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Irish Literature 102: Key Figures of Revivalism


Irish literature revolves around a rich culture and extensive history. In the Irish Literature 101 series, the focus was on the general outline of the literary eras in Ireland. However, to better understand this literary tradition, Irish Literature 102 dives deeper into the key literary figures that influenced the literary movements. Additionally, this series constitutes a wide-ranging study on works that are examined in the context of documented events and critical cultural movements.

Irish Literature 102 is divided into the following chapters:

- Cuala Press, Irish Revivalism & Feminism

- James Joyce and Reconstruction of Irish Literature

- Irish Witticism Through Kafkaesque Lenses: A Flann O’Brien Biography

- Key Figures of Revivalism 

- Women & Literary Romanticism in Ireland

- The Life of Thomas Moore - A Remarkable Romanticism Figure

The blooming of Irish literature started about a century ago, and yet reverberates within the very identity of Ireland even today. It was a turning point to abandon the imposing travesty that was brought by British colonialism, and to seek refuge in solemnity of the country’s past heritage. This return, or revival, set a different future in the Irish foundational stone. Besides bringing back the Gaelic language, which was then at verges of certain extinction, the ancient fairy tales and morals were once again brought back to life.

The Riders of the Sidhe, by John Duncan 1911. An example of Irish revival art.

Revivalism: a Nationalistic Pride

W. B. Yeats, and all his unique writing skills, elaborate poetic essence and his unwavering love for his nation and true identity, stand at the heart of the movement. However, he was not alone in his quest. Several books were written on the druids, zoomorphic personifications, Celtic deities and heroes, while writers used slight references or contextual hints in the poetry collections or stories.