irish literature

Lynching Modernism: Ulysses, America, and the Negro Minstrel Abroad

At one point late in Ulysses, while referencing the fictionalized account of a graphic, gruesome American lynching of a black man, a character in "Cyclops” refers to the ill-fated mob victim as a  "Sambo.” Sambo is a plantation-era racial term that, by the early twentieth century, had become an enduring American stage archetype, often performed in blackface, that spun entertainment from stereotypes about black Americans as provincial and lazy. By naming his lynching victim "Sambo,” Joyce marks the lynching as a theatrical phenomenon, spectacularly American.

Elizabeth Bowen and 1916: An Architecture of Suspense

On Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, in the midst of World War I, fifteen hundred volunteer troops staged a violent uprising in the Irish capital of Dublin and in strategic positions across the then-British colony. In retaliation, the English deployed ground troops and sailed the gunboat Helga up the Liffey River. In the ensuing fighting, Dublin’s main thoroughfare, Sackville Street, was almost utterly destroyed, and over three hundred buildings were damaged in the city, including many major landmarks.