Fall 2016: 138

Irish Literature in Translation

4 units
MWF 12-1
6307 Dwinelle Hall
Instructor: Thomas Walsh

L&S Breadth:  Historical Studies OR Social & Behavioral Sciences

This course will begin with a rich reading of the famous sagas of the Ulster and Finn Cycles, to be followed by an overview and close reading of the beautiful lyrical texts of nature- and praise-poetry in the early periods. The instructor’s perspective is that of comparative and world literature, so that students will find a panoramic view of the extensive range of early Irish genres from history, genealogy, law, satire, and gnomic literature. Students from other literary fields are, thus, most welcome. Of particular interest to this course will be the translations of Greco-Roman epic in Irish, a topic that has attracted much recent controversy. As we move from the earliest material, the course will incorporate later textual material from the middle Irish period; we will conclude with a brief section on bardic poetry as it comes to meet the fall of the Gaelic order in the 1700s. We will look, finally, at the way our period is used by the movement called the Irish Revival.

Student work: Student work will include a few short quizzes, 1 short midterm and a final; 1 short paper (due mid-semester) and a term paper (due at semester’s end). In-class presentations will be used to stimulate discussion.  This course is taught in English.

Thomas Kinsella, The Tain: Translated from the Irish Epic Táin Bó Cualinge. New York: Oxford, 2002 (1969). ISBN-10: 0192803735.
Anne Dooley and Harry Roe, Tales of the Elders of Ireland. New York: Oxford University Pres, 2008. ISBN-10: 0199549850.
Riordan, Maurice. Ed. The Finest Music: An Anthology of Early Irish Lyrics. London: Faber & Faber, 2015
John T. Koch (ed.) with J. Carey, The Celtic Heroic Age: Literary Sources for Ancient Celtic Europe and Early Ireland and Wales. Rev. ed. Aberystwyth: Celtic Studies Publications, 2003. ISBN 1-891271-09-1. [On Hold Shelf in Moffitt.]
Declan Kiberd and P. J. Mathews. 2015. Handbook of the Irish Revival: An Anthology of Irish Cultural and Political Writings 1891-1922.  Dublin: Abbey Theatre Press.

COURSE READER: Prepared by the instructor, this text will be available on bCourses. Supporting material will be posted on bCourses.

Prerequisite:  None.  Course and readings in English.