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Irish Literature and the First World War

Culture, Identity and Memory

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Terry Phillips

This book analyses poetry and prose written by combatant and non-combatant Irish writers during the First World War, focusing on key works influenced by Irish, English and European literary traditions. It highlights the complex positions adopted by writers in relation to the international conflict and to Irish debates about nationhood, which resist reduction to the simple binaries of Unionist/pro-war and Nationalist/anti-war. The book goes on to discuss the literature of the decades following the war, looking at how the conflict was remembered in the two parts of the now divided island, both by individuals and collectively, and investigating the dynamic interrelationship between personal recollection and public memory. In conclusion, the author discusses contemporary literature about the war, which often examines family memory as well as collective memory, and explores its role in the narrative of nationhood, both north and south of the border.
Terry Phillips is Honorary Research Fellow in the Department of English at Liverpool Hope University, where she was Dean of Arts and Humanities until her retirement in 2010. She convenes the Irish Studies Research Group at Liverpool Hope University and has published widely on Irish literature and First World War literature.