London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Claire Connolly, Friday 24 January 2020, Senate House, University of London

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The next meeting of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will take place on Friday 24 January in the Bloomsbury Room (G35, ground floor) at Senate House, University of London, starting at 5.30. As our guest speaker, we are delighted to welcome Professor Claire Connolly of University College Cork, who will present a paper entitled The Impending Era: Irish Romanticism Before and After the Famine. This will be followed by a discussion and wine reception. The event is free and open to everyone, including postgraduates and members of the public. No booking is required.

Claire Connolly is Professor of Modern English at University College Cork in Ireland, a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales and a Member of the Royal Irish Academy. Her book A Cultural History of the Irish Novel, 1790-1829 (Cambridge Studies in Romanticism) won the Donald J. Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Monograph, awarded by the American Conference for Irish Studies.  With Marjorie Howes (Boston College), she is General Editor of a new six volume series, Irish Literature in Transition, 1700-2015; as well as editor for Volume 2 of the series, Irish Literature in Transition, 1780-1830 (due out March 2020 from CUP)She is writing a book on Irish Romanticism for Cambridge University Press.

Regarding the subject of her talk, Claire writes:

“This paper offers a conceptualisation of Irish romanticism that takes into account the range and depth of literary expression in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century Ireland and considers it against the backdrop of social, political and linguistic divisions. The quicksilver pace of historical change between and across our two islands over these decades incited debates about cultural difference and fostered a new, national literature. Arguing for a romanticism that moves in distinct phases, the paper focuses on Irish culture from the period of Catholic Emancipation to the Famine. The long shadow cast by bitter experiences of hunger, death and mass emigration has made it difficult to engage with the cultural revival that preceded the Famine years. Focussing on work by William Carleton and James Clarence Mangan, I begin to think about the ways in which Irish romantic culture was shaped in the face of a darkening future. The paper concludes with a discussion of Thomas Carlyle’s Reminiscences of my Irish Journey, in which Ireland is imagined in terms of an ‘ugly indistinct smear’ of memories, images and sensations that refuse to vanish into the past even as the country poses a persistent political problem in the present.”

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