English 4180-01W: Studies in Regional Literature

Modern Ireland

Dr. Maria Doyle

MW 3:30-4:45, Pafford 109


Office and Phone: TLC 2-248, 678-839-4853

Email: mdoyle@westga.edu

Office Hours: Wednesday 5-6 pm and Thursday 10 am-noon, 1-3 pm and by appt.

Virtual Office Hours: T 9 am-noon (log in to CourseDen and use the chat function)

Website: http://www.westga.edu/~mdoyle


Course Description:

Before U2, Riverdance and the Savannah Saint Patrick's Day Parade, the hero Cuchulain single-handedly defended the entire province of Ulster against an army for seven days and mad Sweeney leaped from tree to tree singing. Mythic figures such as these have done a great deal to inform the development of Irish writing in the twentieth century, and this course will examine how Irish writers have drawn upon these and other conceptions of "traditional" Irishness to create an image of a modern Ireland that could free itself from British colonial domination. From a young man who becomes a hero by claiming to have killed his father (The Playboy of the Western World) to a group of young Dubliners who want to sing like James Brown (The Commitments), course texts will explore the variety of forces, both internal and external, that have contributed to shaping a sense of Irish national identity in the last century. Class discussions will introduce students to major events in modern Irish history – the early twentieth century independence movement, the Northern "Troubles", the emergence of the newly robust Celtic Tiger – and will situate major writers like W.B. Yeats, James Joyce and Seamus Heaney within an Irish tradition while also exploring how they see themselves negotiating between Ireland and broader movements within British, and more recently American, literature and culture.


For information on learning outcomes and the course's relationship to the department's program goals, see http://www.westga.edu/~engdept/fr/CourseGuid/4180.html. As a “Discipline Specific Writing” course, this class will engage students in a variety of formal and informal writing activities. Students must have completed 6 hours of DSW credit to graduate. For more information on DSW goals and outcomes, see see http://www.westga.edu/dsw/.


Additional course materials and online assignments will be available through the online CourseDen system. Students should familiarize themselves with this interface early in the semester.


Required Texts:

Augusta Gregory, trans., Cuchulain of Muirthemne, W.B. Yeats, The Yeats Reader (Finneran, ed.), James Joyce's Dubliners (Norton Critical Edition), Seamus Heaney Opened Ground, John Harrington, ed., Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama, Roddy Doyle, The Commitments. Students will also watch two films out of class for in-class discussion: Paul Greengrass, Bloody Sunday (2002) and John Carney, Once (2006). Students may rent or purchase the films on their own or use the copies placed on reserve in the library.



Online analytical journal (20%): Students will keep an online analytical journal to develop observations and analyses of course material. Students are required to submit entries for five of the six units of discussion: you may submit your analysis at any time during discussion of a unit but no later than the due date listed for each unit on the syllabus, and you may choose which unit you do not write about based on your own interests and schedule. Responses should range from 300-500 words and students will submit at least two analytical and two research-based responses (the fifth may be either); materials for research-based responses are available on hardcopy reserve in the library. Students will receive online feedback on these throughout the semester. Further instructions are posted on CourseDen.

Research project (40% total [30% final paper, 10% preparatory materials]): Students will complete an independent research project on a topic of their choosing for this course. This final product of this project will be a formal 9-11 page paper with an annotated bibliography of at least six secondary sources. To help students develop their project ideas, this final project will be preceded by two components: (1) a 300-500 word proposal that outlines the project idea, your rationale for exploring this question and the materials you will use to do so and (2) an oral presentation of the project in-process to be given in class during the final two weeks of the course. I will provide students with written feedback and suggestions on their proposal; each presentation will be followed by student questions so that you can also receive peer feedback as you work on the finished product.

Exams (Midterm 10%; Final 20%): Exams will ask students to identify and discuss passages, define terms, discuss significant events/stages in the development of modern Irish literature and analyze specific themes and ideas as they appear in the literary works on the syllabus. Students should also be able to discuss the historical and theoretical contexts covered in class. Exams will include short response and essay sections. No makeup exams will be scheduled, and students who arrive late to exams will not be given extra time.

Class Preparation and Participation (10%): Class participation – your preparation for class meetings and your willingness to contribute to our discussions – is an important component of your grade.  Consistent, punctual attendance is the minimum expected of all students, and after four absences, you will lose half a letter grade in this category for each additional class missed. You do not need to explain your absences to me – I understand that sometimes illness, childcare issues, uncooperative automobiles or unforeseen emergencies prevent you from coming to class – but use those allowed days for real emergencies, as I will not differentiate between “excused” and  “unexcused” absences. Doing well in class participation means more than just coming to class.  Students are further expected to have read the material carefully before class meetings, to listen attentively both to the instructor and to the comments other students make during discussions, to ask questions and offer ideas about the material and to respond thoughtfully to ideas presented both by the instructor and the other students.


Additional Policies and Information:

I do not give 'makeup' assignments, and unless an exceptional opportunity arises that is directly related to the course material, I do not offer 'extra credit' opportunities: you will all be assessed by the same methods on the same assignments. If you find that you are having trouble with the course material, adjust your study schedule, come to my office hours or make an appointment at the Writing Center to get help with your writing.


Special Needs: If you have a registered disability that will require accommodation, please see me at the beginning of the semester; I will be happy to discuss your situation. If you have a disability that you have not yet registered through the Disabled Student Services Office, please contact Dr. Ann Phillips in Student Development (678-839-6428).


Cell Phones: Please turn cell phones off when you enter the classroom. Your time during class is committed to the class, and you may check messages outside of class hours.


Outside Sources and Academic Honesty: Academic dishonesty involves any attempt on your part to claim ideas and/or specific phrasing that you have gotten from elsewhere – including, but not limited to, Wikipedia, the dictionary, The New York Times, Sparknotes, an article you found that just sounds "better" than you think you could say it or your Aunt Sally – as your own or to fabricate sources or evidence so as to make your argument sound stronger. Plagiarism thus includes actions such as copying papers or online responses from the internet or other sources (including word-for-word copying and paraphrasing without citation), cheating on exams, turning in work written by someone else or turning in work that you previously submitted for another course.

* All work that you turn in for this course must be your work completed in this semester in response to an assignment for this class; course assignments are designed to help you develop a set of skills, not just produce information, and failure to do your own work both shortchanges you in this skill development process – rather like attempting to play basketball or sculpt a piece of wood without mastering the dribble or learning about your tools – and violates the shared trust of this course.

* Academic dishonesty is a serious offense, and plagiarizing any assignment or part thereof, regardless of the relative value of the assignment in the calculation of your course grade, is grounds for failure of the course.

* In keeping with departmental and university honor policies, all cases of academic dishonesty will be reported both to the Chair of the English Department and to the Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. In short, do your own work and when you use outside information, provide accurate citations for it. For more on the English Department's plagiarism policy, see http://www.westga.edu/~engdept/Plagiarism/pladef.html.

* Students should append a signed copy of the following honor statement to their first online discussion posting and final paper for the course: "I have read the course statement on academic honesty, and I pledge that all material I will submit for credit in this class is my own work."

Deadlines and Late Policy: Due dates for online assignments are listed on the syllabus and in the online instructions for each assignment. Because you have a degree of flexibility in selecting and scheduling these assignments, the online deadlines are firm; no late materials will be accepted unless there is a significant system-wide access outage.

For the final project, no late papers will be accepted, nor will papers be accepted over email. You have all semester to plan and complete this assignment; make sure that you get it in on time.

Paper Format: Your final paper should be typed, double-spaced, in a standard 12 point font (preferably Times New Roman) with 1" top/bottom margins and 1-1.25" left/right margins. Big fonts, extra spaces between your paragraphs, and large margins are pretty easy to spot, so stick to the standard size guidelines and use the revision process to help you generate enough information to present a clear and well-reasoned analysis within the designated space limitations. Papers are required to have inline citations where appropriate and a descriptive title (i.e. not "Dubliners" but "Images of Darkness in Dubliners"), and you must number your pages and staple (NOT paper clip, glue, or origami fold) them together. Include your signed honor statement at the end of your text.


Schedule of Readings and Assignments:

Students should have completed all reading assignments by the date they are listed on the syllabus. This schedule represents my current plan for the course; circumstances throughout the semester may necessitate some revisions, which will be announced in class and posted to the CourseDen page.


I. Exploring a Mythology of Irishness

M         8/16     Introduction: Before the Literary Revival

W        8/18     Augusta Gregory, Cuchulain of Muirthemne (focus on the following sections, although you may read further if you wish: "Boy Deeds of Cuchulain," "The War for the Bull of Cuailgne," "The Only Jealousy of Emer," "The Death of Aoife's Only Son," "The Death of Cuchulain")

M         8/23     William Butler Yeats, poetry in The Yeats Reader (focus on: "The Stolen Child," "To the Rose upon the Rood of Time," "To Ireland in the Coming Times," "The Hosting of the Sidhe," "Red Hanrahan's Song about Ireland," "A Woman Homer Sung," "No Second Troy," "September 1913," "When Helen Lived," "The Wild Swans at Coole," "Easter 1916," "Sixteen Dead Men," "The Rose Tree," "On a Political Prisoner")

W        8/25     William Butler Yeats, poetry in The Yeats Reader (focus on: "Meditations in Time of Civil War," "In Memory of Eva Gore-Booth and Con Markiewicz," "Parnell's Funeral," "Come Gather Round Me Parnellites," "Under Ben Bulben," "Cuchulain Comforted," "The Statues," "Man and the Echo")

F          8/27     Online journal entries for Unit I due by 5 pm; entries submitted after 5 pm will not be graded.


II. National Identity and the Abbey Theater

M         8/30     William Butler Yeats, plays in The Yeats Reader (Cathleen ni Houlihan, On Baile's Strand, Death of Cuchulain

W        9/1       J.M. Synge, Riders to the Sea and The Playboy of the Western World, Acts 1-2 (in Harrington)

M         9/6       LABOR DAY

W        9/8       J.M. Synge, The Playboy of the Western World, Act 3 (in Harrington)

F          9/10     Online journal entries for Unit II due by 5 pm; entries submitted after 5 pm will not be graded.


III. Urban Ireland

M         9/13     James Joyce, Dubliners ("The Sisters" to "The Boarding House")

W        9/15     James Joyce, Dubliners ("A Little Cloud" to "Grace")

M         9/20     James Joyce, Dubliners ("The Dead")

W        9/22     Midterm

F          9/24     Online journal entries for Unit III due by 5 pm; entries submitted after 5 pm will not be graded.


IV. After Independence

M         9/27     Eamon de Valera, "The Ireland That We Dreamed Of" (CourseDen: Weblinks); Patrick Kavanagh, "The Great Hunger" (CourseDen)

W        9/29     Sean O'Casey, Juno and the Paycock (in Harrington)

F          10/1     Online journal entries for Unit IV due by 5 pm; entries submitted after 5 pm will not be graded.


V. The Northern Troubles

M         10/4     Popular culture and Northern Ireland; introduction to Bloody Sunday

W        10/6     Paul Greengrass, Bloody Sunday (Students should have watched the film prior to class; two copies are on reserve in the library for student use)

                        Last day to withdraw with a W


M         10/11   Seamus Heaney, from Opened Ground ("Digging," "Bogland," "The Tollund Man," "Punishment," "The Strand at Lough Beag," and the Station Island Sequence [Pts. 1-12, pp. 224-246])

W        10/13   Seamus Heaney, from Opened Ground ("Sweeney in Flight" [pp. 183-196] and poems from "Sweeney Redivivus" ["The First Gloss" to "On the Road", pp. 247-264])

Th-F    10/14-15          FALL BREAK


M         10/18   Brian Friel, Translations (in Harrington, Modern Irish Drama)

W        10/20   Brian Friel, Translations (in Harrington, Modern Irish Drama)

F          10/22   Online journal entries for Unit V due by 5 pm; entries submitted after 5 pm will not be graded.


VI. Revisiting the Republic

M         10/25   Roddy Doyle, The Commitments

T          10/26   Research proposals due electronically by 5 pm

W        10/27   Roddy Doyle, The Commitments


M         11/1     Marina Carr, By the Bog of Cats… (in Harrington, Modern Irish Drama)

W        11/3     Marina Carr, By the Bog of Cats… (in Harrington, Modern Irish Drama)

F          11/5     Online journal entries for Unit VI due by 5 pm; entries submitted after 5 pm will not be graded.


M         11/8     Student research presentations and peer review

W        11/10   Student research presentations and peer review


M         11/15   Student research presentations and peer review

W        11/17   Student research presentations and peer review


M         11/22   Student research presentations and peer review



M         11/29   John Carney, Once (students must view the film before class)

W        12/1     Final lecture and exam review


Friday, 12/10: Final exam, 2-4 pm (bring a bluebook)