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Semester: Summer term 2023

3.02.130 S Troubled Childhood in Irish Fiction and Drama -  


  • Wednesday: 10:15 - 11:45, weekly (12/04/23 - 12/07/23)


NOTE: This course deals with topics and literary text, which involve the themes of violence and child abuse. Students are kindly invited to take this into consideration in their choice of seminar.

According to Fintan O’Toole, one of the most prominent Irish publicists in recent decades, stories of childhood and adolescence have long been the ‘comfort zone of Irish fiction’. A large number of Irish writers have chosen children and adolescents as protagonists, and made their points-of-view the vantage points from which to describe Irish life and society. At the same time, since the late 20th century, Irish society has begun facing up to the abuse which generations of children have suffered not only in families but above all in educational institutions of church and state. Childhood in those cases was anything but a comfort zone. Our course will focus on a set of narratives and dramas, from the early 20th to the early 21st century, in which the experiences of young protagonists are represented from a number of angles, as well as the cultural and social environments in which their troubled path to growing up takes place. In addition, we will look at historical and discursive backgrounds (including the ‘Final Report of the Commission to Inquire into Child Abuse’, known as the ‘Ryan Report’, released in 2009).

The following text will be covered:
Two short stories from James Joyce’s Dubliners (1914): “The Sisters” and “An Encounter”;
A novel: Patrick McCabe, The Butcher Boy (1992) [purchase the Picador edition, if possible, but any edition is acceptable]
A short play based on actual biographical experience: Gerard Mannix Flynn, James X (2003).
Another short play by the dramatist and film director Martin McDonagh (title to be announced).

Students need to purchase and read the novel The Butcher Boy by Patrick McCabe as soon as possible.

Participation as a rule requires an oral input as part of active participation. Credits for BA Anglistik based on “Referat mit Ausarbeitung” (6 KP). All students with different course goals or requirements, please contact me.



  • Studium generale / Gasthörstudium



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Hinweise zur Teilnahme für Gasthörende
Die Veranstaltung wird in englischer Sprache gehalten. Sichere Beherrschung des Englischen auf dem CEF-Niveau C1 ist erforderlich.

(Changed: 19 Dec 2022)  |