History and Literature Classes

Spring 2024

Read carefully! Most classes are on Zoom but there is an in-person option. All times listed are in the Central time zone.

Milestones in Irish History: are individual classes in a 12-part series over the next few years that will cover the history of Ireland from St. Patrick in 432 A.D. to the Good Friday/Belfast Agreement in 1998. Each class is offered as a “stand alone” one-meeting class with a focus on an important event in Irish history. No previous knowledge of the subject or Irish history is required for participation.

Past History and Literature Classes

W. B. Yeats (1865–1939), Irish poet.

The Poetry, Prose, and Plays of W.B. Yeats. Learn how William Butler Yeats (1865-1939), shaped Irish national consciousness with a mystical symbolism combined with a mythological method as he progressed and transformed as a poet.

Charles Stewart Parnell

The Passion of Parnell. This course places Parnell within his social, political, and cultural contexts while paying particular attention to his love affair with Kitty O’Shea and his legacy as an inspirational figure for James Joyce and William Butler Yeats in the Irish Literary Revival.

F Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda in MN, 1921.

The St. Paul Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald. Playful, lyrical, and ironic, F.Scott Fitzgerald (1896-1940) is the most refreshingly sophisticated and slyly humorous of Minnesota's great twentieth-century writers.

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with pipe.

Unlocking the Mystery of Sherlock Holmes. Explore the fiction, cultural assumptions (and blind spots!), and biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and his most famous creation in this class for readers of classic Victorian literature and/or writers of crime fiction thrillers.

James Joyce's "Ulysses," book cover

The Genius of James Joyce. James Joyce (1882-1941) can be understood as creating an ever-widening labyrinth of innovation through his four masterpieces: Dubliners (1914), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Ulysses (1922), and Finnegans Wake (1939).

Lady Gregory.

Five Irish Women Playwrights. Explore the work of five women who wrote for the Irish stage during the 20th century, Lady Augusta Gregory, Teresa Deevy, Anne Devlin, Marie Jones, and Marina Carr.

Samuel Beckett

Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Understand and enjoy the formative French influences on the imagination of the great Irish writer Samuel Beckett by reading his two-act play, Waiting for Godot.

Photo of Abbey Theatre in 1913.

The First 25 Years of the Abbey Theatre. Founded by Lady Augusta Gregory, W. B. Yeats, and John Millington Synge, the National Theatre of Ireland (generally known as the Abbey Theatre) has been the cradle of Irish drama for over 100 years.

"Transatlantic" by Colum McCann

Colum McCann’s Transatlantic. Join us for a deep read of TransAtlantic, learning how it fits within the wider scope of the history of the Irish novel, and postmodern literary trends blurring the line between fiction and non-fiction.

Connemara Patch, a painting

The Irish in Minnesota: Emigration during the Famine of 1879. Learn of this compelling story of the Connemaras as they seek a new home first in western Minnesota and ultimately in St. Paul.