1916 and Irish literature, culture and society: an introduction
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Seán Crosson (2015) '1916 and Irish Literature, Culture & Society: An Introduction' In: Seán Crosson and Werner Huber(Eds.). Towards 2016: 1916 and Irish Literature, Culture & Society. Trier : Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier.
1916 marked an important moment in the development of modern Ireland. The continuing resonance of the Republican Rising that took place in that year was evident in the now much quoted editorial of The Irish Times (18 Nov 2010) the day after it was announced Ireland was to receive a financial bailout from the EU and IMF. "Was it for this?" the editorial asked, "the men of 1916 died." However, the Rising was but one of a range of significant events in 1916. Beyond the political sphere, 1916 marked the publication of James Joyce's first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, and also saw the foundation of Ireland's first indigenous film production company, The Film Company of Ireland, whose co-founder James Mark Sullivan was arrested after the Rising and charged with complicity. 1916 was also the year in which Ireland was aligned to Greenwich Mean Time for the first time, supplanting Dublin Mean Time, bringing the island temporally closer to the rest of the United Kingdom in the same year that would mark an important point in the changing political relationship between the UK and Ireland. Towards 2016: 1916 and Irish Literature, Culture & Society is cognisant of the multiple perspectives and events that are associated with 1916 in Ireland and their continuing relevance to Irish literature, culture and society. The collection (to which this chapter is the introduction) considers a broad range of cultural forms and societal issues, including politics, theatre, traditional music, poetry, James Joyce, greyhound sports, graphic novels, contemporary fiction, documentary, language, political representation, and the Irish economy with contributions from both emerging academics and established scholars. Also featured is an interview with acclaimed film director and novelist Neil Jordan (conducted by novelist Patrick McCabe) on his life and work, including his biopic Michael Collins (1996), a work which includes one of the most memorable renderings of the Rising and its aftermath. Among the questions considered in the collection are: What were the formative influences on one of leaders of the Rising, James Connolly? What effect had the Rising on Ireland's fledgling labour movement? What impact did the Rising have on the Abbey and Irish theatre? What connects 1916, James Joyce, and the Cuban Revolution? What is the relevance of 1916 to Irish traditional music? What place has 1916 in contemporary Irish fiction and poetry? What are the relations between the Rising, sequential art, popular culture, and memory? A century after the 1916 Proclamation spoke of equality between women and men, could Ireland be finally about to realise equal gender distribution in politics? Does 'Irish sovereignty', a central concern of the Rising leaders, have any relevance for Ireland in the contemporary globalised and European Union context?
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