Clair Wills

in British and Irish Literature

ISBN: 9780199846719
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

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The Easter Rising of 1916 is seen as the most significant single event in modern Irish history. On Monday, 24 April 1916, a group of Irish Volunteers, led by members of the secret revolutionary organization called the Irish Republican Brotherhood, together with two hundred members of the socialist Irish Citizen Army, assembled at Liberty Hall in the center of Dublin. A nationwide armed uprising against British rule planned for the previous day had been called off in confusion, but some of the leaders of the rebel faction had decided to continue with the rising in Dublin and to seize a number of key locations in the city. These included the General Post Office (which would become the headquarters of the rebellion); the Four Courts; St. Stephen’s Green; strategic buildings, such as Boland’s Mill and Jacob’s Biscuit Factory; and the roads controlling entry to the city from the nearby port. Six days later the rebels surrendered the buildings to the Crown forces after suffering heavy gun bombardment; the conflagration caused by incendiary bombs had destroyed much of the center of the city. Fifteen of the leaders were executed in the following months, and public opinion, which had been against the Volunteers at the start, turned decisively in support of the rebels. The Easter Rising shaped the social and political culture of modern Ireland, and for that reason alone it has assumed great importance in debates about 20th-century Irish literature and culture. But it was in part also a literary and cultural event in itself. Several of the leaders of the insurrection, including Patrick Pearse, Thomas MacDonagh, Joseph Plunkett, and James Connolly, were poets, dramatists, and literary and cultural critics. This bibliography includes studies of the year 1916 as a historical event alongside studies of the politics of the Irish cultural revival that in part led up to it. It offers lists of the literature that responded to the Easter Rising and critical debate on that literature as well as a guide to the historical and cultural debates on the rising that developed through the 20th century.

Article.  10519 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (British and Irish)

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