Research Project: Myth and Reality in Modern Ireland: Language, Literature and Culture

Project leader
Irene Gilsenan Nordin
Project Members
Carmen Zamorano Llena
Project Period
Project Status
According to mythographer Lewis Spence a myth explains “our relation to the universe, the environment or a social programme”. In the Irish context, this definition of myth helps to understand the interrelationship between the retrieval of the Irish mythological lore and the construction of communal identity that characterised twentieth century Irish history, literature and socio-political reality. Spence’s broad definition of myth, though initially referring to gods or supernatural beings, can easily be adapted to explain the construction of contemporary myths. Understood in a Barthesian sense, the concept of myth can be extended to include socio-cultural narratives that are constructed and become naturalised as symbols of a community to express the way it relates to the world. A changing reality calls for new ways of relating to the context and, consequently, for the (re)construction of myths. In the last few decades Irish reality, north and south of the border, has dramatically changed. The aim of this book is to collect a selection of essays based on papers presented at the conference on “Myth and Reality” that was hosted by Högskolan Dalarna last October 2009. The aim of these essays is to analyse the (re)construction of myths that communities in Ireland have developed in the face of these momentous changes.
Research Profile
Intercultural Studies