Irish Literature

Ireland has an extraordinarily rich and varied literary culture and has produced four Nobel Prize winners in literature (George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney). The vernacular literary tradition of Ireland is one of Europe’s most ancient, with texts written in Irish dating back to the 6th century. Irish writers working in English have made hugely important contributions to the development of Romantic poetry, the Regional Novel, the Historical Novel, the Gothic Novel, and to Modernism/Postmodernism.

At NTU English we have a number of faculty members carrying out ground-breaking and significant research into a number of Irish writers and texts. One of the primary research emphases in Irish writing at NTU is contemporary Irish fiction, with faculty publishing work on the following writers: John Banville, Sara Baume, Marina Carr, Anne Enright, Brian Friel, Julian Gough, Dermot Healy, Aidan Higgins, Neil Jordan, Derek Mahon, Eimear McBride, Mike McCormack, and Tom Murphy. Much of this work is conducted in the context of aesthetics, ethics, and narrative theory, while several forthcoming projects consider the impact of the Celtic Tiger and its aftermath in the context of contemporary Irish writing. Several faculty members also conduct work on Laurence Sterne, W.B. Yeats, James Joyce, Samuel Beckett, and Flann O’Brien. Two major collections of Flann O’Brien’s work have been published by NTU English faculty members: Plays and Teleplays edited by Daniel Keith Jernigan (Dalkey Archive, 2013) and The Short Fiction of Flann O’Brien edited by Neil Murphy and Keith Hopper (Dalkey Archive, 2013). NTU has also run several major Irish studies events, including the 2017 International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL) conference, and has hosted numerous Irish writers, including Evelyn Conlon, Gerald Dawe, Paul Durcan, Julian Gough, Dermot Healy, Claire Keegan, Paul Muldoon, Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, and Timothy O’Grady.

Michelle Chiang is currently working on a project exploring how Beckett’s work can be ‘intuitively’ appreciated by his audiences and readers through a Virtual Reality adaptation of Beckett’s short story The Lost Ones. Neil Murphy is working on a project titled Contemporary Fiction and Art: An Aesthetic Analysis as well as an edited volume, The Palgrave Companion to 20th and 21st Irish Writing (with Derek Hand). He has recent or forthcoming work in the journals Brazilian Journal of Irish Studies and Irish Studies in Europe, and in the edited volumes Flann O’Brien: Intertexts and Palimpsests (Cork University Press, 2021), The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Fiction (Oxford University Press, 2021), The Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of Contemporary Literature (Blackwell, 2020), Flann O’Brien: Acting Out (Cork University Press, 2020), Banville and His Precursors (Bloomsbury, 2019), and Irish Urban Fictions (Palgrave MacMillan, 2018). Richard Barlow is working on a book on modern Irish and Scottish literature, as well as a digital humanities project on Joyce’s Finnegans Wake. He recently published an article on Celticism in Irish Studies Review and an article on Ulysses in James Joyce Quarterly. He also has a chapter on Flann O’Brien and Dion Boucicault forthcoming in Flann O’Brien: Acting Out (Cork University Press, 2021).

Recent Irish Studies monographs by NTU faculty include Richard Barlow’s The Celtic Unconscious: Joyce and Scottish Culture (Notre Dame, 2017), Beckett’s Intuitive Spectator: Me to Play by Michelle Chiang (Palgrave, 2018), Neil Murphy’s John Banville (Bucknell, 2018), and Jane Wong’s Dissent and Authority in Early Modern Ireland: The English Problem from Bale to Shakespeare(Routledge, 2019).

Related Courses

HL2022​Irish Literature: Romanticism to ModernismDr Richard Barlow
HL3034​​​Irish Literature: Modernism to the Contemporary​Dr Neil Murphy
HL4033Major Author Study: James JoyceDr Richard Barlow
HL3039​Major Author Study: Samuel Beckett​Dr Michelle Chiang​