Writers have been a nation-building force in Ireland. Poets like Yeats articulated revolutionary dreams of Irish statehood. The 1916 Easter Rising, which sought to overthrow the British colonial masters, was led by people with romantic, literary visions of an independent Ireland.
But Ireland has also had a vexed, tense relationship with its writers. For decades, a national parochialism and censorious culture had Ireland closing itself off to the world and tamping down the more fervent writings and imaginings of its writers. In turn, the literature wrestled with the overbearing influence of the church and a country that seemed mired in its self-imposed cloister and poverty, both in terms of its economy and its imagination.
— From CBC Radio's "Sunday Edition" show notes from June 1, 2018
On June 1, Faculty Fellow Declan Kiberd, the Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies, Professor of English and Irish Language and Literature, discussed issues related to how Ireland creates writers and writers created Ireland on CBC Radio with host of "Sunday Edition" Michael Enright.
Professor Kiberd is author of numerous books on Irish writers and Irish literature. His most recent book, After Ireland: Writing the Nation from Beckett to the Present (Harvard University Press) was published in early 2018. [Read more about After Ireland: Writing the Nation from Beckett to the Present.]
Listen to the podcast of Michael Enright, host of "Sunday Edition" on CBC Radio, with Declan Kiberd.