The Bulletin

The Bulletin- formerly The Journal - is an occasional record of additions made to the RICORSO website along with information met with regarding Irish studies in its personal, professional, and bibliophilic aspects. It is also a reminder to the editor of the road taken, recorded in snapshots of research and reading which might (or might not) provide the germ of future writings, online or otherwise ...

Reading Around Books, journals and websites met with ….
People & Places Who’s doing what and where in Irish studies …
Plans & Progress Developing Ricorso and the issues involved …

What’s new?
I’ve finally faced up to the challenge of multi-media and started to incorporate photo-portraits links to .MP3 and .MOV sites elsewhere into Ricorso view copied files and external links such as the Poetry Archive and YouTube. Check out the results on the pages for Tom Kinsella [link], Colm Tóibín [link] and Leontia Flynn [link].

Ricorso Bulletin (Oct. 2023)
The publication of Irish Literature in Transition in six volumes (Cambridge UP 2020) - both in print and online - has been capably marshalled by Claire Connolly and Marjorie Howe in the role of general editors, it might well be argued that Irish Studies has reached its zenith. Game over. This extraordinary collection of 106 authoritative essays covers every period of Anglo-Irish writing in its social, cultural, material, intellectual, literary and aesthetic development along with some lights on the copious literature in Irish also. This follows in the wake of the sublime Cambridge History of Irish Literature (2008) which was magnificently edited by Margaret Kelleher and Philip O’Leary some years ago. And still the stream of genre-and-epoch handbooks of Irish literary history and criticism keeps flowing forth from leading university presses at home, in England, in America, and even further afield.

Take, for instance, Fran Brearton & Alan Gillis’s Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Poetry (OUP 2012) or Declan Kiberd and P. J. Mathews’s, Handbook of the Irish Revival: An Anthology of Irish Cultural and Political Writings 1891-1922 (Notre Dame UP 2016), not forgetting - though the list is long - the Cambridge Companion series which includes Shaun Richard’s Twentieth-century Irish Drama (2003) and Modern Irish Culture (2005), edited by Joe Cleary with Claire Connolly (again!). Then there is Gerry Dawe’s Cambridge Companion to Irish Poets (2017) whose contents we have only sketchily copied to several parts of RICORSO so far. Add Irish Literature in Transition to a shelf already groaning with the Royal Irish Academy’s Dictionary of Irish Biography (2006 - and now online) and you have a life-time’s secondary reading at the consultation-reference work level and a significant problem for the joists at home.

This is not the place for a studied review of the new collection,* yet the list of contributors alone is an almanac of Irish literary studies in our time and there is even a sense of if-you’re-not-in-you-can’t-win about it to the curmudgeonly eye - equally for authors and for critics. Never mind, there are other omnibus collections in the works with every opportunity to mark your mark before the clap of doom. Indeed, Irish companions, handbooks and critical collections have been coming off the press at an accelerating pace for the last two decades. Or two-and-a-half, if you count the Oxford Companion to Irish Literature, edited by Robert Welch (1996) as the starting point, with yours truly as Assistant Editor - although the true beginning resides Robert Hogan’s Dictionary of Irish Writers in 1979 (rev. 1996) and before than a vital legacy of Irish anthologies and bio-biographical dictionaries all-but lost in the mists of time.

[ *Anthony Roche has given a masterly overview in the Irish Times on 19 Sept. 2022 - available online and also as attached. ]

That said, the scope and depth of recent collections is astounding. Take, for instance, A History of Irish Working-Class Writing edited by Michael Piers (Cambridge UP 2017) or the collection on Irish-language drama since World War II most recently added by Philip O’Leary & Brian Ó Conchubhair (Drámaíocht na Gaeilge: ón Dara Cogadh Domhanda ar aghaidh, Cló Iar-Chonnacht 2022) - both included in the showcase at the bottom of this page [infra].

... And now rumour has it that yet another big beast is in the offing - coming to Cambridge to be born - in the shape of Cambridge Themes in Irish Literature and Culture, edited by Ronan MacDonald with able support from Malcolm Sen, Margaret Kelleher, Christopher Murray and numerous others. (You can see the preview matter - online.) So Wow! and Wow! again, says RICORSO. But here’s the thing. As a wise reviewer of the Irish Writing in Transition has adroitly said, this is the beginning not the end of a roaring critical tradition. Irish cultural reflection has come far and has still further to go - somewhat in the position of the foremost postcolonial commentary on a historical and a living literature in any language.

The only difficulty is that RICORSO can no long keep pace with all this industry in Irish studies concentrations throughout five continents - and hence the publication date of Cambridge’s Transition and Routledge’s International Handbook is going to be the terminus ad quem of a digital adventure that began with the Oxford Companion in 1996 which - it cannot be denied - formed the basic framework of the collection of digital records on Irish writers that is RICORSO today. Indeed, at that early date the head-word lists of the bio-bibliographical section were the same until RICORSO turned into a record of every previous reference work and as much commentary and quotation as the rapidly changing digital technology and human dedication allowed at any point.

In this spirit all that follows from now on chez RICORSO is mere house-keeping - an immense clean-up operation aimed at rendering the website and its contents both materially trust-worthy, technically stable and - as far as possible - permanently available. The reasons are largely personal since, in theory, the website could be expanded indefinitely and by as many ‘hands’ as joined the game, if there were world enough and time. (People talk about tendencies and tensions in cultural studies but they speak little about tendonitis.) As a certain American-Asian historian recently wrote to great acclaim, history is over - not Comte nor Hegel but the aptly-named Francis Fukuyama. Well, Well, history may not be over but RICORSO ends here. Slán leat and aproveite to any habitual visitors it may have.


—Bruce Stewart [01.10.2023]

And now ...

Some Recent Irish-studies Omnibus Critical Collections & Reference Publications

Claire Connolly & Marjorie Howes, gen. eds., Irish Literature in Transition, 6 vols., (Cambridge UP 2020) - Vols. 1700-1780; 1780-1830; 1830-1880; 1880-1940; 1980-2020.

—Volume 1: 1700-1780, ed. Moyra Haslett (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), xv, 409pp.
—Volume 2: 1780-1830, ed. Claire Connolly (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), xvi, 439pp.
—Volume 3: 1830-1880, ed. Matthew Campbell (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), q.pp.
—Volume 4: 1880-1940, ed. Marjorie Elizabeth Howes (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), xv, 381pp.
—Volume 5: 1940-1980, ed. Eve Patten (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), xv, 391pp.
—Volume 6: 1980-2020, ed. Eric Falci & Paige Reynolds Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), xix, 429pp.

Volume 1: 1700-1780, ed. Moyra Haslett (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020),[Prelims.] Contents (pp.v-vii); Illustrations (pp.viii-viii); Contributors (pp.ix-xii); Series Preface (pp.xiii-xiv); General Acknowledgements (pp.xv-xvi). Moyra Haslett, ‘Introduction’ (pp.1-28).
Part I: Starting Points (pp.29-88). 1: Marie-Louise Coolahan, ‘Starting Points and Moving Targets: Transition and the Early Modern’ (pp.31-48). 2: Ian Campbell Ross, ‘“We Irish”: Writing and National Identity from Berkeley to Burke’ (pp.49-67). 3: Brean Hammond, ‘Re-Viewing Swift’ (pp.68-88).
Part II: Philosophical and Political Frameworks (pp.89-148). 4: David Dwan, ‘The Prejudices of Enlightenment’ (pp.91-109). 5: Darrell Jones, ‘The Molyneux Problem and Irish Enlightenment’ (pp.110-128). 6: Helen M. Burke, ‘Samuel Whyte and the Politics of Eighteenth-Century Irish Private Theatricals’ (pp.129-148).
Part III: Local, ‘National, ‘and Transnational Contexts (pp.149-224). 7: Andrew Carpenter, ‘Land and Landscape in Irish Poetry in English, ‘1700-1780’ (pp.151-170). 8: Conrad Brunström, ‘The Idea of an Eighteenth-Century National Theatre’ (pp.171-188). 9: Amy Prendergas, ‘‘Transnational Influence and Exchange: The Intersections between Irish and French Sentimental Novels’ (pp.189-206). 10: Daniel Sanjiv Roberts, ‘‘An Example to the Whole World’: Patriotism and Imperialism in Early Irish Fiction’ (pp.207-224).
Part IV: Gender and Sexuality (pp.225-304). 11: Aileen Douglas, ‘The Province of Poetry: Women Poets in Early Eighteenth-Century Ireland’ (pp.227-243). 12: Declan Kavanagh, ‘Queering Eighteenth-Century Irish Writing: Yahoo, Fribble, Freke’ (pp.244-262). 13: Rebecca Anne Barr, ‘“Brightest Wits and Bravest Soldiers”: Ireland, Masculinity, and the Politics of Paternity’ (pp.263-283). 14: Moyra Haslett, ‘Fictions of Sisterhood in Eighteenth-Century Irish Writing’ (pp.284-304).
Part V: Transcultural Contexts (pp.305-362). 15: Joe Lines, ‘The Popular Criminal Narrative and the Development of the Irish Novel’ (pp.307-323). 16: Anne Markey, ‘Gaelic Influences and Echoes in the Irish Novel, 1700-1780’ (pp.324-342). 17: Clíona Ó Gallchoir New Beginning or Bearer of Tradition? Early Irish Fiction and the Construction of the Child’ (pp.343-362 Part VI: Retrospective Readings’ (pp.363-400); 18: Lesa Ní Mhunghaile, ‘Re-Imagining Feminist Protest in Contemporary Translation: Lament for Art O’Leary and The Midnight Court’ (pp.365-381 19: James Ward, ‘‘Our Darkest Century’: The Irish Eighteenth Century in Memory and Modernity’ (pp.382-400). Index (pp.401-410).

Volume 2: 1780-1830, ed. Claire Connolly (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), xvi, 439pp. Contents (pp.v-vii); Contributors (pp.viii-xii); Series Preface (pp.xiii-xiv); General Acknowledgements (pp.xv-xv); Acknowledgements (pp.xvi-xvi). Introduction: Claire Connolly, ‘Making Maps: Irish Literature in Transition, 1780-1830 (pp.1-34).
Part I: Origins (pp.35-66). 1: Lesa Ní Mhunghaile, ‘Gaelic Literature in Transition, 1780-1830’ (pp.37-51). 2: Norman Vance, ‘Irish Literature and Classical Modes’ (pp.52-66).
Part II: Transitions (pp.67-170). 3: Julia M. Wright, ‘Irish Literary Theory: From Politeness to Politics’ (pp.69-84). 4: Matthew Campbell, ‘Whigs, Weavers, and Fire-Worshippers: Anglophone Irish Poetry in Transition’ (pp.85-106). 5: David O’Shaughnessy, ‘Metropolitan Theatre’ (pp.107-121). 6: Adrian Paterson, ‘Harps and Pepperpots, Songs and Pianos: Music and Irish Poetry’ (pp.122-147). 7: Jennifer Orr, ‘Enlightened Ulster, Romantic Ulster: Irish Magazine Culture of the Union Era’ (pp.148-170).
Part III: Reputations (pp.171-320). 8: Harriet Kramer Linkin, ‘Placing Mary Tighe in Irish Literary History: From Manuscript Culture to Print’ (pp.173-187). 9: James Chandler, ‘Edgeworth and Realism’ (pp.188-205). 10: Nicola Lloyd, ‘Lady Morgan and “the babbling page of history”: Cultural Transition as Performance in the Irish National Tale’ (pp.206-225). 11: Jim Kelly, ‘“The diabolical eloquence of horror”: Maturin’s Wanderings’ (pp.226-241). 12: Gregory A. Schirmer, ‘English Ireland/Irish Ireland: the Poetry and Translations of J. J. Callanan’ (pp.242-256). 13: Jane Moore, ‘Thomas Moore and the Social Life of Forms’ (pp.257-272). 14: Willa Murphy, ‘English, “Irished”: Union and Violence in the Fiction of John and Michael Banim’ (pp.273-291). 15: Mark Corcoran, ‘The Transition of Reputation: Gerald Griffin’ (pp.292-305). 16: David E. Latané, ‘William Maginn: the Cork Correspondent’ (pp.306-320).
Part IV: Futures (pp.321-421). 17: Murray Pittock, ‘“My country takes her place among the nations of the earth”: Ireland and the British Archipelago in the Age of the Union’ (pp.323-341). 18: Joep Leerssen, ‘Mentalities in Transition: Irish Romanticism in European Context’ (pp.342-358). 19: Sonja Lawrenson, ‘Ireland and Empire: Popular Fiction in the Wake of the Union’ (pp.359-380). 20: Joseph Rezek, ‘Transatlantic Influences and Futures’ (pp.381-401). 21: Fiona Stafford, ‘The Literary Legacies of Irish Romanticism’ (pp.402-421). Select Index; Index (pp.422-440).

Volume 3: 1830-1880, ed. Matthew Campbell (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), xiv, 326pp. Contents (pp.v-vi); Contributors (pp.vii-x); Series Preface (pp.xi-xii); General Acknowledgements (pp.xiii-xiii); Acknowledgements (pp.xiv-xiv).
’Part I: Contexts and Contents: Politics and Periodicals (pp.1-58). 1: Matthew Campbell, ‘Victorian Ireland, 1830-1880: A Transition State’ (pp.3-21). 2: Jim Kelly, ‘Satire and Innovation between Dublin, Edinburgh and London’ (pp.22-37). 3: Melissa Fegan, ‘Young Ireland and Beyond’ (pp.38-58).
’Part II: Ireland and the Liberal Arts and Sciences (pp.59-124). 4: Cóilín Parsons, ‘Naming the Place: The Ordnance Survey and Its Afterlives’ (pp.61-77). 5: Marguérite Corporaal, ‘Political Economy? The Economics and Sociology of Famine’ (pp.78-91). 6: Colin Barr, ‘Newman’s Irish University’ (pp.92-107). 7: Glenn Hooper, ‘The Charms of Ireland: Travel Writing and Tourism’ (pp.108-124).
Part III: From the Four Nations to the Globalising Irish (pp.125-196). 8: John McCourt, ‘England and Ireland, Tory and Whig: Thackeray, Trollope, Arnold’ (pp.127-142). 9: Imperial Minds: Irish Writers and Empire in the Nineteenth Century - Charles Gavan Duffy, ‘Jim Shanahan, Thomas Moore, Charles Lever and Kim’ (pp.143-161). 10: James Quinn, ‘An Exiled History: Young Ireland from Mitchel to O’Leary’ (pp.162-178). 11: Peter D. O’Neill, ‘US Nation Building and the Irish-American Novel, 1830-1880’ (pp.179-196).
’Part IV: The Languages of Literature (pp.197-317). 12: Nicholas Wolf, ‘Antiquarians and Authentics: Survival and Revival in Gaelic Writing’ (pp.199-217). 13: Norman Vance, ‘Poetry and Its Audiences: Club, Street, Ballad’ (pp.218-237). 14: Raphaël Ingelbien, ‘Realism, Allegory, Gothic: The Irish Victorian Novel’ (pp.238-256). 15: Anna Pilz, ‘The Rise of the Woman Writer’ (pp.257-279). 16: Shaun Richards, ‘Dion Boucicault and the Globalised Irish Stage’ (pp.280-298). 17: Stephanie Rains, ‘Popular Prints’ (pp.299-317). Select Index (pp.318-326).

Volume 4: 1880-1940, ed. Marjorie Elizabeth Howes (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), xv, 381pp. [Prelims.]; Contents (pp.v-vii); Select Contributors); Contributors (pp.viii-xii); Series Preface (pp.xiii-xiv); General Acknowledgements’ (pp.xv-xvi). 1: Marjorie Howes, Introduction (pp.1-18).
art I: Revisionary Foundations (pp.19-94). 2: Brian Ó Conchubhair, ‘The Apotheosis of the Vernacular: Language, Dialects and the Irish Revival' (pp.21-38). 3: Alex Davis, ‘Origins of Modern Irish Poetry, 1880-1922' (pp.39-54). 4: Paige Reynolds, ‘Theatrical Ireland: New Routes from the Abbey Theatre to the Gate Theatre’ (pp.55-72). 5: Vera Kreilkamp, ‘Recovery and the Ascendancy Novel 1880-1932’ (pp.73-94).
Part II: Revolutionary Forms (pp.95-170). 6: Niall Carson, ‘Print Culture Landscapes 1880-1922’ (pp.97-113). 7: Karen Steele, ‘Revolutionary Lives in the Rearview Mirror: Memoir and Autobiography’ (pp.114-132). 8: Lucy McDiarmid, ‘The Hugh Lane Controversy and the Irish Revival’ (pp.133-151). 9: Tina O’Toole, ‘New Irish Women and New Women’s Writing’ (pp.152-170).
Part III: Major Figures in Transition’ (pp.171-262). 10: Joseph Valente, ‘Ageing Yeats: From Fascism to Disability’ (pp.173-195). 11: Lauren Arrington, ‘’I myself delight in Miss Edgeworth’s novels’: Gender, Power and the Domestic in Lady Gregory’s Work’ (pp.196-211). 12: Gregory Castle, ‘Synge and Disappearing Ireland' (pp.212-228). 13: Enda Duffy, ‘Drumcondra Modernism: Joyce’s Suburban Aesthetic’ (pp.229-245). 14: Nicholas Grene, ‘London Irish: Wilde, Shaw and Yeats’ (pp.246-262).
Part IV: Aftermaths and Outcomes’ (pp.263-336). 15: Mark Quigley, ‘Re-imagining Realism in Post-Independence Irish Writing’ (pp.265-284). 16: Lucy Collins, ‘The Free State of Poetry’ (pp.285-301). 17: Emily C. Bloom, ‘Live Wires and Dead Noise: Revolutionary Communications’ (pp.302-319). 18: Clair Wills, ‘The Dead, the Undead, and the Half-Alive: The Transition from Narrative Plot to Formal Trope in Late Modern Irish Writing’ (pp.320-336).
Part V: Frameworks in Transition (pp.337-374). 19: Gerry Smyth, ‘Irish Literary Criticism During the Revival’ (pp.339-355). 20: Peter Kuch, ‘Retrospective Readings: The Rise of Global Irish Studies’ (pp.356-374). Index (pp.375-382).

Volume 5: 1940-1980, ed. Eve Patten (Cambridge & NY: Cambridge UP 2020), xv, 391pp. [Prelims.] Contents (pp.v-vii); Contributors (pp.viii-xii); Series Preface (pp.xiii-xiv); General Acknowledgements (pp.xv-xvi). Eve Patten, Introduction (pp.1-24). ).
 Part I: After the War: Ideologies in Transition (pp.25-100). 1: Guy Woodward, ‘The War Observed’ (pp.27-45). 2: Brad Kent, ‘Outside the Whale: Seán O’Faoláin, Totalitarianism and the European Public Intellectual’ (pp.46-65). 3: Aidan O’Malley, ‘Irish Writers and Europe’ (pp.66-82). 4: Nicholas Allen, ‘Becoming a Republic: Irish Writing in Transition’ (pp.83-100).
Part II: Genres in Transition (pp.101-166)). 5: John Brannigan, ‘Intermodernism and the Middlebrow in Irish Writing’ (pp.103-118). 6: Muireann Leech, ‘Transitional Life-Writing: Frank O’Connor and the Autobiographical Tradition’ (pp.119-133). 7: Chris Morash, ‘“Somehow It Is Not the Same”: Irish Theatre and Transition’ (pp.134-149). 8: David Wheatley, ‘Samuel Beckett, Flann O’Brien and the Literature of Absurdity’ (pp.150-166).
Part III: Sex, Politics and Literary Protest (pp.167-232). 9: Eibhear Walshe, ‘Censorshi7p, Law and Literature’ (pp.169-184). 10: Frank Shovlin, ‘Sex, Dissent and Irish Fiction: Reading John McGahern’ (pp.185-200). 11: Emilie Pine, ‘History, Memory and Protest in Irish Theatre’ (pp.201-215). 12: Rosie Lavan, ‘Violence, Politics and the Poetry of the Troubles’ (pp.216-232).
Part IV: Identities and Connections (pp.233-306). 13: Máirín Nic Eoin, ‘State, Space and Experiment in Irish-Language Prose Writing’ (pp.235-254). 14: Heather Ingman, ‘Anglo-Ireland: the Big House Novel in Transition’ (pp.255-271 ). 15: Ellen McWilliams, ‘American-Irish Literary Relations’ (pp.272-287). 16: Tom Walker, ‘‘Home Rule in Our Literature’: Irish-British Poetic Relations’ (pp.288-306).
Part V. Retrospective Frameworks: Criticism in Transition (pp.307-376). 17: Paul Delaney, ‘Literary Biography in Transition’ (pp.309-328). 18: Paul Raphael Rooney, ‘Publishing, Penguin and Irish Writing’ (pp.329-343). 19: Margaret Kelleher, ‘Curriculum to Canon: Irish Writing and Education’ (pp.344-358). 20: Shaun Richards, ‘Critics, Criticism and the Formation of an Irish Literary Canon’ (pp.359-376). Index (pp.377-392 ).

 Volume 6: 1980-2020, ed. Eric Falci [Berkeley], Paige Reynolds [Holy Cross, Mass.] (Cambridge UP 2020); CONTENTS: Contents (pp.v-vii); Contributors (pp.viii-xiv); Preface (pp.xv-xvi); Gen. Acknowledgements (pp.xvii-xvii); Acknowledgements (pp.xviii-xx). Eric Falci, Paige Reynolds, Introduction (pp.1-24).
Part I: Times (pp.25-118). 1: Ailbhe Ní Ghearbhuigh, ‘The Contemporary Conditions of Irish Language Literature’ (pp.27-43). 2: David Lloyd, ‘The Cultures of Poetry in Contemporary Ireland’ (pp.44-64). 3: Julia C. Obert, ‘Troubles Literature and the End of the Troubles’ (pp.65-80; Ch.4: Paige Reynolds, ‘Contemporary Irish Theatre and Media’ (pp.81-95). 5: Patricia Kennon, ‘Writing Childhood: Young Adult and Children’s Literature’ (pp.96-110); Select Coda: Eavan Boland and Seamus Heaney; Coda: Eric Falci, ‘Eavan Boland and Seamus Heaney’ (pp.111-118).
Part II: Spaces (pp.119-208). 6: Adam Hanna, ‘Habitations: Space, Place, Real Estate’ (pp.121-135). 7: Stefanie Lehner, ‘Crossings: Northern Irish Literature from Good Friday to Brexit’ (pp.136-151). 8: James Moran, ‘Adaptations: Commemoration and Contemporary Irish Theatre’ (pp.152-167). 9: Ellen McWilliams, ‘Relocations: Diaspora, Travel, Migrancy’ (pp.168-181). 10: Anne Mulhall, ‘Arrivals: Inward Migration and Irish Literature’ (pp.182-200; Coda: Patrick Lonergan,Tom Murphy and Brian Friel’ (pp.201-208).
Part III: Forms of Experience (pp.209-304). 11: Joe Cleary, ‘The Irish Realist Novel’ (pp.211-227). 12: Diarmaid Ferriter, ‘Faith, Secularism, and Sacred Institutions’ (pp.228-245). 13: Sarah Townsend, ‘Writing the Tiger: Economics and Culture’ (pp.246-262). 14: Christopher Langlois, ‘Violence, Trauma, Recovery’ (pp.263-277). 15: Emilie Pine, Susan Leavy, Mark Keane, Maeve Casserly, Tom Lane, Modes of Witnessing and Ireland’s Institutional History’ (pp.278-294). Clair Wills, ‘Coda: Edna O’Brien and Eimear McBride pp.295-304
Part IV - Practices, Institutions, and Audiences’ (pp.305-400). 16: Rióna Ní Fhrighil, ‘Mediation and Translation in Irish Language Literature’ (pp.307-326). 17: Ronan McDonald, ‘Irish Studies and Its Discontents’ (pp.327-343). 18: Barry Monahan, ‘Historical Transitions in Ireland on Screen’ (pp.344-359). Millennium. 19: Stephen Watt, ‘Irish Blockbusters and Literary Stars at the End of the Millennium’ (pp.360-374). 20. Margaret Kelleher, ‘Contemporary Literature and Public Value’ (pp.375-391). Future Present. Paige Reynolds, ‘Coda: The Irish Times, Tramp Press, and the Future Present’ (pp.392-400). Index (pp.401-430)


Philip O’Leary & Brian Ó Conchubhair, a chuir in eagar [ed.], Drámaíocht na Gaeilge: ón Dara Cogadh Domhanda ar aghaidh (An Spidéal, Co. na Gaillimhe: Cló Iar-Chonnacht 2022), 302pp. CONTENTS: Philip O’Leary agus Brian Ó Conchubhair, ‘Taobh thiar den chuirtín’; Pádraig Ó Siadhail, ‘“’Bhfuil sárdhráma Gaeilge i bhfolach áit éigin?”‘; Bríd Ní Ghallchóir, ‘Máiréad Ní Ghráda, Giolla an tsolais (1945) & An Triail (1964)’; Malachy Ó Néill, ‘Séamus Ó Néill, Iníon Rí Dhún Sobhairce (1953)’; Alan Titley, ‘Seán Ó Tuama, Gunna cam agus slabhra óir (1956) & Ar aghaidh linn, a Longadáin (1959)’; Ní Ghallchobhair, ‘Críostóir Ó Floinn, Cóta bán Chríost (1966) & Aggiornamento (1968)’; FidelmaIan Ó Caoimh,‘ Eoghan Ó Tuairisc, Lá Fhéile Míchíl (1967) & Fornocht do chonac (1981)’; Anthony Roche, ‘Antoine Ó Flatharta, Gaeilgeoirí (1981) & Grásta i Meiriceá (1990)’; Brian Ó Conchubhair, ‘Seán Mac Mathúna, Gadaí géar na geamhoíche (1992)’; Máirtín Coilféir, ‘Alan Titley, Tagann Godot (1990) & An ghráin agus an ghruaim (1999)’; Lillis Ó Laoire, ‘Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, Dún na mban trí thine (1994)’; Jeannine Woods, ‘Liam Ó Muirthile, Liodán na habhann (1999)’; Brian Ó Broin, ‘Micheál Ó Conghaile, Cúigear Chonamara (2003), Jude (2007) & Go dtaga do ríocht (2008)’; Marianne Kennedy, ‘Celia de Fréine, Anraithe neantóige (2004) & Tearmann (2009)’; Fionntán de Brún, ‘Darach Ó Scolaí, Coinneáil orainn (2005) & Craos (2008)’; Alan Titley, ‘Joe Steve Ó Neachtain, Níor mhaith linn do thrioblóid (2006)’. I dtreo liosta de dhrámaí fada Gaeilge.

Renée Fox, Mike Cronin & Brian Ó Conchubhair, eds., Routledge International Handbook of Irish Studies [Routledge International Handbooks, 1] (London: Routledge 2020), 518 pp; ill. [23 b&w ills.]. CONTENTS -

Part I: OVERVIEW. 1. Renée Fox, Mike Cronin & Brian Ó Conchubhair, Introduction: ‘Irish Studies from austerity to pandemic’; 2. John Waters, ‘Towards a history of Irish Studies in the United States’; 3. Michael Cronin, ‘Irish Studies in the non-Anglophone world’.
Part II: HISTORICIZING IRELAND. 4. Guy Beiner, ‘Irish Historical Studies Avant la Lettre: the antiquarian genealogy of interdisciplinary scholarship’; 5. Timothy G. McMahon, Separate and together: state histories in the twentieth century’; 6. Kelly Fitzgerald, Beyond the tale: folkloristics and folklore studies’; 7. Brian Ó Conchubhair, ‘The Irish Language and the Gaeltachtaí: illiberalism and neoliberalism; 8. Eoin O’Malley, ‘The great normalisation: success, failure and change in contemporary Ireland’; 9. Dominic Bryan & Gordon Gillespie, ‘Northern Ireland: more shared and more divided’.
Part III: GLOBAL IRELAND. 10. Mike Cronin, ‘Connections and capital: the diaspora and Ireland’s global networks’. 11. Liam Kennedy, Irish-America’; 12. Mary J. Hickman, ‘Irish Britain’; 13. Diane Negra & Anthony P. McIntyre, ‘Ireland Inc.’; 14. Martina Lawless, ‘Ireland, Europe, and Brexit’; 15. Kylie Jarrett, ‘Digital Ireland: leprechaun economics, Silicon Docks, and crisis.’
Part IV
: IDENTITIES. 16. Lucy Michael, ‘Immigration and citizenship’; 17. Sarah L. Townsend, ‘The “new Irish” neighborhood: race and succession in Ireland and Irish America’; 18. Claire Bracken, ‘Gender and Irish Studies: 2008 to the present’; 19. Ed Madden, ‘Queering, querying Irish Studies’;  20. Oliver P. Rafferty, ‘The Catholic Church in Irish Studies’.
Part V: CULTURE. 21. Renée Fox, ‘Reading outside the lines: imagining new histories of Irish fiction’; 22. Eric Falci, ‘Lyric narratives: the experimental aesthetics of Irish poetry’; 23. Laura Farrell-Wortman, ‘The crisis and what comes after: post-Celtic Tiger theatre in a new Irish paradigm’; 24. Kelly Sullivan, ‘Material and visual culture in post-Celtic Tiger Ireland’; 25. Méabh Ní Fhuartháin, ‘“Mise Éire”: (re)imaginings in Irish Music Studies’; 26. Paul Rouse, ‘Sport and Irishness in a new millennium’.
Part VI: THEORIZING. 27. Nessa Cronin, ‘Environmentalities: speculative imaginaries of the Anthropocene’; 28. Maureen O’Connor, ‘Irish animal studies at the turn of the twenty-first century’; 29. Elizabeth Grubgeld, ‘Contemporary Irish Studies and the impact of disability’; 30. Emma Radley ‘Irish media and representations: new critical paradigms’; 31. Seán Kennedy, ‘Totem and Taboo in Tipperary? Irish shame and neoliberal crisis in Donal Ryan’s The Spinning Heart’.
Part VII: LEGACY. 32. Kathleen Costello-Sullivan. ‘Trauma and recovery in the Post-Celtic Tiger Period: recuperating the parent-child bond in contemporary Irish fiction’; 33. Margot Gayle Backus and Joseph Valente, ‘Abused Ireland: psychoanalyzing the enigma of sexual innocence’; 34. Margaret O’Neill and Michaela Schrage-Früh, ‘Surplus to requirements? the ageing body in contemporary Irish writing’; 35. Brian Ward. ‘From Full Irish to FREESPACE: Irish architecture in the twenty-first century’; 35. Mike Cronin. ‘Repackaging history and mobilizing Easter 1916: commemorations in a time of downturn and austerity’; 37. Malcolm Sen, An ordinary crisis: SARS-CoV-2 and Irish Studies’.


Michael Pierse, ed., A History of Irish Working-Class Writing (Cambridge UP 2017), xx, 462pp. [Prelims.] Contents (pp.vii-x); Contributors (pp.xi-xii); Foreword by Declan Kiberd (pp.xiii-xviii); Acknowledgements (pp.xix-xx) . Michael Pierse, Introduction (pp.1-36). Chapters: 1: David Convery, ‘Writing and Theorising the Irish Working Class’ (pp.37-56). 2: Christopher J. V. Loughlin, ‘Representing Labour: Notes towards a Political and Cultural Economy of Irish Working-Class Experience’ (pp.57-71). 3: Andrew Carpenter, ‘Working-Class Writing in Ireland before 1800: “Some must be poor - we cannot all be great”’ (pp.72-88). 4: Frank Ferguson, ‘“We wove our ain wab”: The Ulster Weaver Poets’ Working Lives, Myths and Afterlives’ (pp.89-101). 5: John Moulden, ‘Sub-literatures?: Folk Song, Memory and Ireland’s Working Poor’ (pp.102-121). 6: Heather Laird, ‘Writing Working-Class Irish Women’ (pp.122-139). 7: Elizabeth Mannion, ‘“Unwriting” the City: Narrating Class in Early Twentieth-Century Belfast and Dublin (1900-1929)’ (pp.140-152). 8: James Moran, ‘Class during the Irish Revolution: British Soldiers, 1916 and the Abject Body’ (pp.153-167). 9: Michael Pierse, ‘ “An sinne a bhí sa chónra?”: Writing Death on the Margins in Twentieth-Century Irish Working-Class Writing’ (pp.168-194). 10: Tony Murray, ‘Writing Irish Nurses in Britain’ (pp.195-208). 11: Margaret Hallissy, John Lutz, ‘The View from Below Solidarity and Struggle in Irish-American Working-Class Literature’ (pp.209-225). 12: Peter Kuch, ‘Irish Working-Class Writing in Australasia, 1860-1960: Contrasts and Comparisons’ (pp.226-242). 13: Niall Carson, ‘Irish Working-Class Poetry 1900-1960’ (pp.243-256). 14: Paul Delaney, ‘“A system that inflicts suffering upon the many”: Early twentieth-century working-class fiction’ (pp.257-270). 15: Paul Murphy, ‘Drama, 1900-1950’ (pp.271-288). 16: John Brannigan, ‘Seán O’Casey and Brendan Behan: Aesthetics, Democracy and the Voice of Labour’ (pp.289-302). 17: Mary M. McGlynn, ‘Reshaping Well-Worn Genres: Novels of Progress and Precarity 1960-1998’ (pp.303-317). 18: Victor Merriman, ‘Locked Out: Working-Class Lives in Irish Drama 1958-1998’ (pp.318-331). 19: Adam Hanna, ‘Poetry and the Working Class in Northern Ireland during the Troubles’ (pp.332-347). 20: Mark Phelan, ‘Class Politics and Performance in Troubles Drama: “History isn’t over yet”’ (pp.348-363). 21: Claire Lynch, ‘Twentieth-Century Workers’ Biography’ (pp.364-377). 22: Eamonn Jordan, ‘Multiple Class Consciousnesses in Writings for Theatre during the Celtic Tiger Era’ (pp.378-396). Afterword: H. Gustav Klaus, ‘Overdue: The Recovery and Study of Irish Working-Class Writing: An International Perspective’ (pp.397-406).  Bibliography (pp.407-442); Index (pp.443-462).


Liam Harte, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Fiction (Oxford: Oxford UP 2020), 676pp. CONTENTS: Harte, ‘Modern Irish Fiction: Renewing the Art of the New’; Gerry Smyth, ‘The Role and Representation of Betrayal in the Irish Short Story Since Dubliners’; Sinéad Mooney, ‘Effing the Ineffable: Samuel Beckett’s Narrators’; Heather Ingman, ‘Arrows in Flight: Success and Failure in Mid-Twentieth-Century Irish Fiction’; Norman Vance, ‘’Proud of our wee Ulster’?: Writing Region and Identity in Ulster Fiction’; Louis de Paor, ‘Lethal in Two Languages: Narrative Form and Cultural Politics in the Fiction of Flann O’Brien and Maíirtín Ó Cadhain’; Jane Elizabeth Dougherty, ‘Edna O’Brien and the Politics of Belatedness’; Frank Shovlin, ‘’Half-Arsed Modern’: John McGahern and the Failed State; Neil Murphy, ‘John Banville’s Fictions of Art’; Jarlath Killeen, ‘Irish Gothic Fiction’; Caroline Magennis, ‘Intimacy, Sex, and Violence in Northern Irish Women’s Fiction’; P´draic Whyte, ‘House, Land, and Family Life: Children’s Fiction and Irish Homes’; Ian Campbell Ross, ‘Irish Crime Fiction’; Jack Fennell, ‘Irish Science Fiction’; Melissa Fegan, ‘The Great Famine in Fiction, 1901-2015’; Laura O’Connor, ‘Fictions of 1916 in the Story of Ireland’; Kevin Rockett, ‘Irish Literary Cinema’; James H. Murphy, ‘Shame is the Spur: Novels by Irish Catholics, 1873-1922’; Stefanie Lehner, ‘Devolutionary Identities: Crosscurrents in Contemporary Irish and Scottish Fiction’; Sally Barr Ebest, ‘Sex, Violence, and Religion in the Irish-American Domestic Novel’; Sineád Moynihan, ‘’A Sly, Mid-Atlantic Appropriation’: Ireland, the United States, and Transnational Fictions of Spain; Eve Patten, ‘The Irish Novelist as Critic and Anthologist’; Derek Hand, ‘Dublin in the Rare New Times’; Michael G. Cronin, ‘’Our Nameless Desires’: The Erotics of Time and Space in Contemporary Irish Lesbian and Gay Fiction’; Pádraig Ó Siadhail, ‘Contemporary Irish-Language Fiction’; Gerardine Meaney, ‘Nation, Gender, and Genre: Nineteenth-Century Women’s Writing and the Development of Irish Fiction’; Fiona McCann, ‘Northern Irish Fiction After the Troubles’; Susan Cahill, ‘Post-Millennial Irish Fiction’; Sam Slote, ‘Epic Modernism: Ulysses and Finnegans Wake’; Tony Murray, ‘The Fiction of the Irish in England’; Allan Hepburn, ‘--Obliquities: Elizabeth Bowen and the Modern Short Story’; Elizabeth Grubgeld, ‘George Moore: Gender, Place, and Narrative’; Gregory Castle, ‘Revival Fiction: Proclaiming the Future’; Gregory Dobbins, ‘The Materialist Fabulist Dialectic: James Stephens, Eimar O’Duffy, and Magic Naturalism’; Brian Ó Conchubhaír, ‘The Parallax of Irish-Language Modernism, 1900-1940’.


Pilar Villar-Argáiz, ed., Literary Visions of Multicultural Ireland: The Immigrant in Contemporary Irish Literature (Manchester UP 2013), 298pp. CONTENTS: Declan Kiberd, Foreword: the worlding of Irish writing [xii-xvii]. Acknowledgements; List of contributors. Pilar Villar-Argáiz, Introduction: the immigrant in contemporary Irish literature [1]. PART I: Irish multiculturalisms: obstacles and challenges. 2. Charlotte McIvor, ‘White Irish-born male playwrights and the immigrant experience onstage’ [37]; 3. Amanda Tucker, ‘Strangers in a strange land?: the new Irish multicultural fiction’ [50]; 4. Villar-Argáiz, ‘A nation of Others’: the immigrant in contemporary Irish poetry [64]; 5. Margarita Estevez-Saá. ‘Immigration in Celtic Tiger and post-Celtic Tiger novels [79]. PART II: Rethinking Ireland’ as a postnationalist community. 6. Eva Roa White, ‘Who is Irish?’: Roddy Doyle’s hyphenated identities’ [95]; Carmen Zamorano Elena, ‘Our identities is our own instability’: intercultural exchanges and the redefinition of identity in Hugo Hamiltons Disguise and Hand in the Fire [108]; Anne Fogarty, ‘Many and terrible are the roads to home’: representations of the immigrant in the contemporary Irish short story’, [120]; 9. Katarzyna Poloczek, ‘Writing the “new Irish into Ireland’s old narratives: the poetry of Sinead Morrissey, Leontia Flynn, Mary O’Malley, and Michael Hayes’ [133]. PART III: “The return of the repressed”: “performing” Irishness through intercultural encounters. 10. Paula Murphy, ‘Marooned men in foreign cities’: encounters with the Other in Dermot Bolger’s The Ballymun Trilogy [151]; 11. Michaela Schrage-Früh, ‘Like a foreigner / in my native land’: transculturality and Otherness in twenty-first-century Irish poetry’ [163]; 12. Jason King, ‘Irish multicultural epiphanies: modernity and the recuperation of migrant memory in the writing of Hugo Hamilton’ [176]; 13. Katherine O’Donnell, ‘The Parts: whiskey, tea, and sympathy’ [188]; 14. Charles I. Armstrong, ‘Hospitality and hauteur: tourism, cross-cultural space, and ethics in Irish poetry [201]. PART IV: Gender and the City. 15. 'Maureen T. Reddy. ‘Gender and the city. ‘Towards a multiracial Ireland: Black Baby’s revision of Irish motherhood’ [217]; 16. Wanda Balzano, ‘Beginning history again: gendering the foreigner in Emer Martin’s Baby Zero [230]; 17. Loredana Salis, ‘Goodnight and joy be with you all’: tales of contemporary Dublin city life’  [243];  18. David Clark, ‘Mean streets, new lives: the representations of non-Irish immigrants in recent Irish crime fiction [255]. Index [269-72]. (Available online; last accessed 11.08.2019.)


Shaun Richards, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Twentieth-century Irish Drama (Cambridge UP 2003), xiii, 287pp. CONTENTS: 1. Richards, ‘Plays of (ever) changing Ireland’; 2. Stephen Watt, ‘Late Nineteenth-century Irish Theatre: Before the Abbey - and Beyond’; 3. Adrian Frazier, ‘The Ideology of the Abbey Theatre’; 4. Joep Leerssen, ‘The Theatre of William Butler Yeats’; 5. James Pethica, ‘Lady Gregory’s Abbey Theatre Drama: Ireland Real and Ideal’; 6. Mary C. King, ‘J. M. Synge, “National” Drama and the post-Protestant Imagination’; 8. Neil Sammells, ‘Oscar Wilde and the Politics of Style’; 9. Gearóid O’Flaherty, ‘George Bernard Shaw and Ireland’; 10. Ronan McDonald, ‘Sean O’Casey’s Dublin Trilogy: Disillusionment to Delusion’; 11. Cathy Leenan, ‘Ireland’s “Exiled” Women Playwrights: Teresa Deevy and Marina Carr’; 12. John Harrington, ‘Samuel Beckett and the Countertradition’; 13. Helen Lojek, ‘Brian Friel’s Sense of Place’; 14. Marilynn Richtarik, ‘The Field Day Theatre Company’; 15. Nicholas Grene, ‘Tom Murphy and the Children of Loss’.


Joe Cleary & Claire Connolly, eds., The Cambridge Companion to Modern Irish Culture (Cambridge UP 2005), 418pp. ill.; Chronology; 1. Joe Cleary, Introduction: Ireland and modernity. Part 1 - Cultural Politics: 2. Alvin Jackson, The survival of the Union ; 3, Gearóid Ó Tuathaigh, Language, ideology and national identity; 4. Tom Inglis, Religion, identity, state and society; 5. Liam O’Dowd, Republicanism, nationalism and unionism: changing contexts, cultures and ideologies; 6. Siobhán Kilfeather, Irish feminism; 7. Mary J. Hickman, Migration and diaspora; 8. Kevin Whelan, The cultural effects of the famine. Part II - Cultural Practices and Cultural Forms: 9. Emer Nolan, Modernism and the Celtic revival; 10. Bernard O’Donoghue, Poetry in Ireland ; 11. Alan Baimer. Irish Sport; 12. Luke Gibbons,- Projecting the nation: cinema and culture; 13. Diarmuid Ó Giolláin, Folk culture; 14. Pádraigín Riggs & Norman Vance, Irish prose fiction; 15. Lillis Ó Laoire, Irish music; 16. Hugh Campbell, Modern architecture and national identity in Ireland . 17. Fintan Cullen, The visual arts in Ireland ; 18. Christopher Morash, Irish theatre.


For substantial listings of published work in all categories of Irish writing - creative and critical - go to RICORSO > Bibliography > ‘Criticism’ > Annual Selection - direct - or navigate from the Front Page to retain the website frame.

Taking Ricorso to Brazil

I've just travelled to the Federal University of Natal (UFRN, Brazil) to give a Bloomsday lecture on the invitation of Professor Francisco Ivan de Silva of at that scenic university in the dunes of the Brazilian Nordeste. Ivan has amazingly succeeded in running Bloomsday conference and exhibitions based on his own collection of Joyce memorabilia for 25 years and was duly honoured by a voluntary subscription from students and staff at his own University where his own work in criticism and translation is revered.

UFRN have now offered an exchange agreement with my own university in Ulster involving potential initiatives from all departments. I was honoured to carry home their generously-conceived contract, already signed on their side and ready for signing on ours at the University of Ulster (UU, N. Ireland).

Natal and Coleraine, where UU is located, have in common a natural treasure in the dune-system that forms their natural hinterland and the tourism that provides the basic staple of the economy of both regions. The University of Ulster has recently scored the highest points in a UK survey of Tourism departments. Grounds for shared information indeed! And then there is the wider range of subjects in Humanities and Sciences ...

Bulletin on Ricorso - January 2011

I’m not wildly happy with the way the site is progressing. Indeed, sometime in September 2010 I realised that I could no longer keep it up - I mean, I could no longer hope to copy a representative selection of new titles, reviews, commentaries in published monographs and collections and all the subsidiary sources which make up the annual collation of RICORSO. Que faire?

I began by drawing a time-line under this website as you can see on the front page where it says: ‘Ricorso: A Knowledge of Irish literature 1990-2010’. In practice, I will make no effort to log new writers or to field information about older writers - living or dead - who are already listed here other than what I can glean from the existing collection on my bookshelves or easily accessible internet resources.

What follows on from now is going to be an exercise in serendipity - not that Ricorso was ever anything other than a personal selection of data based on a reasonably wide survey of available reference and critical materials. Henceforth, therefore, RICORSO will record whatever comes my way in the from of literary squirrelling, neither with the idea of keeping an annual record or the idea of compassing the whole of Irish literature: more than ever, it is a knowledge of Irish literature, just like it says on the tin.

By contrast with that subjective bent and laxity of intentions, I’ve equally decided to make a more concerted effort to log additions to the website in this Journal if only to record the way I went in the best Praeger fashion, and to blazon the names of some more Irish writers and perhaps to provide a record for some curious searcher in the future of the moment at which I broadcast new discoveries about this or that writer.

(Actually, I have a more material motive in mind: to demonstrate that, while I have not been achieving the usual academic plaudits won through journal publication, I’ve nonetheless been plough a furrow of my own long hours into the night and that in spite of a two year old infant in the the house.)

So, for the future, expect what happens. There’s a steel cupboard in my office which contains virtually complete runs of Etudes Irlandaises, Eire-Ireland, the Irish University Review, and less extensive sets of the James Joyce Quarterly and sundry other journals. (How did they get there?) Even the most superficial logging of their contents would, I think, comprise, an unusual breadth of information on a single site. More to the point, it would complete the education of the editor ...

Yet - and it is a big yet - an increasingly large proportion of my time is now spent on internet in the sense that the pursuit of bibiographical information leads me deep into the bowels of the Internet Archive, and the comparable (if not actually affined) collection of digital text at Google Books. COPAC plays its part also - supplying basic bibliographical information about authors and their book-form publications. Internet, grace a Google, leads me to review in umpteen and more journals .. and the result is often and again a day spent following the hyper-trail through cyperspace rather than the paper-trail through printed books and journals in the open-stack library.

I can’t help feeling that the end-term of this process is a new style of scholarship, curiously well-suited to the purely arbitrary line that I have drawn at 2010 as marking the moment of exhaustion beyond which I can no longer attend to the current moment of publication (our moment, in as much as we live and breathe in 2011.)

Yours truly, BS — wishing every and any reader of this website a happy and productive New Year all year long with lots of brilliant interventions, conference papers, articles and reviews, original works, purloined letters, and all other modes and manners of literary and academic success.

Bruce Stewart/ 11 January 2011
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Phew! Older stuff ...
News on Ricorso - August 2010

Another year down! According to my recording there’ve been 15,000 uploads to this website since last August, mostly in the form of additions to files from primary and secondary sources - and most of these in the “Authors A-Z” region of the website which continues to function as the chief resource. You can see the records of uploads in the Logbook pages [link] of this website (a fairly discontuous record for the last few years but back on track at present - though these bely the actual level of activity since the site has been greatly altered in functionality and design in the same period.

Sadly the task of keeping the rolling annual Bibliography up to date for the current year has not been as promptly executed as in the past and copies of publishing bulletins, news-clippings and and scholarly journals lie all around me at present.

The reason for this has to do primarily with a lot of family journeys in the summer, normally the period in which the bulk of the work was down - but also with changing family patterns arising from the strange and joyful arrival of a boy-child in the house whose hard-wired capacity to demand time and attention is one of the givens of human nature. He has now graduated to the stage when he knows what electric buttons are for, and all that stands between me and a fatal crash is the tidy wire grill I’ve installed between the little explorer’s hands and my computer.

Aside from that, two major developments have shaped the way in which the site has developed during this year past. Firstly, the increasing stridency of institutional demands to observe strict protocols in regard copyright either in relation to material designed for teaching or simply for archival records - has made it impossible to persist in piling material into Ricorso as I meet it, or to maintain it on open access keep for those many who - as I know from “hits” and e-mail, have formed a dependence on it for the teaching and research.

The second development worth mentioning is the arrival of Tower Interactive who have suggested that we open a new site to be called the “Irish Literature Society” with the aim of laying on a range of services for Irish readers, scholars, and students and pulling in a little money in return. The idea is to establish e-commerce on the website in the shape of book sales, and to open a membership register which will enable access to a range of interactive services among which the contents of the existing Ricorso website will take their place - those, at least, which are free from copyright problems. What this spot!


It’s astonishing how many titles are becoming available these days in the form of digital books. Here the chief mover is of course Google Books who are creeping up towards their projected 5 million titles at an impressive rate. (1.5 million titles is the current figure behind this rapidly moving wall.) Much as I share in the widespread interest in the question of current publications which has preoccupied living writers, the public and the courts, the real bonus lies in the region of antiquarian books or those of more recent date which are now out of copyright. The genius of the collection held at Google’s Internet Archive - and what differentiates it from the collection built up at the Gutenberg Project - is that the books appear in both .pdf and .txt format - though admittedly the latter is subject to often-chaotic scanning error and sometimes to very happenstance ideas about textual editing of the resultant documents.

The case of Edward Hay’s History of the Insurrection of Wexford, a.d. 1798 (1803) serves well to illustrate the state of online access to Irish texts. The other day I happened upon this work quite accidentally while tidying up my files on Wolfe Tone. I was led to it by a search on the Ask About Ireland website, which gave me a digital copy in .pdf format - see it for yourself here. The whole is prefaced by a lengthy Introduction in which Hay gives an acount of his own family - Norman stock who remained Catholic - and his persecution by the ultra-Protestant Wexford Comittee, as they called themselves, in the wake of the Rebellion. The story that he tells concerns the ‘preconcerted’ perversion of justice at his expense. It also displays an liberal and even-handed intelligence that refuses to blame one side or the other exclusively for the terrible happenings of the period nor exempts either from blame. (See my file on Hay in “Authors”, infra.)

Hay was an educated Catholic (actually, an elected member of the Catholic Committee who visited St. James Palace in that capacity and was ’graciously received’) whose very existence reflected a reality often overlooked: there was an Irish middle class capable of proceeding without disloyalty to themselves and their traditions, and without bowing to the landlords or the priests who would increasingly monopolise the real power in Ireland between them, until a combination of Irish radicals and British liberals intervened.

It immediately struck to me that the Introduction, at the least, should be republished. In that spirit I began to make the digital copy which is now among the historical documents on this website, snugly tucked away in the RICORSO Library, “Sundry Authors” section - accessible via index or direct. I was busily copying the text in Notepad from the version I had found on yellowed paper where Ask about Ireland had direct me - apparently among their ‘assets’ as the URL suggests (/aai-files/assets/ebooks/...Hays&c.pdf - online]).

As I turned to dreaming about the unwritten book on the topic of the Irish Catholic gentry that I once considered writing as an ancillary to a slightly untypical conception of the political and cultural location occupied by James Augustine Joyce - no less a Norman descendant and a remnant of an ‘old English’ lineage than Edward Hay, MRIA, Esq. - I began to glose the various links that Google had provided for Mr Hay before closing down the browser. Suddenly I found myself face to face with the astonishing treasure trove that the Co. Clare Library librarians have placed on internet for any Irish bibliophile who cares to find it.

More exactly, I found the gem of Irish digital link pages, not a portal to all the various enterprises and resources that supply the needs of Irish studies - such as the "Gateway" I myself have constructed within the pages of Ricorso (and which several other sites, whether ensconced in the RIA in Dublin or at Creighton College, Nebraska have also put online) - but a total listing of all the Irish-related books now out of copyright which have been digitised by Google. These are the words with which I introduce the copy of the Claremen’s compilation on the Ricorso site:

The following list of electronic books relating to Ireland has been captured from the compendium of digital resources compiled by staff at the County Clare Library, a remarkable achievement on their part, and a website well worth visiting any day - any not just by Claremen. The original compilation of Irish-related titles is available there under the heading Digital Books and has been copied here in a format better suited to the Ricorso framework.

As the clear account of the list involved given at the head of the page explains, that listing was compiled using the Open Library search feature attached to the million-strong digital collection books now held in the Internet Archive assembled by Google Books. (See specifically the Open-Access Text Archive therein.)

While the search engine itself has obviously been designed by the boffins at Google, it cannot be supposed that a great deal of hands-on work has not taken place in Clare sorting and formatting the resultant information. Plaudits are due to this extraordinary team whose work in this respect is quite unrivalled by the resource-builders of any other Irish county library. If the National Library of Ireland has such a webpage, I have not found it!

The result file of 502 titles, ranging from Dermod O’Connor’s translation of Keating’s Foras Feasa ar Eirin, originally penned in 1630s and translated by O’Connor, much to the dismay of Gaelic cognoscenti - in 1723, and reprinted in that translation by James Duffy & Sons in 1861, to the Nun of Kenmare’s Advice to Irish girls in America published by McGee in New York in 1872 - along with works by Eugene O’Curry and Willie Yeats; Lecky, Lover and Lever; Spenser and Mac-Geoghegan; Matthew Carey and John Mitchel; John O’Mahony and Michael Davitt; Kickham and Lawless, even those indispensable Englishmen Matthew Arnold and Thomas Carlyle.

Among the many others such a lovable unknown as Rebecca Helena Hine - who wrote a historical ballad at 46-page extent on the subject of her hero, Brian Boru, in 1888 while connected - presumably by marriage to J. H. Hine - with the formerly Presbyterian Foyle College, Derry which is now a composite part of the University of Ulster. And, among them, too, The History of the Insurrection of Wexford, by Edway Hay, Esq., in its Google Books incarnation at the Internet Archive. Having followed the trail thus far, it prove irresistable to copy the book in text-format, and to edit it into Ricorso style using the associated .pdf version as the copy text for checking.

Given the use of long ‘s’ - i.e, ‘f’ for ‘s’ - and the random method of editing applied chez Google Books, the checking was hardly less arduous as manual copy-typing might have been. Exhausted by the labour of copying the file into a word processor to retain such format features as italics, then saving it as html and stripping out the redundant tags generated by that software before dropping it into the appropriate region of the website - where it can been seen and for the onward distribution of its booty to the relevant author-entries and the digital Library of the website - where it can be seen - see it can be reached with password access- I was ready to repair (as Joyce’s Uncle Charles would say) to a pub on Market St., Coleraine, to confer with Uncle Arthur.

There, with a copy of Books Ireland that I brought along for light reading - for what point of bringing Colm Toibin’s Brooklyn when so many of the denizens have tales to tell of equally poignancy themselves? - I happened on the information in Jeremy Addis’s “First Flush” that a biography of Hay is due to appear from the History Press this very autumn - viz., Margaret Ó hÓrtaigh’s Edward Hay: Historian of 1798.

Serendipity? Coincidence? There is so much happening in Irish studies at the moment that the odds are severely stacked against any name or title appearing in one context without a related name or title springing up in another. And this is how it’s been all week as, at various less-than-idle (if not precisely well-used) moments I plugged on through the chapters of what must be the most consummately piece of scholarship to break upon the shore of Irish studies in the last decade: Kate Trumpener’s Bardic Nationalism: The Romantic Novel and the British Empire (1997).

Suddenly everything anyone has had to say about Lady Morgan, Sylvester O’Halloran, Charles O’Connor, Carolan and Hempsey, Bunting and Tone and Emmet and Tom Moore, even Petrie and O’Donovan, is stitched into an explanatory account of the growth and morphology of cultural nationalism in Ireland and the other peripheral regions of the erstwhile United Kingdom - at least, so far as Ireland is concerned - that it seemed like looking directly into the depths of the well from which all that intellectual refreshment had been drawn.

For decades past I have been copying snippets of informative commentary and criticism into the author files of Ricorso, and in recent years, since the arrival of rapid scanners with easily affordable ‘optical character reocognition’ programs the temptation is to copy whole chapters and, in some instances, whole books for preservation in the Library section of the website (naturally, under password).

Now, like a jigsaw puzzle nearing completion, or a Rubek cube approaching its solution, the whole of our knowledge about Irish writing in the antiquarian period - whether for the pulpit or the stage, the theatre or the bookstall, the learned society (or gentleman’s association), the revolutionary coven or the junta’s cabal - is assuming an aspect of final coherence and taking the unprejudiced postcolonial form it happily coincides with the elegant account of texts and contexts which makes the Cambridge History of Irish Literature (2004) such a triumph of re-reading, synthesis, and theoretical good sense.

I’m only sorry that I haven’t contributed first-hand to this exercise in national - yet not entirely nationalist feat of understanding. (‘Wipe your glosses with what you gnose’, is Joyce’s famous dictum.) All I can hope is that the sheer extent of archaeological graft involved in the compilation of Ricorso - digging out and dusting off the shards of criticism that make up the whole mosaic - will produce an archival counterimage of the pattern in the carpet. But at what a cost! Aside from the inherently arbitrary nature of the archive, the whole endeavour has now become borderline illegal.

Did I say borderline? In the age of copyright audits I’ll lucky to avoid a custodial sentence, if not a auto da fé involving the incineration of my mortgages and the domestic comforts associated with them. (What will the three little piggies do then.) I should have been a real writer - thinker, biographer and critic - instead of a scissors-and-paste man of the most sterile description. ... Yet, surely, a cannot be a futile goal to conserve the documentary elements of a knowledge of Irish Literature’ in one electronic place - as the subtitle on the front page of Ricorso claims.

I emphasis the singular, ‘a knowledge’ because these are simply the traces of one itinerary across the landscape of Irish writing down the centuries - partial, purblind, partisan and quirky; flawed by the continual ellipses of inattention, failing energy, ignorance of sources. I myself, and several others, understanding its scope: that is, its strengths and likewise its failings - all of which have got to do with the method of compilation.

By the year 2000 Ricorso had comprehensively digested virtually every bibliographical source on Irish literature including not only the Bradshaw Collection at Cambridge University Library, the 1955 catalogue of the British Museum Library, and those of the Belfast Central and the Linen Hall libraries, but also the substance of Stephen Brown’s Ireland in Fiction (1919) and a wide range of modern Irish dictionaries. It had also eviscerated most of the Irish literary histories, conference collections, and topical studies and had contributed through online open access to the works a number of distinguished scholars in the subject area.

Yet, when that astonishing duo Rolf and Magda Loeber, produced their Guide to Irish Fiction (2006), no reference whatsoever was made to Ricorso or its antecedent, the EIRData website that I built for the Princess Grace Irish Library or the Irish Literary Records which I launched on internet at an even earlier period will acting as secretary to the International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures. From these omission I infer that Ricorso and its kind are not considered worthwhile sources for information about Irish literature, notwithstanding the hundreds of lecturers, students and reviewers who weekly visit the site guide their researches or supplement their knowledge.

In large part this is due to the practice of a very proper professionalism as regards the authority of bibliographical sources, and an equal measure of good sense as regards the structure of the Ricorso ‘database’ - but it also has to do with the fact that the database is not itself a normal copyright undertaking which requires acknowledgement for information and borrowed text. Is this something that can be remedied in the future? Only be excising large portions of the website which have been frankly captured by means of print-book scanning or online capture of one kind or another (i.e., mouse-selection, manual copying and whole-file downloads).

Alternately it would be possible to establish an e-commerce regime of some description, enabling access to quoted passages only on payment of a fee which would be passed on the the authors and/or contributors to the website (perhaps in the form of remission of a proportion of an entry charge or free access the whole.) I am sad to say that this is probably the most likely option for the future. But, once accepted, it is the development route that promises most in terms of site development since the contents would become both corporative and cumulative - building up to a scale immensely greater than the present small beginning. It would then remain only for the author of Ricorso to adopt the part of a contents referee or monitor, and to ensure that the technical capacity for interactive contributions was maintained in top condition. Way to go!

In the meantime Ricorso will remain what it was from the outset: one scholar’s notebook on the subject, truly “a” knowledge of Irish literature. And, for those who find its contents serviceable in their own publishing contexts, the second point clearly made in the “Terms & Conditions” (which meet each user who enters by the front door) must strictly obtain: ‘Texts to be found here should be consulted in the printed originals prior to inclusion in any publication and the original cited as the source.’

[ Note: These are first thoughts written in some haste rather than a finished article.]

Bruce Stewart/28 Aug. 2010

Bulletin on Ricorso - August 2009

Ricorso has been significantly overhauled in the last 12 months. Other than the perpetual update from incoming titles, the most important change concerns the correction of broken links between file and file which greatly enhances the value of the website. A drop-down menu has been added to the search engine which permitting each region of the website to be searched separately or together. Less obvious changes concern the way in which the code is written and the re-design of visual elements.

On the editoral side, over 30,000 pages have been subjected to close scrutiny and proofing while the presentation of longer biographical notices has been modified for easy reading. The listing of “Works” and “Criticism” has similarly been rationalised, using bullet-points and sub-headings. Links to external sites either as sources of material or sources of further information has been supplied both at the author-page and the “Gateway” level of the website.

The stated aim of RICORSO to review forty years of Irish literary scholarship has been substantiated in the form of a physical library of sources covering the chief primary and secondary texts and the main Irish-studies journal series. This is housed on purpose-build shelving at Adelaide Avenue, Coleraine. It is estimated that the key elements of all such materials (whether text or table of contents) will have been incorporated in RICORSO within five years, bringing the project to conclusion.

The compilation of a digital library corresponding in scope to that physical collection constitutes an asset ripe for exploitation in future educational and commercial contexts with benefit to the authors of same as well as the compiler. In view of legal issues regarding copyright, however, the development of this aspect of the project must await a future moment when time and funds are available to tackle administrative problems associated with it.

The present website is entirely maintained by its compiler at an independent domain and server address on an individual internet service provision fee-paying basis. It remains open to all visitors subject only to agreement with the “Terms and Conditions” set out on the front pages - which may not, however, have any ultimate value as legal disclaimers. In five years of operation, there has been copious correspondence with scholars and authors but no legal issues pertaining to the content.

Bruce Stewart/26 Aug. 2009

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