Though located in the topographical periphery of Ireland, the Aran Islands have been central for the construction of an Irish identity. For the scholars and writers involved in this process, Aran was used as a projection space for various desires - political, cultural and linguistic. This book maps the formation and development of a myth of place and analyses what functions it fulfilled at different stages in Irish history. The first literary history of Aran surveys an extensive compilation of texts and provides larger historical and cultural contexts. On this basis, five in-depth studies of works by Emily Lawless, John Synge, James Joyce, Liam O'Flaherty and Mairtin O Direain unravel discourses and textual strategies employed in the representation of the Aran Islands.