Dublin, UNESCO City of Literature, is the ideal destination in Europe to engage with some of the major figures of modern European literature. Set in its historic Georgian center, the works of key Irish writers such as Joyce, Beckett, and Oscar Wilde can only really be fully appreciated by exploring the city in the company of a knowledgeable guide.
The course will demonstrate how important a good knowledge of Dublin is to fully appreciate key literary works in Irish literature. Participants will spend an hour or two each day reading and analyzing specific sections of cores text. Later in the day, they will then explore the particular part of Dublin where the texts were set. By being able to actually walk around the streets where some of the action takes place and visiting the key places mentioned in the texts, they will develop a much greater appreciation of the writing.
Through the course, the participants will also acquire a greater understanding of how the city of Dublin plays a key role in the selected texts. Irish writers, like Joyce and Beckett, exploited the very specific idioms used in the city of Dublin mainly for comic effect. A lot of the comedy of their work is lost on many readers who are not familiar with the highly specific sense of idiom that is particular to Dubliners.
The course has a very practical element to it. The careful and rigorous explanations of the Guide, supported by the use of maps and coupled with a comprehensive engagement with local historical anecdotes, will bring the participants to an appreciation of very specific nuances of language, and a much greater understanding of the texts. An appreciation of the historical context will also help participants make some of the most challenging prose fiction written in the English language — such as Ulysses by James Joyce and the prose fiction of Samuel Beckett, which are often perceived as too intimidating and intellectual — more accessible.
By the end of the course, participants will have a much richer understanding of the history and geography of Dublin, of its culture and literary history, as well as of what Irish modernism brought to the world. Understanding better Dublin and the works of its most famous literary figures will also give the participants a greater appreciation of what it actually means to be a European.
Concept by: Peter O’Neill
The course will help the participants to:
- Gain deeper insights into canonical texts in modern Irish literature;
- Find strategies to interpret greater meaning by using the skills learned to decipher the texts;
- Engage in a very profound way with Irish history and culture through the exploration of key texts set in the capital city of Dublin – UNESCO City of Literature;
- Guide other readers of the texts in a more grounded and efficient way;
- Analyze and design tailor-made school activities for students who need to study modern Irish writers;
- Foster a deeper understanding of cross-cultural pollination between mainland Europe and the island of Ireland.
Day 1 – Getting to know each other and Ireland’s Literature
- Introduction to the course, the school, and the external week activities;
- Icebreaker activities;
- Presentations of the participants’ schools;
- James Joyce and an Introduction to the Homeric Parallels of Ulysses;
- In the steps of Leopold Bloom, a Joycean exploration of the inner city of Dublin.
Day 2 – Wild about Wilde – Discovering Oscar Wilde and the Irish World of Art
- The wit and wisdom of Oscar Wilde;
- Merrion Square and Georgian Dublin, the birthplace of Wilde;
- The National Gallery of Ireland – key works – Caravaggio, Picasso, and Jack Yeats.
Day 3 – An Introduction to Samuel Beckett
- Dante and the Lobster, the early prose fiction of Samuel Beckett;
- A literary engagement in food appreciation – How to make a Gorgonzola sandwich!
- Creative writing class.
Day 4 – Other Irish writers and Poets
- Thomas Kinsella – The Pen Shop;
- A trip to the Seamus Heaney Centre, Bank of Ireland, College Green.
Day 5 – From Text to Place – a wrap up of Dublin and its literary connections
- Henry Street Arcade and Charles Baudelaire.
Day 6 – Course closure & cultural activities
- Course evaluation: round-up of acquired competencies, feedback, and discussion;
- Awarding of the course Certificate of Attendance.
- Excursion and other external cultural activities.
The schedule describes likely activities but may differ significantly based on the trainer delivering the specific session and the requests of the participants.
If you would like to discuss a specific topic, please indicate it at least 4 weeks in advance. Course modifications are subject to the trainer’s discretion.
The number and schedule of the cultural activities depend on the location, not the course; further information is available on each location webpage. The trainer will send you the definitive course schedule approximately two weeks before the course.