATH, the University-wide student information system. Please visit the LionPATH Course Catalog to access current course descriptions. At that point, you will be leaving the University Bulletin website.

Skip Popular Searches
  1. Bachelor of Arts Degree Requirements
  2. General Education: United States Cultures and International Cultures
  3. Course Index
  4. Graduate Degree Programs Bulletin
  5. General Education: Arts
  6. General Education: Humanities
  7. General Education: Health and Physical Activity
  8. General Education: Natural Sciences
  9. General Education: Social and Behavioral Sciences
  10. General Education: Writing/Speaking