Modern Irish Writers and the Wars
Modern Irish Writers and the Wars

Modern Irish Writers and the Wars


21.6 x 13.8 cm.       Ulster Editions & Monographs series (ISSN 0954-3392) volume 7

In recent years the literature arising out of the Troubles of the last three decades has understandably stimulated widespread and sustained critical comment and debate, but there has been no such intensive examination of the Irish literature of the century’s wars.

The events of 1916, the Anglo-Irish War, the Irish and Spanish Civil Wars and the First and Second World Wars stimulated a literature by Irish writers of cumulative interest and importance. In particular, in its diversity and in the complexities of allegiance, attitude and situation involved, it is in contrast with, for instance, English war writing of this century where the issues are less complex, and where First World War combatant writing with its stress on battlefield experience laid down an influential paradigm for writers of later wars. Much Irish writing relating to the century’s conflicts is the work of non-combatants – most famously Yeats and O’Casey – and the greater variety of types of war experience endured in conflicts of varying degrees of intensity and duration, both on home ground and abroad, gave rise to a war literature that shows a wide spectrum of literary responses. It is precisely this diversity in its various political and social contexts that the present volume seeks to address.

The essays collected here, a number of which were delivered at the first session of the Ulster Symposium at the University of Ulster in 1992, comprise an examination of a range of Irish war-related writing by specialists in various fields. Some attention is given to the literature of the recent Troubles, but the main focus of the book is on the century’s wars in Irish literary experience. 

Introduction. Kathleen Devine
'The Secret Scripture: Irish Poets in the European War'. Bruce Stewart
'1916: the Idea and the Action'. Declan Kiberd
'Yeats and War'. Jacqueline Genet
'Maud Gonne: Romantic Republican'. A.Norman Jeffares
'O'Casey at War'. Christopher Murray
'Sean O'Faolain's Midsummer Night Madness and Other Stories: Contexts for Revisionism'. Patrick Walsh
'Frank O'Connor's ‘War Book’: Guests of the Nation'. Elmer Andrews
'Louis MacNeice and the Second World War'. Terence Brown
'Beckett and World War II'. John Fletcher
'Elizabeth Bowen: the War's ‘Awful Illumination’ in The Heat of the Day'. Josette Leray
'Denis Johnston: Neutrality and Buchenwald'. Terence Boyle
'A Question of Guilt - Francis Stuart's War'. Anne McCartney
'Reading Protestant Writing: representations of the Troubles in the Poetry of Derek Mahon and Glen Patterson's Burning Your Own'. John Goodby
'A Necessary Distance? Mythopoeia and Violence in At the Black Pig's Dyke'.  Alan J. Peacock and Kathleen Devine

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