The Great Irish Famine and its Representations in Contemporary Literature

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The topic of this thesis is the Great Irish Potato Famine and its representations in contemporary literature, with an emphasis on three themes: hunger, class relations, and imperialism. The themes will be contextualised by historical accounts and short stories written during, and shortly after the famine era. The question is how these accounts from completely different eras compare to each other, and how the always changing Irish cultural memory has influence the literary representations of the famine. Have the 170 years since the famine changed its visualisation of the devastating era in novels, or have they stayed the same for the most part? The topic and the answers to the questions will be studied through analyses of both contemporary and historical short stories of the famine. The former being novels published in the last decade, The Killing Snows by Charles Egan (2008), Grace by Paul Lynch (2017), and The Flight of the Wren by Orla McAlinden (2018), and the latter being published during the nineteenth century and early twentieth century.
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