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Lecture

Edward Said Memorial Lecture: The Future of the Past: Revival Ireland 1891-1922

Declan Kiberd (University of Notre Dame)

Declan Kiberd renowned scholar of Irish Literature, will deliver the annual Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture. The history of literature, said Carlyle, is a narrative of "revivals." The Revival which occurred in Ireland a century ago, far from being a case of late-blooming Romanticism, was a systematic attempt to adapt and update the civic values of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment. Although simplified in many subsequent accounts as a manifestation of nationalism, it was in fact a project for liberation. It offered new roles for women, theosophists, socialists, pacifists, secularists and alternative models of republican modernity outside of the available state codes; and its leaders took Ireland as a test-case of the modern decolonising world. They were the first English-speaking people in the twentieth century to walk in hope and in darkness down what would become a better-lit road. The lecture will consider a range of well-known authors such as Yeats and Joyce, locating them against a backdrop which introduces less familiar figures such as Mary Colum, James and Margaret Cousins and Francis Sheehy Skeffington.

Declan Kiberd is Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame. Declan Kiberd’s specialty is Modern Irish and English Literature. A leading international authority on the literature of Ireland, both in English and Irish, Kiberd has authored scores of articles and many books, including Synge and the Irish Language (1979), Men and Feminism in Irish Literature (1985), Irish Classics (2000), The Irish Writer and the World (2005), Inventing Ireland (1995) and Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Life in Joyce’s Masterpiece (2009).

The Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture, organized by Columbia's Heyman Center for the Humanities, is given once a year in honor of the public intellectual and literary critic, Edward W. Said, who taught in the English & Comparative Literature Department at Columbia from 1963 until 2003. Professor Said was perhaps best known for his books Orientalism, published in 1978, and Cultural Imperialism, published in 1993, both of which made major contributions to the field of cultural and postcolonial studies. Over the course of his intellectual career, Professor Said became one of the most influential voices on the Arab-Israeli conflict as a spokesperson for the Palestinian people in the West. Along with Daniel Barenboim in 1999, he founded the West-Eastern Divan Orchestra, which brings together musicians from Palestine and Israel and surrounding Arab countries. Professor Said was awarded the Bowdoin Prize by Harvard University, the Lannan Literary Award for Lifetime Achievement, and the Prince of Asturias Award for Concord, among other awards. He was the first person to be awarded the Lionel Trilling Book Award two times. The Annual Edward W. Said Memorial Lecture pays tribute to Professor Said by bringing to Columbia speakers who embody his beliefs and the legacy of his work.

Organized by the Heyman Center at the Italian Academy of Advanced Studies.