Claire Connolly, “Watery Romanticism: Crossing the Irish Sea with Keats”
Claire Connolly is Professor of Modern English at University College Cork and the 2023-2024 Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies at Boston College.
What happens when we put literary concepts and periods to work between and across bodies of water? "Watery Romanticism" offers a new account of Irish culture in the late eighteenth- and early-nineteenth century with a particular focus on the constitutive role of sea crossings. Seas and coasts were part of everyday Irish life in the romantic-era: authors, soldiers, landlords, migrant workers, students and members of parliament moved between our islands and across the empire along with books, letters, wine, food, weapons and cattle.
For the lecture, Connolly will examine one singular case, the crossing between Port Patrick and Donaghadee undertaken by a young John Keats in the summer of 1818 and his subsequent walk to and from Belfast in the months just before he wrote some of his best known poems. She will draw on the blue, environmental and spatial humanities to analyze Keats’s Irish and Scottish letters and consider the limits imposed upon the creative imagination by the crowded, miserable landscapes of pre-Famine Ireland.
Connolly has edited or co-edited ten books and authored dozens of book chapters and articles. Her 2011 monograph, A Cultural History of the Irish Novel, 1790-1829, won the Donald J. Murphy Prize for Distinguished First Monograph, awarded by the American Conference for Irish Studies. Scholarly editions include two volumes in The Works of Maria Edgeworth and Sydney Owenson’s The Wild Irish Girl.
The evening will begin with a wine, beer, and hors d'oeuvres reception at 5:00pm in the Burns Library Irish Room. The lecture will follow at 6:00pm upstairs in the Thompson Room. All are welcome. Directions, parking, and accessibility information is available on the Burns Library website: https://libguides.bc.edu/burns/visit.
For more about Connolly and her upcoming talk, please see the feature article in the Boston College Chronicle.
Wednesday, December 6 at 5:00pm to 7:00pm
Boston College, 153-189 College Road, Chestnut Hill, MA, 02467, USA