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date: 14 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

For much of the twentieth century, the reputation of many Irish literary writers suffered from their treatment by critics as failed or partly-successful imitators of literary forms successfully realized in the mainstream English tradition. In the past decade, a contrasting critical tendency has tended towards the celebration, and at times the valorization, of Irish writers’ innovations in genre, theme, and form. Such literary reappraisals and cultural retrievals have enlivened older debates as to what are the distinctive, common and enduring features of an ‘Irish’ literary tradition. This analysis of Irish literary culture from 1550 to the present thus reassesses the relationships between history and literature in the light of recent research. It examines the changing status of literature as a historical source, the emergence of diverse literary genres and their implications for the periodization of Irish literary history, and the complex, and contested, trajectory of Irish literary historiography.

Keywords: literature, history, Revival, modernism

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