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October 2015 New Collection on 1916 by NUI Galway Academic
A major new collection on 1916 has been co-edited by Dr Seán Crosson, Lecturer with NUI Galway’s Huston School of Film and Digital Media. Towards 2016: 1916 in Irish Literature, Culture & Society reflects the multiple perspectives and events that are associated with 1916 in Ireland and their continuing relevance to Irish literature, culture and society.
Towards 2016: 1916 in Irish Literature, Culture & Society, also co-edited by Professor Werner Huber of the University of Vienna, 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, the media, language, political representation, and the Irish economy with contributions from both emerging academics and established scholars.
Among the contributors is acclaimed film director and novelist Neil Jordan (in an interview conducted by novelist Patrick McCabe), who provides insight to his life and work, including his biopic Michael Collins (1996), a production which includes one of the most memorable renderings of the Rising and its aftermath.
NUI Galway’s Professor Alan Ahearne also contributed to the collection and examines if Irish economic sovereignty (a principle concern of the Rising’s leaders) is a thing of the past: “The sentiments underlining the 1916 proclamation continue to resonate in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland today, and the notion of economic sovereignty has again been prominent in the national dialogue over recent years as politicians and commentators regularly refer to the loss of sovereignty associated with the country’s EU/IMF programme that began in December 2010 and ended in December 2013. However, the idea that Irish policymakers can have full control of our economy is delusional. For Ireland, the largest chunks of economic sovereignty were willingly ceded when the country joined the EU and especially when it adopted the single currency.”
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?
Dr Seán Crosson, co-editor and NUI Galway Lecturer, said: “1916 marked an important moment in the development of modern Ireland. The continuing resonance of the Rising to contemporary Ireland was evident in the now much quoted editorial of The Irish Times in November 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’, thus also highlighting the gendering of the commemoration of that event.”
“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. Our collection is cognisant of the variety of perspectives and areas in which 1916 continues to resonate,” continued Dr Crosson.
Towards 2016: 1916 in Irish Literature, Culture & Society is published as part of the prestigious peer-reviewed Irish Studies in Europe publication series, produced under the aegis of the European Federations of Associations and Centres of Irish Studies (EFACIS). Previous volumes in the series have featured prominent writers and academics including (the late poet and Nobel Laurette Seamus Heaney, former Ireland Professor of Poetry Harry Clifton, acclaimed poet Rita Ann Higgins and academics Declan Kiberd, Anne Saddlemeyer, and Ruth Barton.