(CLASSIC: from Dubliners, 1914)
As for a classic short story, I would like to recommend “Ivy Day in the Committee Room” by James Joyce. It is included in Dubliners and deals with one of the most painful moments in modern Irish history: the aftermath of the death of Charles Stewart Parnell, the Irish “uncrowned king”. Joyce’s politics are strictly connected with the legacy of Parnell and the leader’s attempt to bring Home Rule to Ireland. Not only does this short story help us understand the politics of Joyce and his position towards Irish affairs, but it also sheds light upon Joyce as a political author rather than someone who regarded political events in his own country coldly and from a distance.
(MODERN: from A Link with the River, 1989)
As for a modern short story, I’d like to recommend Desmond Hogan’s “The Man from Korea”. In this story — looking at Ireland from a global perspective and one which allows us to see the continuous risk of cultural and political isolation run by Ireland in modern times— we find Hogan’s ambivalence in being at the same time disillusioned by and attracted to the Irish case and its potential to mirror the destiny of today’s global world as in a cracked looking-glass.
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