American literature and Irish culture, 1910–55

The politics of enchantment

Author: Tara Stubbs

American literature and Irish culture, 1910–1955: the politics of enchantment discusses how and why American modernist writers turned to Ireland at various stages during their careers. By placing events such as the Celtic Revival and the Easter Rising at the centre of the discussion, it shows how Irishness became a cultural determinant in the work of American modernists. Each chapter deals with a different source of influence, considering the impact of family, the Celtic Revival, rural mythmaking, nationalist politics and the work of W. B. Yeats on American modernists’ writings. It is the first study to extend the analysis of Irish influence on American literature beyond racial, ethnic or national frameworks.

Through close readings, a sustained focus on individual writers, and in-depth archival research, American literature and Irish culture, 1910–1955 provides a balanced and structured approach to the study of the complexities of American modernist writers’ responses to Ireland. Offering new readings of familiar literary figures – including Fitzgerald, Moore, O’Neill, Steinbeck and Stevens – it makes for essential reading for students and academics working on twentieth-century American and Irish literature and culture, and transatlantic studies.

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‘Considering the achievements of this book (first published in 2013, and reprinted here in affordable paperback), it would be a shame if Stubbs did not produce a second volume.'
Breac: A Digital Journal of Irish Studies

‘In a book centrally concerned with taking the outward, expansive view, it seems only right that the conclusion, “Cultural credibility in America's Ireland—and Ireland's America,” points to intriguing new directions for research.'
Dan O'Brien, University College Dublin
A Digital Journal of Irish Studies
December 2017

‘The sharp writing, detailed analysis, and inclusion of archival research make this a strong resource for those interested in Irish-American studies and help foreground the usefulness of a transatlantic perspective when considering both Irish and American literary histories.'
Christopher Dowd, University of New Haven
Irish Studies Review
July 2014

‘Stubbs helps us to "see the lightning" in her brilliant analyses of some truly remarkable works of poetry and fiction written by US authors in the first half of the twentieth century. At the same time, she allows us to understand its source in new ways and to hear inflections of voice that owe much to an enchantment with Ireland - that "Celtic parcel of irresistible allure" - that still needs unpacking.'
Philip Coleman
Dublin Review of Books
November 2014

‘The book is a valuable intervention not just into the fields of American and Irish literature, but also into the study of transnational cultural encounters and, more philosophically, the responsibilities (and legitimate irresponsibilities) of the imagination'.
Alex Runchman
Comparative American Studies
December 2015

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