Breac is a peer reviewed, digital academic journal that is published twice a year. It takes as its starting point the field of Irish Studies and moves outward. The journal pairs the work of accomplished and emerging scholars in short, focused issues with the hope of cultivating international discussion in the digital forum.



Irish University Review

The Irish University Review was founded in 1970 at University College Dublin as a journal of Irish literary criticism. Since then, it has become one of the most influential journals of Irish literary studies. It is affiliated with The International Association for the Study of Irish Literature (IASIL), and is published twice a year, in May and November.

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The James Joyce Quarterly

For nearly 45years the James Joyce Quarterly has been the flagship journal of international Joyce studies. In each issue, the JJQ brings together a wide array of critical and theoretical work focusing on the life, writing and reception of James Joyce. In addition to publishing essays that represent the best in contemporary Joyce scholarship, the journal publishes notes, reviews, letters and a comprehensive checklist of recent Joyce related publications.



New Hibernia Review: Iris Éireannach Nua

Editor: James Silas Rogers

New Hibernia Review is published quarterly by The Centre for Irish Studies at the University of St. Thomas. The journal publishes scholarly articles and essays on Irish literature and culture, along with book reviews and a featured Irish poet in each issue. Contribution guidelines and subscription information can be found at



The field of Irish Studies is a rich and dynamic maze which continues to grow as scholars bring new perspectives to Irish literature and culture. The following list, arranged alphabetically by title, is a selection of texts that I have consulted during the course of my research on various aspects of Irish literature. Many more studies are available from the presses listed, and from numerous other publishing houses. For monographs and critical essays on the works of individual Irish authors, please contact me at


After Yeats and Joyce: Reading Modern Irish Literature. Oxford University Press (1997)

Neil Corcoran.

This wide-ranging introduction to modern Irish writing discusses the work of Samuel Beckett, Elizabeth Bowen, Thomas Kinsella, Kate O’Brien, Seamus Heaney, Mary Lavin and Roddy Doyle.


Anomalous States: Irish Writing and the Post-Colonial Moment. The Lilliput Press (1993)

David Lloyd.

Lloyd begins with the question of Irish identity in the wake of the Northern conflict and returns to the complex terrain of nineteenth-century culture in which those questions were first formed. In five linked essays, he explores Ireland’s modern literature and its political contexts through the work of four seminal writers – Seamus Heaney, Samuel Beckett, W.B. Yeats and James Joyce.


Catholic Emancipations: Irish fiction from Thomas Moore to James Joyce. Syracuse University Press (2007)

Emer Nolan.

Exploring a literary line too often overlooked in favor of Irish Gothic, Nolan challenges received histories of nineteenth-century Irish fiction and shows how an emergent and somewhat combative Catholic middle-class generated its own idiosyncratic narrative forms. Nolan offers a major reassessment of such figures as Thomas Moore and George Moore, and of the sentimental fiction in nineteenth-century Ireland, along with a highly original exploration of James Joyce and his relationship to his nineteenth-century Irish Catholic predecessors.


Celtic Revivals: Essays in Modern Irish Literature – Joyce, Yeats, O’Casey, Kinsella, Montague, Friel, Mahon, Heaney, Beckett, Synge. Wake Forest University Press (1985)

Seamus Deane.

This groundbreaking and eloquent entry in Irish Studies is as relevant today as when it was first published. Professor Deane locates the roots of modern Irish literature in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century Celtic Revivals, beginning with an examination of the commentaries of Edmund Burke and Matthew Arnold. After exploring the attitudes of Yeats, Joyce, Synge and O’Casey, Deane then considers the bequests of these writers to the modern generation, from Beckett to Heaney. He also examines the work of writers as varied as poets Thomas Kinsella, John Montague and Derek Mahon, and playwright Brian Friel, and considers how they confronted the return of the political crisis in Northern Ireland.


Contemporary Irish Writing. Iona College Press (1993)

James D. Brophy and Raymond J. Porter Editors.

This collection of essays recognizes the extension of Ireland’s literary significance in the twentieth century beyond the acknowledged early masters such as Yeats, Joyce and Beckett by addressing the important contributions to contemporary poetry, prose and drama made by more contemporary writers. The work of writers as diverse as Seamus Heaney, Thomas Kinsella, William Trevor and Brian Friel is examined, along with two essays on writers who write in Irish.


Critical Ireland: New Essays in Literature and Culture. Four Courts Press (2001)

Aaron Kelly and Alan A. Gillis Editors.

This absorbing collection of essays offers a panoramic view of recent Irish literary and cultural criticism. Irish writers past and present, major and minor, are given important new readings, while innovative perspectives on Irish culture are opened up in essays that explore the complex relationships between art, culture and history.


Folklore & Modern Irish Writing. Irish Academic Press (2014)

Anne Markey and Anne O’ Connor Editors.

Exploring the fascination of Irish folklore and storytelling for collectors, scholars, writers and readers, Folklore & Modern Irish Writing offers a comprehensive overview of the complex relationship between oral traditions and literary practices in Ireland. The rich contributions by leading Irish literary academics develop existing studies and further our understanding of the nature and importance of Irish folklore, acknowledging the symbiotic relationship that exists between storytellers of oral narrative, on the one hand, and literary storytellers on the other.


Gender and Sexuality in Modern Ireland. University of Massachusetts Press (1997)

Anthony Bradley and Maryann Gialanella Valiulis Editors.

This collection of stimulating essays focuses on issues of gender and sexuality in Irish history, biography, language, literature and drama. Both historically grounded and theoretically sophisticated, these essays share the conviction that the gendering of Ireland – not only the nation, but of actual Irish men and women, is a construction of culture and ideology and not simply one of nature.


Gender in Irish Writing. Open University Press (1991)

Toni O’ Brien Johnson and David Cairns Editors.

One of the first books to address issues of gender in the field of Irish writing at large, with essays that deal with a wide variety of texts, including the Old Irish version of the Deirdre tale, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the plays of Samuel Beckett, the novels of Jennifer Johnston, and the poetry of John Montague and Seamus Heaney.


Heathcliff and the Great Hunger: Studies in Irish Culture. Verso (1996)

Terry Eagleton

In a series of essays that are both lucid and witty, Professor Eagleton examines Irish culture from Swift to Joyce, and the shared and savage past of Britain and Ireland.


Improprieties: Politics and Sexuality in Northern Irish Poetry. Oxford University Press (1993)

Claire Willis

Improprieties is an innovative and accessible study of contemporary Northern Irish poetry. Close readings of the work of Tom Paulin, Medbh McGuckian and Paul Muldoon focus on the “improper” elements of the poetry: the refusal of a sense of home, the disruption of “traditional” poetic form, and the sexual narratives told.


Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation. Harvard University Press (1995)

Declan Kiberd.

Kiberd offers a vivid account of the personalities and the texts – English and Irish alike – that reinvented Ireland after centuries of colonialism. Combining detailed and innovative interpretations of literary masterpieces with assessments of the wider role of language, sport, clothing, politics and philosophy in the Irish Revival, this is one of the most comprehensive studies of Irish literature and the literary history of modern Ireland.


Ireland After History. University of Notre Dame Press in association with Field Day (1999)

David Lloyd.

Drawing on a range of theoretical resources, from Walter Benjamin and the Frankfurt School, to subaltern historiography and Marxist critiques of ideology, this volume addresses a wide variety of Irish cultural phenomena, from politics to cinema, from poetry to murals. Professor Lloyd interrogates the tired dichotomies of nationalism and revisionism in order to establish alternative possibilities, both theoretical and practical, for the understanding of the past and the shaping of the future.


Ireland: A Social and Cultural History, 1922-Present. Cornell University Press (1985)

Terence Browne

Professor Brown’s book offers an illuminating account of the changes in Irish life from the early decades of the twentieth-century up to the mid nineteen-eighties. Brown analyzes the ideas, images, and symbols that provided the Irish people with part of their national identity. He further considers how these conceptions and aspirations fared in the new social order that evolved following the economic revival of the early 1960s.


Ireland in Exile: Irish Writers Abroad. New Island Books (1993)

Dermot Bolger Editor

Ireland in Exile is the first anthology to focus exclusively on those Irish writers who live, by choice or by circumstance, outside Ireland. The writers surveyed present a new and vastly different view of Ireland and the wider world by virtue of their geographic distance from their home country.


Ireland in the 1950s: The Lost Decade. Mercier Press (2004)

Dermot Keogh, Finbar O’ Shea, and Carmel Quinlan Editors.

Ireland in the 1950s is a comprehensive volume of essays on a complex and often overlooked decade in Irish history. These essays bring to new light research on the literary, social, cultural, economic and political life of the 1950s in Ireland, as well as commenting extensively on the Irish Diaspora of the 1950s.


Irish Essays. Cambridge University Press (2011)

Denis Donoghue

These essays represent the best of Professor Donoghue’s writings on three crucial Irish writers – Jonathan Swift, W.B. Yeats, and James Joyce – together with other voices including James Clarence Mangan, Samuel Beckett, William Trevor, John McGahern and Roddy Doyle.


Irish Literature since 1990: Diverse Voices. Manchester University Press (2009)

Scott Brewster and Michael Parker Editors.

This collection provides a wide ranging survey of fiction, poetry and drama in a period marked by the unparalleled global prominence of Irish culture. European and American scholars explore the central developments within Irish culture and society that have transformed both the writing and reading of identity, sexuality, history and gender.


Irish Poetry after Joyce. 2nd Edition Syracuse University Press (1997)

Dillon Johnston

Professor Johnston argues that many of Ireland’s new poetic voices do not follow the Yeatsian model – the singular lyric or odic voice – rather they rely on Joyce for interplay of dramatic voices. Johnston describes the world that contemporary poets have inherited: the legacies of Yeats and Joyce, the conflict of Unionism and Nationalism, the Irish language itself and the politics of literature after World War II. In exploring the poetry of Yeats’s successors, Johnston pairs Austin Clarke with Thomas Kinsella, Patrick Kavanagh with Seamus Heaney, Denis Devlin with John Montague and Louis MacNeice with Derek Mahon. The work of a younger generation of contemporary poets such as Paul Muldoon, Eavan Boland, Medbh McGuckian and Eilean Ni Chuilleanain is also addressed.


Light, Freedom and Song: A Cultural History of Modern Irish Writing. Yale University Press (2005)

David Pierce

Professor Pierce considers the hybrid character of Irish literature to show how language, culture and history have been affected by the colonial encounter between Ireland and Britain. In addition to exploring changes in the cultural landscape in light of the colonial legacy, Pierce traces the impact of the Great Famine and of cultural nationalism on Irish writing by focusing on two decades from the twentieth century, the 1930s and the 1980s.


Location and Dislocation in Contemporary Irish Society: Emigration and Irish Identities. University of Notre Dame Press (1997)

Jim Mac Laughlin, Editor.

This volume of essays provides a wide-ranging treatment of Irish emigration in contemporary Irish society and the expanding Irish diaspora. Among the most innovative chapters in this volume are those which discuss the racial dimension of the Irish diaspora, the position of the New Irish Americans in the US economic and social system, and Irish graduates in the new international division of labor. Other topics that receive detailed treatment include the gendered identities of of Irish emigrants in Britain, and representations of emigrants and emigration in recent Irish literature and in contemporary Irish music.


Modernism and the Celtic Revival. Cambridge University Press (2001)

Gregory Castle

In Modernism and the Celtic Revival Professor Castle examines the impact of anthropology on the work of Irish Revivalists such as W.B. Yeats, John M. Synge and James Joyce. Castle argues that anthropology enabled Irish Revivalists to confront and combat British imperialism, even as these Irish writers remained ambivalently dependent on the cultural and political discourses they sought to undermine.


Modern Irish Poetry: Tradition and Continuity from Yeats to Heaney. University of California Press (1989)

Robert F. Garratt

Professor Garratt provides a comprehensive analysis of the work of the major figures in twentieth century Irish poetry through a study of Irish poetic achievement from Yeats’s time and concluding with an evaluation of the work of the modern Ulster poets, Derek Mahon, Michael Longley and Paul Muldoon.


Multi-Culturalism: The View From the Two Irelands. Cork University Press (2001)

Enda Longley and Declan Kiberd

Two of Ireland’s most outspoken critics and cultural commentators put forward views on the contrasting directions in which the two societies on the island are moving.


Outrageous Fortune: Capital and Culture in Modern Ireland. Field Day Publications (2007)

Joe Cleary

Scanning literature, theatre, film and music, Cleary probes the connections between capital, culture and criticism in Modern Ireland, and asks whether Ireland produced a more radical and ambitious literature in the straitened circumstances of the first half of the twentieth century than it managed to do since it began to “modernize,” and become more affluent from the 1960s onwards. He includes readings of James Joyce and the Irish modernists, the naturalists Patrick Kavanagh, john McGahern and Edna O’Brien, and comments on what he terms the “neo-naturalism” of Marina Carr, Patrick McCabe and Martin McDonagh.


Reading Irish Histories: Texts, Contexts and Memory in Modern Ireland. Four Courts Press (2003)

Lawrence W. McBride Editor.

This interdisciplinary collection of scholarly essays examines how a variety of Irish historical narratives were delivered through the written word, with particular attention paid to both the media and the message, as well as to how readers might have reacted to these texts.


Paddy and Mr. Punch: Connections in Irish and English History. Penguin Books (1995)

R.F. Foster

An historian best known for his monumental two volume biography of W.B. Yeats, Foster brings a fresh perspective on the various definitions of Irishness, through studies of key “Anglo-Irish” figures such as Charles Stewart Parnell, W.B. Yeats, and Elizabeth Bowen, as well as Oscar Wilde and George Bernard Shaw.


Seán O’ Faoláin: Literature, Inheritance and the 1930s. Irish Academic Press (2014)

Paul Delaney

Delaney presents an innovative re-reading and vibrant study of Seán O’ Faoláin, one of the most influential figures in twentieth-century Irish culture. A short-story writer of international repute, he was also a leading commentator and critic, and was editor of the landmark journal from the 1950s, The Bell. His work was central to the evolution of post-independence Irish writing, and his voice was one of the most prominent, and eloquent, in the fight against censorship in Ireland.


Strange Country: Modernity and Nationhood in Irish Writing since 1790. Oxford University Press (1997)

Seamus Deane

Professor Deane traces the emergence of a self-consciously national tradition in Irish writing from the era of the French Revolution and specifically, from Edmund Burke’s counter-revolutionary writings. Deane argues that Irish writing is dominated by a number of inherited issues which have resulted in a national literature that is also a colonial one.


That Island Never Found: Essays and Poems for Terence Brown. Four Courts Press (2007)

Editors Nicholas Allen and Eve Patten

A collection of essays and poems in honor of Professor Terence Brown of Trinity College, Dublin. Roy Foster, Seamus Heaney, Declan Kiberd, Edna Longley, Derek Mahon, Paul Muldoon and Helen Vendler are among the writers and critics to join in celebration of Brown’s contribution to Irish intellectual life.


That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland During the Second World War. The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press (2007)

Clair Willis

Willis provides a detailed and comprehensive account of the complex debates among Irish artists, politicians and ordinary citizens during World War II. An excellent social and cultural history of Ireland during the Second World War.


The Books that Define Ireland. Irish Academic Press (2014)

Bryan Fanning and Tom Garvin Editors.

This engaging and provocative work consists of twenty-nine chapters and discusses over fifty books that have been instrumental in the development of Irish social and political thought since the early seventeenth century. Steering clear of traditionally canonical Irish literature, Fanning and Garvin debate the significance of their chosen texts in a compelling dialogue with one another. From Jonathan Swift’s savage indignation to Flann O’ Brien’s disintegrative satire, this book provides a fascination discussion of how key Irish writers affected the life of their country by upholding or tearing down those matters held close to the heart, identity and habits of the Irish nation.


The Cambridge Companion to Modern Irish Culture. Cambridge University Press (2005)

Joe Cleary and Claire Connolly Editors.

This Companion provides an authorative introduction to the historical, social and stylistic complexities of modern Irish culture. In addition to essays on religion, Irish poetry, prose and music, the range of topics covered also includes the following: language, ideology and national identity; Irish feminism; migration and Diaspora; the cultural effects of the Great Famine; Irish sport; Folk Culture; the visual arts in Ireland and Irish theatre.


The Dual Tradition: An Essay on Poetry and Politics in Ireland. Carcanet Press (1995)

Thomas Kinsella

In The Dual Tradition poet Thomas Kinsella presents a view of poetry in Ireland from early times to the present day, concentrating on the periods of most radical adjustment and change: the coming of Christianity; Norman and later settlements; the end of the bardic period; colonialism and dispossession; politics before the Great Famine and in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Kinsella also brings Yeats and Joyce into new focus and considers in special detail the poetry of Austin Clarke, Patrick Kavanagh and Samuel Beckett.


The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making it up in Ireland. Oxford University Press (2002)

  1. F. Foster

In his opinionated and highly entertaining book, Professor Foster examines how the Irish have written, understood, used and misused their history over the past century. Varied, surprising and funny, these interlinked essays examine the stories that people tell each other and why.


The Irish Writer and the World. Cambridge University Press (2005)

Declan Kiberd

Professor Kiberd synthesizes the themes that have occupied him throughout his career as a leading critic of Irish literature and culture. A host of topics are discussed, including analogies of postcoloniality, stereotypes of the stage Irishman and the Gaelic bard, archaism and modernity and the future of Irish studies.


The Living Stream: Literature and Revisionism in Ireland. Bloodaxe Books (1994)

Edna Longley

In this collection of essays Longley investigates the links between Irish literature (especially contemporary poetry), Irish culture and Irish politics, with a particular emphasis on the historical imagination of Northern Irish poets. Also discussed is Belfast in literature, Protestant writers after Irish independence and the influence of Louis McNiece on Northern poets.


The Myth of Manliness in Irish National Culture, 1880 -1922. University of Illinois Press (2011)

Joseph Valente

In this pioneering study Professor Valente discusses constructions of Irish manhood in one of the most decisive periods of Irish nationalist mobilization, and in the process, significantly reshapes our sense of what the major ideological structures of Irish nationalist culture were during this period.