Anglo-Irish Writing from Swift to Shaw

B.A. Level
M.A. Level
Study year
Credit value
2-year MA - post-2013, Z+Zk8
2-year MA - pre-2013, Z+Zk10
2-year MA, Z5
Clare Wallace

The course will draw upon the rich tradition of Anglo-Irish writing, focusing on a variety of writers primarily from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  In particular we will examine writers who have worked with humour and horror, in comic and gothic genres.  One of the aims of this course is to investigate the subversive potential of the genres these writers used, we will also interrogate some of the recurring themes and motifs in the work—in particular that of civility/civilisation. Until recently many of these authors were considered as part of an English literary tradition, however we will be exploring the potential for doubleness in their work and identities as Anglo and Irish.

Primary texts:
• Jonathan Swift Gulliver’s Travels (1726),
• Jonathan Swift A Modest Proposal 
• Edmund Burke Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790),
• Maria Edgeworth Castle Rackrent (1800),
• Dion Boucicault The Shaughraun (1874),
• J. Sheridan LeFanu Selected stories,
• Bram Stoker Dracula (1897),
•Oscar Wilde The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), selected essays (“The Critic as Artist”, “The Decay of Lying”, “Pen, Pencil and Poison”)
• G.B. Shaw John Bull’s Other Island (1904)
Some of these texts and useful critical commentaries are to be found in The Field Day Anthology of Irish Literature (Vols I and II).
Recommended secondary reading:
• W.J. McCormack, From Burke to Beckett Ascendency Tradition and Betrayal in Literary History. Cork, 1994.
• Terry Eagleton, Heathcliff and the Great Hunger Studies in Irish Culture. Verso 1995.
• Declan Kiberd, Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation. Jonathan Cape, 1995.
• R.F. Foster, Modern Ireland 1600-1972. Penguin, 1988.
• R.F. Foster, Chapter 4: Ascendancy and Union, The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1989. (Also in British Studies Library Room 219c)
• John H. Plumb, England in the Eighteenth Century. Pelican, 1990. (Also in British Studies Library Room 219c)
• Ernest Tuveson ed., Swift: A Collection of Critical Essays. Prentice-Hall, 1964.
• A. Norman Jeffares ed., Swift—Modern Judgements . MacMillan, 1968.
• W.J. McCormack, “Language, Class and Genre 1780-1830,” The Field Day Anthology.
• W.J. McCormack, “Maria Edgeworth 1768-1849,” The Field Day Anthology.
• Soňa Nováková, “‘Fictions of Reconciliation’: The Case of Maria Edgeworth’s Irish Tales,” Litteraria Pragensia Vol.7, No. 13 (1997).
• Jerold E. Hogle ed., The Cambridge Companion to Gothic Fiction. Cambridge, 2002. (British Studies Library Room 219c)
• Robert Tracy, The Unappeasable Host: Studies in Irish Identities. UCD, 1998.
• W.J. McCormack, “Irish Gothic and After,” The Field Day Anthology.
• Matthew Arnold, Celtic Literature. See The Field Day Anthology and the internet.
• Neil Sammells, Wilde Style: The Plays and Prose of Oscar Wilde. Longman, 2000.
• Christopher Innes, Modern British Drama The Twentieth Century. Cambridge 2002. (See chapters on G.B. Shaw).

Students are expected to attend classes, read the materials assigned and to participate in discussions.  Depending on the numbers enrolled, each student will give a presentation or will compose written responses to the core reading. All students requiring credits must submit an essay.

MA Students
Final essays for Credit (Záp.) should be 3000 words.
Final essays for PP should be 4500-5000 words.

BA Students (2nd and 3rd year)
Final essays for Credit (Záp.) should be 2000 words.

Grading Scheme


Attendance and Participation




Final Essay