Monday February 13 at 19:30 — Brad Kent will give a presentation entitled Sean O’Faolain, the Irish Public Intellectual, and European Culture. Sean O’Faolain remains one of the most contentious figures in modern Irish history. Despite having been a bomb-maker and propagandist for the IRA, a Commonwealth fellow at Harvard University and an internationally respected short story writer, novelist and biographer, his reputation has come to be defined by his role as the leading public intellectual and polemicist of the post-independence period. This lecture will introduce people to this fascinating and sometimes paradoxical figure, with a particular focus on his attempts to ensure that Ireland, at the time dominated by an isolationist ethos, recognized its historical links to European culture, a timely consideration in the wake of Brexit and populist movements against the EU.
Brad Kent is associate professor of British and Irish literatures at Université Laval. In 2013-14 he was visiting professor at Trinity College Dublin. Most recently, he has published George Bernard Shaw in Context (Cambridge University Press, 2015), The Selected Essays of Sean O’Faolain (McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016), and a chapter in The Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre (Oxford University Press, 2016). He is currently working on an eight-volume series of the writings of Bernard Shaw for Oxford’s World Classics.