ENGL 378H/ IS 305H and ENGL 378/ IS 305 The Celts: Leprechauns, Braveheart, and Harry Potter Professor: Janet Morgan Haavisto, Ph.D.
This course is designed to encourage a clearer understanding of the influence the Celts (particularly the Irish and Scots) have exerted on the world and on themselves through their attempts to define their culture. We will examine the characteristics that the Celts have traditionally prized and validated. These characteristics have led the Irish from pre-St. Patrick, into their difficult relationship with the English, into Home Rule, and finally into the European Union. These characteristics have led the Scots from the Roman built Hadrian’s Wall to William Wallace (Braveheart) to a still resented union with England as part of Great Britain. Through literature and cultural studies, we will examine efforts to redefine “Celtishness” for the twenty-first century, along with the issues that must be addressed by all of the constituents in the enterprise in this still divided cultural entity comprised of the British-ruled six counties of Northern Ireland and the free Republic of Ireland, as well as the nationalistic Scots with their justice and educational systems independent of England’s. Beginning with Joyce, Yeats, Synge, Swift, Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling), Stevenson, Scott, and Burns, we will examine the characteristics that have led the Scots through centuries of uneasy interaction with England and into the devastation of the clans and the diaspora resulting from the aftermath of the Battle of Culloden and the Highland Clearances. Likewise, we will examine the centuries of distress the Irish have endured in their relationship with the English. Contemporary Scots, however, live in a very different world—one in which they have moved from a position of perceived superiority in a time in which Hadrian built a wall to contain the “savage to the north” to a world in which their economy is still linked to England’s and...
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