Irish Theatre and Literature: Examine the 1890’s cultural national movement and the influence it had on Irish Theatre

“The connection between violence and poetry – a bloody crossroad indeed,” so says the preeminent Irish scholar Declan Kiberd when describing the turbulent years of the Irish national revival. This lecture series aims to investigate how a set of important cultural discourses in Irish society has influenced themes in Irish theatre, and how those themes have contributed to images of Irish identity and culture both in Ireland and in the wider world.

Course outline

Session 1: The Irish Literary Revival: Nation and Theatre

This session will examine how the cultural national movement arose in the 1890s made the theatre a significant site for the imagination of a new community formation and a sense of national identity. In particular, it aims to explore the emergence of the Irish national theatre, focusing on polemic reactions to the Celtic Revival movement and romantic images of the west of Ireland by playwrights such as W.B. Yeats and J.M. Synge on the one hand and Samuel Beckett on the other.

Session 2: Contemporary Irish Drama: Staging Imagined Community

This session will discuss the appropriation of myth, the rewriting of history, the re-inventing of national identity and the recreation of memory (both individual and collective) in contemporary Irish drama.

Who should attend

Anyone who is interested in The Irish Literary Revival and Irish Theatre. This course is also for those interested in the Ireland Study Tour.

About the Presenter

 Rina Kim, PhD

Before joining the University of Auckland, Rina taught in the Department of English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick in the UK where she completed her PhD and further developed her expertise in Anglo-Irish literature as well as British and European Theatre. Rina’s monograph, Women and Ireland as Beckett’s Lost Others: Beyond Mourning and Melancholia (Palgrave Macmillan) was published in March 2010. Together with Dr Claire Westall at the University of York, she edited an essay collection Cross-Gendered Literary Voices: Appropriating, Resisting, Embracing (Palgrave Macmillan) in 2012.

Rina is currently working on a project provisionally entitled ‘Drama and the Embodied Mind’ which explores the complicated connections between theatrical texts, spaces and performances and body-mind relationships. It further aims to demonstrate how and why theatre presents an exemplary location to explore the interrelation of mind and body specifically through embodied aesthetic experience.

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