My review of George O’Brien’s The Irish Novel 1800-1910 has just been pre-published on the website of Notes & Queries. O’Brien’s book is enjoyable and absorbing, but I nevertheless have a few reservations. Read my review here.
Later this month, Peter Lang will publish The Great Irish Famine and Social Class, edited by Marguérite Corporaal and Peter Gray. The collection, a product of the International Network of Irish Famine Studies, features my essay “Transformative Nationalism and Class Relations in Irish Famine Fiction, 1896-1909.” In my chapter, I look at how Young Irelander nationalism is used as a strategy to validate the hegemony of the upper classes in a number of novels about the Irish Famine, including Louise Field’s Denis (1896) and L.T. Meade’s The Stormy Petrel (1909).
As I argue in my essay, these novels “do not present the landlord class as a whole as parasitical and alien, as nationalists such as Michael Davitt and James Connolly did, but attempt to humanize and hibernicize the class, by incorporating them into the narrative of Famine victimhood, emphasizing their self-sacrificing efforts on behalf of the poor, and scripting them into the nationalist story of (intermittently) emergent nationhood.”
The current edition of the newsletter of the German Society of Pennsylvania features a brief report of my trip to Philadelphia as a Joseph Horner Memorial Library fellow. It mentions some of the material I’m currently studying, and on which I’ll be presenting a paper at the Leuven Centre for Irish Studies on 26 October.
My time at the Horner Library was very useful indeed, and I’m very grateful to the GSP and the German Historical Institute for granting me the opportunity to explore its collections.
Between 23 and 27 July, Radboud University hosted the annual conference of the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures (IASIL). I was one of the organisers. It was a great event, with amazing keynotes, performances, and Q&As, and scores of great papers from delegates from a wide range of countries. I presented a paper on Irish-American popular fiction published during the First World War, which was based on my new research project.
During the conference, the executive committee ratified my appointment as chair of the IASIL bibliography committee. I’m now responsible for compiling the annual IASIL bibliography – an interesting challenge!
Here’s a pre-conference photo of some of the organisers and conference assistants.
On 5 July, during my research trip to the German Society of Pennsylvania as Joseph Horner Memorial Library Fellow, I gave a lecture about my current research project and the new sources I’d found at the GSP. The audience was very interested in the talks I and my fellow Horner Fellow Dr Andreas Hübner (Flensburg) gave, and asked very useful questions (including one about alcohol and German- and Irish-American identities during the First World War…). Thanks again to the GSP and the German Historical Institute for funding this trip!
I’ve just been awarded a fellowship by the German Historical Institute and the German Society of Pennsylvania! This will enable me to spend two weeks researching German-American history and culture at the Joseph Horner Memorial Library in Philadelphia for my new project, which compares German- and Irish-American identity formation during the First World War.
On 16 February, after successfully defending in public my thesis “Memory, History, and Identity in Irish and Irish-Diasporic Famine Fiction, 1892-1921”, I was awarded my PhD cum laude, the highest distinction for doctorates in the Netherlands. I was examined by Prof Frank Mehring (Radboud University), Prof James H. Murphy (Boston College), Prof Chris Morash (Trinity College Dublin), Dr Melissa Fegan (University of Chester), Prof Peter Gray (Queen’s University Belfast), Dr Elke D’hoker (KU Leuven), and Prof Lotte Jensen (Radboud University). The next step is reworking my thesis into a monograph. To infinity and beyond!
Image: Raphaël Irié
On Friday 16 February I’ll finally – finally! – be defending my PhD thesis, “Memory, History, and Identity in Irish and Irish-Diasporic Famine Fiction, 1892-1921”.