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Scholarcast 5: Neutrality and Popular Culture

Clare Wilis


This lecture explores forms of popular culture that developed in Ireland during the Second World War.Comparisons are drawn with Britain, where radio and cinema assume tremendous importance in the war years. In Ireland the major developments are in amateur drama, reading groups, beginnings of film and journalism. Particular attention is focused on the very specific relationship between high and popular culture which develops in both Britain and Ireland at this time due to the fact that many 'high cultural' writers are taking on mediated jobs in radio broadcasting. Consideration is also given to the role of The Bell and other cultural movements in strengthening the consensus on behalf of neutrality in Ireland.

Clare Wilis

Clair Wills is Professor of Irish Literature at Queen Mary, University of London. Her research focuses on twentieth-century Irish literature and culture, and contemporary English, Irish and American poetry. That Neutral Island, Her most recent book, is a social and cultural history of Ireland during the Second World War, published by Faber and Harvard University Press in 2007. She edited the Contemporary Writing section of the Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Volumes IV and V (Cork University Press, 2002).

In addition to her books on Irish poetry: Improprieties: Politics and Sexuality in Northern Irish Poetry (1993), and Reading Paul Muldoon (1998) she has published articles on poets such as Roy Fisher, Denise Riley, and Fanny Howe. She regularly reviews contemporary poetry for the Times Literary Supplement. Her current research, for which she has been awarded a British Academy Senior Research Fellowship, looks at cultural relations between Britain and Ireland in the 1950s. In collaboration with Dr Ian McBride of Kings College London Clair Wills runs the interdisciplinary London Irish Studies Seminar at the Institute of English Studies, Senate House.



Series edited by: PJ Mathews.
Scholarcast original theme music by: Padhraic Egan, Michael Hussey and Sharon Hussey.
Recording, audio editing, photography and development by: John Matthews, Brian Kelly, Vincent Hoban &
Niall Watts at UCD IT Services, Media Services.
Consultant Producer: Clíodhna Ní Anluain, RTÉ

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