The Irish Identity on Great Courses Plus
Published on 23rd February 2021
In his search for Irish Identity, Professor Marc Conner, on Great Courses Plus, provides us with a remarkable insight into the evolving and intertwining culture, literature and government of Ireland. He reveals the multifaceted story of the Irish Renaissance through an exploration of its complex history and remarkable literature.
After a short introduction explaining the Celts, who were the first settlers in Ireland, he brings us from the Norman invasion in 1169 through the savage Penal Laws, the Act of Union in 1800 and the Great Famine in 1845. He speaks about the rebellions of Wolfe Tone and Robert Emmet, the peaceful political movements of Daniel O'Connell and Charles Stewart Parnell and the violent Easter Rising in 1916, led by men like Patrick Pearse and James Connolly. He explores how in the latter half of the nineteenth century the support for Irish nationalism increased.
In conjunction with this rise in nationalism, a group of writers began taking a keen interest in the uniquely Irish culture, from its language to its art, to its mythology. Professor Conner brings us right into the Irish Renaissance and writers like William Butler Yeats, Lady Gregory, and John Millington Synge.
These writers looked back at the ancient Irish myths and legends and used them to invoke spells and create a new Irish revival. He also presents James Joyce, George Bernard Shaw, and Oscar Wilde. Joyce did not see himself as part of the Irish Revival Movement but Professor Connor shows how he is part of the Naturalism movement like Emile Zola and Frank Norris.
Trying to explain Irish Identity is almost impossible, but in this course we are given an excellent treatment of Irish literature and culture. The lectures are very well correlated and are marked by Professor Conner's love for the material. He has a thorough knowledge of the subject and that comes across in his talks. I absolutely enjoyed the course and I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in Ireland’s history or literature.
Submitted by John G in Inchicore Library.