This conference builds on fresh work on reference—or how the text refers to a world outside of the text—in order to rethink the aesthetics and politics of nineteenth-century Irish literature. Responding to a set of shared readings, participants will ask big questions:
What does literature about nineteenth-century Ireland refer to, and what are its habits of reference? Does the referent change for readers across time? Now that old saws about Ireland’s failed realism have been put to bed, what purposes might be served by thinking about Irish referential habits? Does thinking about Ireland and reference strand nineteenth-century Ireland in old paradigms of representation that preclude us thinking about mediation ? How does the nineteenth-century literature and culture of Ireland refer to our own culture and moment?
Thank you to Villanova's CLAS Faculty Research and Development Grant program, the Center for Irish Studies, Villanova’s English department, P19, and Sara Maurer for their generous support of this conference.