“A good English factory-girl”: the erased Irishness of nineteenth-century poet Fanny Forrester in Ben Brierley’s Journal

Dr Suz Garrard

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Fanny Forrester pictured in Ben Brierley’s Journal

Twenty-first century newspapers and media outlets have unparalleled power to not only shape the narratives surrounding superstructural subjects such as immigration, but to construct the social, political, and national identities of the individuals they represent. The power of the media to radically create and recreate public, political selves can be traced back to the explosion of the nineteenth-century newspaper and, in this case, to the massive influx of Irish labourers to industrial English cities.

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Truth or Dare: Martina Devlin shares the introduction of her new book

Truth & Dare cover imageLeaders. Rebels. Pioneers. Short stories about some of Ireland’s trailblazing women by award-winning writer Martina Devlin.

In this collection we encounter Countess Markievicz back from the dead to cast a disapproving eye over modern Ireland, Hanna Sheehy Skeffington on hunger strike in jail, and Somerville and Ross discussing book business with their London agent Mr Pinker.

Other we meet include a range of activists – Anna Parnell in a pawnshop, Belfast’s Mary Ann McCracken walking her brother to the scaffold, and Dr Kathleen Lynn locking horns with an archbishop.

Authentic and poignant, witty and revealing, Truth & Dare draws on true events to breathe life into an extraordinary cast of women.

Their times were out of step with them – now their time has come

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The Mystery of the Disappeared Drishane Archive

By Julie Anne Stevens

Research recalls detective work. The scholar follows clues to solve unanswered questions or to reveal forgotten or overlooked information. The archive gives opportunity to track clues, and while one of scholarship’s pleasures lies in this search, one of its compulsions may arise when a repository’s mysterious unknown does not immediately deliver information. Nonetheless, just like the fictional detective, the researcher expects to discover eventually some central source of knowledge if she or he looks carefully enough and with the right eyes.

Yet with research, revelation does not always happen – especially when the archive goes missing.

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Noêlle Ffrench Davies: A Transnational Irish Polymath

S Morgan

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Dr Noêlle Ffrench Davies

Dr. Noēlle Davies (1889-1983), née Ffrench, of Mount Talbot, Co. Roscommon, was a 20th Century intellectual, educationist, litterateur and political activist across Ireland, Wales, Denmark and Europe. Her story is largely unexplored. Using transnational sources, we can trace and assemble her 50 years’ intellectual output. This has four strands: her life-long commitment to education that was both practical and national; seminal intellectual and political collaboration building a modern Welsh nationalism with her husband, Dr. D.J. (‘Dai’) Davies (1893-1956); her own transnational political writings; and Noëlle’s personal literary output. Read More

IASIL 2018: Reimaging Traditions

Dr Lindsay Janssen

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Marguérite Corporaal opening the PhD forum at IASIL 2018

This year’s IASIL (International Association for the Study of Irish Literature) conference, ‘Reimaging Traditions’ was held at Radboud University, Nijmegen (the Netherlands; RU). RU is my alma mater and although I do not work there anymore, I was asked to co-organise the conference. A great opportunity to work together with my former colleagues: Marguérite Corporaal (main organiser), Christopher Cusack, Ruud van den Beuken and Chris Louttit, among others. The conference team also included a life-saving team of student assistants. Although I greatly appreciate their hard work and good company, I am not going to mention everybody involved; this blog post is not my personal Oscar speech. And besides, the full team (and programme) can be found at www.ru.nl/iasil2018/. My apologies if this piece is going to sound bit laudatory: truth be told, of course we had the usual bumps in the road in preparing for the conference, but in contrast to previous ones we organised, this conference itself was relatively stress-free and thus even more enjoyable. Read More