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Irish Scholar Declan Kiberd Appointed Keough Professor of Irish Studies

Author: Michael O. Garvey

Declan Kiberd

Declan Kiberd, one of Ireland’s most prominent intellectuals, has been appointed Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.

Kiberd, whose appointment becomes effective in 2011, is now chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College Dublin (UCD).

“Declan Kiberd is the major figure in the field of Irish studies, whose research commands international acclaim,” says Christopher Fox, director of the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. “As former graduate students of Declan’s and Notre Dame students who studied with him in the Dublin program at UCD attest, he also is an extraordinary teacher. His arrival will strengthen an already thriving research and teaching center in the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies. It is not an overstatement to say that his presence on the Notre Dame faculty reinforces our position as the world leader in Irish Studies for years to come.”

According to Donald Keough, chairman emeritus of Notre Dame’s board of trustees and co-chair of the University’s Ireland Council, “Declan Kiberd’s appointment will take the Irish studies program at Notre Dame to a new level in years to come.”

“In addition to his unique expertise in Irish literature, Declan Kiberd brings to Notre Dame students his deep knowledge of modern literature in English,” says John Sitter, English department chairman. “He also brings to the study of fiction an engaging ethical commitment. The subtitle of the book he published this past year on Joyce’s UlyssesThe Art of Everyday Living — is earned on every page. It is a brilliantly accessible model of how to read complex fiction in relation to daily experience.”

A Dublin native who counted the novelist John McGahern among his earliest schoolteachers, Kiberd studied at Trinity College Dublin before earning a doctoral degree at Oxford, under the direction of Richard Ellmann, the biographer of James Joyce, William Butler Yeats, and Oscar Wilde.

A member of the UCD faculty since 1979, Kiberd had taught previously at the University of Kent and Trinity College. An Irish language speaker and a scholar of ancient Celtic culture and Irish literature and history, he has lectured in over 30 countries worldwide and contributes essays and reviews to the Irish Times, the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, and the New York Times.

Kiberd’s study of Irish literature, Inventing Ireland, was praised by the late Edward Said as “a highly readable, joyfully contentious book whose enormous learning and superb understanding of the literary text will introduce readers for the first time to a remarkably lively panorama of Irish culture during the last century.”

Books Kiberd has written include Synge and the Irish Language, Men and Feminism in Irish Literature, Irish Classics, The Irish Writer and the World, and Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living.

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