New book from Peter Lang – Irish Literature and the First World War: Culture, Identity and Memory


Irish Literature and the First World War: Culture, Identity and Memory

By Terry Phillips

Oxford: Peter Lang

292 pp. | ISBN 978-3-0343-1969-0 | £42.00

This book analyses poetry and prose written by combatant and non-combatant Irish writers during the First World War, focusing on key works influenced by Irish, English and European literary traditions. It highlights the complex positions adopted by writers in relation to the international conflict and to Irish debates about nationhood, which resist reduction to the simple binaries of Unionist/pro-war and Nationalist/anti-war. The book goes on to discuss the literature of the decades following the war, looking at how the conflict was remembered in the two parts of the now divided island, both by individuals and collectively, and investigating the dynamic interrelationship between personal recollection and public memory. In conclusion, the author discusses contemporary literature about the war, which often examines family memory as well as collective memory, and explores its role in the narrative of nationhood, both north and south of the border.

Contents: War, Nation and Memory – War and Nation – Irish Soldiers in the Imperial Army: Francis Ledwidge and Thomas Kettle – Debating the Nation: Patrick MacGill and St John Ervine – Nation and Religion: Katharine Tynan, Winifred Letts and Eva Gore-Booth – ‘Patriotism is not enough’: Mrs Victor Rickard and George Bernard Shaw – Remembering War – Disenchanted Memory – Constructing Memory, North and South – Challenging Memory in Northern Ireland: Michael Longley, Christina Reid and Frank McGuinness – Recovering Forgotten Memory: Jennifer Johnston, Sebastian Barry and Dermot Bolger – The Significance of Irish First World War Writing.

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