Our Irish Literature elective kicked off yesterday with a discussion of that disgusted Anglo-Irish satirist, the hilarious Jonathan Swift.  Room C was packed and everyone, or almost everyone had something to say.  A full-scale argument about America’s invasion of Afghanistan was avoided only at the last minute.

If you want to learn more about Swift, you can download an audio summary of his career at the following address:

Here’s a question to follow on from the class:  What suggestion does Swift make for ending the Irish famine in his pamphlet A Modest Proposal ? Please post your answer as a comment below.

The full text is available here: http://www.fullbooks.com/A-Modest-Proposal.html

Next up is the famous wit, Oscar Wilde and his novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray, a dark tale of jealousy and narcissism.  Materials are available from Ana in the office.  Try to read the text and answer, or at least think about, the questions before coming to class.  Don’t worry if you can’t finish it – come along anyway.  Wilde said of the three main characters in the novel: “Basil Hallward is what I think I am; Lord Henry is what the world thinks me; Dorian is what I would like to be – in other ages, perhaps.”

We’ll also be talking about Wilde’s childhood in Dublin, his family and his path to literary fame and celebrity status.  He said that the English had taken Irish land and made it poor, but the Irish had taken the English language and made it beautiful.  He certainly made it beautiful and beautifully funny too.  So, I’ll be expecting another big turnout next Wednesday in Room C.  Until then …