LITR 5831 Seminar in World / Multicultural Literature

American Immigrant Literature

Craig White's Literature Courses

visit from John Gorman, Literature professor of Irish-American descent

Questions for Dr. Gorman: For American Multicultural Immigrant literature, how is Irish-American literature representative or unique? What essential writers?

Does Long Day's Journey represent Irish-American literature? What features are related or transcendent to Irish-American culture or identity?

Instructor: pressure from undergrads to incorporate Irish-American texts  . . .

Instructor's Puritanical take on such students' information and motivation:

  • misty Celtic lore and blarney provided by Renaissance Fairs and rosy-dreamy historical romances;

  • sketchy knowledge of 19c discrimination symbolized by NINA (Somewhere in Texas school systems or Community College History courses, NINA gets taught)

  • Irish-Americans as innocuous multicultural identity: charmingly sentimental but assimilated or past enough not to make claims or complaints against American culture generally.

Course previously read Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes with limited success b/c it both confirmed Irish stereotypes and complicated the immigrant narrative.

How perverse is it to provide Long Day's Journey to readers who might prefer leprechauns and Irish Spring commercials? 

instructor's notes from 2012

Irish neighborhoods: enclosed life, geography as parishes; parochial schools and Catholic colleges, vacations at Grand Beach

Public schools used King James Bible, not as popular for Catholicism > parochial schools and Catholic colleges as "shadow system" of education

Mary Gordon (1949- ), The Other Side (1989)

Joyce, Shaw, Beckett as Irish expatriates; all Anglo-Irish?


Three religious / ethnic divisions

Gaelic-Irish: Roman Catholicism

Anglo-Irish: Church of Ireland (includes G. B. Shaw, Oscar Wilde, R. B. Sheridan, W. B. Yeats, Charles Stewart Parnell)

Scots-Irish: Presbyterian


Southern Ireland as Republic didn't join British Commonwealth, separate status from Great Britain


Long Day's Journey into Night

town not receptive to Tyrones

alcoholism as conviviality, sociability; Prohibition as punishment

role of mother central to home

victim mentality; land fails Tyrone

universal or ethnic? struggle, family, willpower


Frank Delaney (b. 1942), Ireland, a Novel (2007)

Pablo O'Higgins (1904-83), muralist and illustrator, studied under Diego Rivera, migrated permanently to Mexico

Vicente Fox (b. 1942), president of Mexico 2000-2006 of Irish descent

St. Patrick's Battalion, European-descended unit of Mexican Army that fought against USA in Mexican-American War 1846-48. (mostly Catholic German and Irish immigrants, incl. deserters from U.S. Army)


Irish Alzheimer's: Forget everything except grudges