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Reimagining Irish Studies for the Twenty-First Century

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Edited By Eamon Maher and Eugene O'Brien

This landmark collection marks the publication of the 100th book in the Reimagining Ireland series. It attempts to provide a «forward look» (as opposed to what Frank O’Connor once referred to as the « backward look») at what Irish Studies might look like in the third millennium. With a Foreword by Declan Kiberd, it also contains essays by several other leading Irish Studies experts on (among other areas) literature and critical theory, sport, the Irish language, food and beverage studies, cinema, women’s writing, Brexit, religion, Northern Ireland, the legacy of the Great Famine, Ireland in the French imagination, archival research, musicology, and Irish Studies in North America. The book is a tribute to Irish Studies’ foundational commitment to revealing and renewing Irishness within and beyond the national space.

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15 Reimagining Irish Film Studies for the Twenty-First Century

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RUTH BARTON

Irish film studies stands at an interesting moment in its history. What was not so very long ago a brash new discipline that gate-crashed the more established subjects in Arts-Humanities, is now undergoing its own challenges and identity concerns. In this country, as in others, questions are being raised as to its validity in the digital era, particularly now with the rising popularity of viewing platforms (Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and many more), and the turn towards long-form television. This was nowhere more evident than in the lockdown phenomenon that was Normal People.1 Of the twelve episodes of the series, the first six were directed by Lenny Abrahamson, previously better known for his work in cinema (Adam and Paul; Garage; What Richard Did; Frank; Room; The Little Stranger).2 Although Abrahamson, in collaboration with Mark O’Halloran, writer on Adam and Paul and Garage, had made a three-part television series, Prosperity, for RTÉ in the past, his reputation was founded on his minutely observed arthouse feature films.3 From Garage onwards, these were produced by Ed Guiney and Andrew Lowe’s Element Pictures. By the time of the release of Normal People, Element had become established as a leading European production company, ←247 | 248→and home not just to Abrahamson, but also Yorgos Lanthimos, whose most recent films – The Lobster and The Favourite – they have also produced.4 Although Element had been involved in some television work, with the acquisition of Sally Rooney’s Zeitgeist novel, and Abrahamson’s interest in directing it...

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