ENG 140: Literature and Society
TT: 3-4:50 319 Berkey Hall
JOHNSEN /C703 Wells Hall / TT at 11:30am (appointment) and after class

REQUIRED TEXTS:  Harrington (ed), Modern and Contemporary Irish Drama (Norton ISBN 978-0-393-93243-0); Pethica (ed), Yeats's Poetry, Drama, and Prose (Norton: 0393974979); Joyce, The Portable James Joyce (Penguin: 0140150307); Heaney, The Spirit Level (Farrar: 0374525110); Bolger, The Ballymun Trilogy (New Island Books: 9781848400672); Townshend, Ireland: The Twentieth Century (9780340663356) ; Internet Bookstores

Reading assignments to be completed for class discussion on the following dates; you may need Realplayer (free) for soundfiles.

August 30: Introduction; [read first five chapters of Townshend, Ireland: The Twentieth Century by midterm];
[lecture quotes: Henry James, Eavan Boland,, Peter Sloterdijk]
4 September: Somerville & Ross, read (download) "Lisheen Races, Second Hand"; see episode of The Irish RM in class; (or on YouTube); for complete book, search on Irish RM at Google advanced search;
6: read Yeats, poetry 1-29; read  selection from "Magic"  275-276 (all in Pethica); "The Lake Isle of Innisfree""Down By the Salley Gardens","He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven" at Drumcliffe Churchyard; see Oscar Wilde The Importance of Being Earnest (first half); (download copy of play to read)     
See (second half of) The Importance of Being Earnest); Yeats & Lady Gregory, Cathleen Ni Houlihan in Harrington (see Killala),  also 401-432, Harrington;
13: Synge, Riders to the Sea (Harrington) [Aran Islands Virtual Tour]; see DruidSynge performance of Riders to the Sea in class
18: Lady Gregory, Spreading the News, The Rising of the Moon (Harrington); also 443-452, Harrington
20: Shaw, John Bull's Other Island (Harrington); also 473-495, Harrington; begin Joyce, Dubliners (in Portable JJ); (also read first version of "The Sisters" from The Irish Homestead in 1904); Ellmann
25: continue Dubliners; see The Dead; selected Letters of Joyce
Synge, Playboy of the Western World (Harrington); also 453-472, Harrington; see DruidSynge performance of  Playboy of the Western World in class; watch online earlier Garry Hynes production at Donmar Warehouse (MSU Lib Theatre in Video)
10/2: lecture on Playboy of the Western World; Yeats, 30-53, 250-254 (Pethica); National Library Yeats Exhibition.
4: Joyce, A Portrait.... (in Portable JJ), chapters One & Two
9: Portrait, chapters Three to Five; Séan Patrick Moran, "Patrick Pearse and the European Revolt Against Reason"; Pearse's speech at the grave of O'Donovan Rossa; hear a reading of the speech
11: see Strick's film version of Portrait in class
16: midterm exam: 15 points   [sample midterm exam]; [how to prepare for the exams]
: keep current with Irish history by reading Townshend, finishing it by the final exam; Yeats, 54-101, 285-292 (Pethica); At the Hawk's Well (Harrington)
see Mise Éire in class; see notes
25: see Michael Collins in class; page at Warner Bros.
: O'Casey, Juno and the Paycock (Harrington); also 496-516, Harrington; see Colm Toibin's review of Declan Kiberd's book Inventing Ireland
1 November: Yeats, 101-113 (Pethica); "Leda and the Swan"; Yeats, Purgatory (Harrington); See Man of Aran in class
6: Yeats, 114-130 (Pethica)
8: NO CLASS BUT read, see Beckett, Krapp's Last Tape and 517-539 (Harrington); see at Theatre in Video (MSU Lib Theatre in Video) or Pinter's version
13: see Beckett's Film in class; from Beckett's filmscript; Bishop Berkeley
see The Rocky Road to Dublin; read Translations and  540-558 (Harrington); Field Day
20: optional writing
22: No class Thanksgiving Holiday
see December Bride in class
29: read Heaney, The Spirit Level; video of Heaney reading; "Death of A Naturalist"; recordings of other 'Gaelic' poets (Tom Paulin, Scottish poet Douglas Dunn); Ciaran Carson, a reading at Kilkenny; "Belfast Confetti"
4 December:
See The Commitments in class; read The Weir and 559-576 (Harrington); Jack's story
6: Bolger, The Ballymun Trilogy; Bolger reading his poetry
12/10: 3-5 Final exam in our classroom  (15 points; mostly covering work after midterm, perhaps 2 passages from before midterm)


Essay: Your responsibility is to use your gifts of reading and writing in the service of an author we have read together. The essay should develop further what you wrote about one of the passages on the midterm exam. In general, you should write so that your reader can try thinking of her/him as you do. Your job is to help your reader learn to read the author you write about with greater attention and understanding. (15 points)

Essay Topic:  Due 18 November (Sunday).  Attach to an email sent to johnsen@msu.edu   Expand one of your answers from the midterm into a coherent essay (1500 words)

Essay format: You should use the essay format you learned in ENG or in WRAC. Otherwise, follow either the Chicago Manual of Style or the MLA (consult The Owl at Purdue on MLA format). In whatever format, make certain you adequately footnote any idea you use from any source so that your reader can follow you up.  (For quoting from our texts, a single footnote giving info, then page numbers or lines numbers in parentheses is sufficient).  Read the University policy on plagiarism.  My policy? I will fail anyone who plagiarises.

Exams: The midterm and final will be made up of unidentified passages from your reading, including Townshend and films shown in class. You will be asked to write on three passages, from a choice of five that you will discuss, without books, without notes; stow all electronic gear for the duration of the exam (15+15 points).

Grades: grades are calculated by adding your accumulated points from essay (15), exams (15 + 15) or B-plan, no essay, just two exams, midterm (mutliply score by 1.5) and final (multiply score by 1.5): 38 or more points, rounded up to a 4.0 grade; 32 points would be rounded back to a 3.0, etc. 

Class lecture: I like questions and comments. They help me convert my own ideas about what we read together, out of the intellectual shorthand in which they were conceived, into a more public language. Questions also help me to identify the more "questionable" aspects of my own thinking, for improvement. If you have a question that comes to you before or after class, you should e-mail it to me.

Some other useful websites relevant to course material include:
Shortest possible introduction to important historical developments (links to MSU subscription to Oxford Dictionary of Irish [or British] History in parentheses): Glorious revolution (OCBH); Act of Union; (OCIH)   Catholic Emancipation (OCIH);  The Irish Famine (OCIH); contemporary 'views' of the Famine; historical figures: Daniel O'Connell (OCIH); Charles Stewart Parnell (OCIH); James Connolly (OCIH); Michael Collins (OCIH); Eamon DeValera (OCIH); 20C Ireland timeline (Oxford Reference Online link); The Abbey Theatre; map of Ireland; hotmap of Ireland; Dublinmapped; Dublin hotmap; central Dublin map

Intute: arts & humanities
Jack Lynch's Literary resources: Twentieth Century British and Irish
Alan Liu's Voice of the Shuttle/English Lit/Modern
Bible Gateway
The Belfast Group [resource on Belfast poets at Emory]
BBC Northern Ireland poetry page
CELT: Corpus of Electronic Texts
Irish Resources in the Humanities
Medieval Irish texts at York CA
The Irish Virtual Research Library and Repository
General links for Ireland

The Unabridged Constitution of Ireland (unofficial variorum)
Act of Union Virtual Library
film of Easter 1916 destruction

Wilde links at Victoria web
Oscar Wilde texts
Yeats Trail
Current Society of Golden Dawn website
Lady Gregory, Our Irish Theatre (webtext)
Joyce Images
James Joyce Music Page
Ceolas (Celtic music on internet)
Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Eireann promoting the music, culture, and arts of Ireland at home and abroad

Irish Traditional Music Archive

Irish Music Magazine

Peter Browne
, a frequent visitor to the department's programs in Ireland, gives a performance and lecture on the Uilleann pipes. He produces Céilí House for RTE
Green Linnet (
Irish music company)