Researchers at UCD


John Brannigan


School Of English, Drama & Film
Newman Building
Dublin 4

Tel: 716 8181


John Brannigan has research interests in the twentieth-century literatures of Ireland, England, Scotland, and Wales, with a particular focus on the relationships between literature and social and cultural identities. His first book, New Historicism and Cultural Materialism (1998), was a study of the leading historicist methodologies in late twentieth-century literary criticism. He has since published two books on the postwar history of English literature (2002, 2003), leading book-length studies of working-class authors Brendan Behan (2002) and Pat Barker (2005), and the first book to investigate twentieth-century Irish literature and culture using critical race theories, Race in Modern Irish Literature and Culture (2009). His most recent book, Archipelagic Modernism: Literature in the Irish and British Isles, 1890-1970 (2014), explores new ways of understanding the relationship between literature, place and environment in 20th-century Irish and British writing.  He has been teaching in UCD since 2002, and before that he taught in the University of Luton (1993-1999), Trinity College Dublin (2000-2), and Queen's University Belfast (2001-2). He was editor of the international peer-reviewed journal, Irish University Review, from 2010 to 2016.




Association: International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures, Function/Role: Member
Association: Modern Language Association, Function/Role: Member
Association: Modernist Studies Association, Function/Role: Member

Other Activities

Editor, Irish University Review, 2010-



Brannigan, J (2014) Archipelagic Modernism: Literature in the Irish and British Isles, 1890-1970. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. [Details]
John Brannigan; (2009) Race in Modern Irish Literature and Culture. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. [Details]
Brannigan, John; (2005) Pat Barker. Manchester: MUP. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2002) Literature, Culture and Society in Postwar England, 1945-1965. UK: Edwin Mellen Press. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2002) Orwell to the Present: Literature in England, 1945-2000. : Palgrave. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2002) Brendan Behan: Cultural Nationalism and the Revisionist Writer. : Four Courts Press. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1998) New Historicism and Cultural Materialism. : Macmillan. [Details]

Book Chapters

Brannigan, J (2017) 'Sean O'Casey and Brendan Behan: Aesthetics, Democracy and the Voice of Labour' In: Michael Pierse (eds). A History of Irish Working-Class Writing. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. , pp.289-302 [Details]
Brannigan, J (2017) ''Felt Routes': Louis MacNeice and the North-East Atlantic Archipelago' In: Nicholas Allen, Nick Groom, and Jos Smith (eds). Coastal Works: Cultures of the Atlantic Edge. Oxford: Oxford University Press. , pp.93-110 [Details]
Brannigan, John (2017) 'Twentieth and Twenty-First Century Literature, 1939-2015' In: Paul Poplawski (eds). English Literature in Context, Second Edition. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. [Details]
Brannigan, J (2016) 'The Novel as History' In: Peter Boxall and Bryan Cheyette (eds). The Oxford History of the Novel: British and Irish Fiction since 1940. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press. [Details]
Brannigan, J (2013) ''England am I': Eugenics, Devolution, and Virginia Woolf's Between the Acts' In: Michael Gardiner and Claire Westall (eds). Literature of an Independent England. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave. [Details]
Brannigan, J (2013) 'Between the Islands: Michael McLaverty, Late Modernism, and the Insular Turn' In: Neal Alexander and James Moran (eds). Regional Modernisms. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. [Details]
John Brannigan; (2008) 'The Twentieth Century, 1939-2004' In: John Brannigan; (eds). English Literature in Context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. [Details]
Brannigan, John; (2006) 'Form and Ethics in the Comedies of Brendan Behan' In: Lukchurst, M (eds). A Companion to Modern British and Irish Drama. Oxford: Blackwell. , pp.247-257 [Details]
Brannigan, John; (2005) 'The Small World of Kelly Brown: Home and Dereliction in Union Street' In: Monteith, S., Margaretta Jolly Nahem Yousaf and Ronald Paul (eds). Critical Perspectives on Pat Barker. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press. , pp.3-13 [Details]
Brannigan, John; (2005) 'Northern Irish Fiction: Provisionals and Pataphysicians' In: English, J (eds). A Concise Companion to Contemporary British Fiction. Oxford: Blackwell. , pp.141-163 [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2003) 'No Home of One's Own: Elizabeth Taylor's At Mrs Lippincote's'' In: Jane Dowson (eds). Women¿s Writing 1945-1960: After the Deluge. *: Palgrave. , pp.73-84 [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2003) 'The Battle for the GPO: Literary Revisionism in Roddy Doyles A Star Called Henry and Jamie ONeills At Swim, Two Boys, ' In: ed. Munira H. Mutran and Laura P.Z. Izarra (Sao Paulo: Universidade de Sao Paulo, 2003) (eds). Kaleidoscopic Views of Ireland. , pp.115-132 [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2002) 'History and the Hauntological Imagination in Pat Barkers Regeneration Trilogy' In: ed. Rod Mengham, Philip Tew and Richard J. Lane (forthcoming - Polity Press, 2002: in press) (eds). Contemporary British Fiction. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2001) 'On Englands Doorstep: Colonialism, Nationalism and Carceral Liminality in Brendan Behans Borstal Boy' In: ed. Graeme Harper (Continuum, 2001) (eds). Colonial and Postcolonial Incarceration. , pp.205-222 [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2001) 'New Historicism: an introduction and Cultural Materialism: an introduction' In: ed. Julian Wolfreys (Edinburgh University Press, 2001), 169-84; 185-99 (eds). Introducing Literary Theories: A Guide and Glossary. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. , pp.169-184 [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1999) 'New Historicism, an introduction' In: Julian Wolfreys (eds). Literary Theories: A Reader. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. , pp.417-427 [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1999) ''We have Nothing to do with Literature': Jacques Derrida and Surrealist Writing' In: John Brannigan, Ruth Robbins and Julian Wolfreys (eds). The French Connections of Jacques Derrida. *: SUNY. , pp.53-70 [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1998) 'Joyce will Attend: The Joyce Tour of Postwar Literature' In: John Brannigan, Geoff Ward and Julian Wolfreys (eds). Re: Joyce - Text, Culture, Politics. *: Macmillan. , pp.197-210 [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1996) 'Writing Determination: Jacques Derrida and Reading Death in(to) Irish National Identity' In: John Brannigan, Ruth Robbins and Julian Wolfreys (eds). Applying: To Derrida. *: Macmillan. , pp.55-70 [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1996) 'Power and its Representation: A New Historicist Reading of Richard Jefferies' 'Snowed Up'' In: William Baker and Julian Wolfreys (eds). Literary Theories: A Case Study in Critical Performance. *: Macmillan. , pp.157-176 [Details]

Edited Books

John Brannigan, Ruth Robbins, Julian Wolfreys (Ed.). (1999) The French Connections of Jacques Derrida. New York: SUNY. [Details]
John Brannigan, Geoff Ward, Julian Wolfreys (Ed.). (1998) Re: Joyce - Text, Culture, Politics. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan. [Details]
John Brannigan, Ruth Robbins, Julian Wolfreys (Ed.). (1996) Applying: To Derrida. Basingstoke, UK: Macmillan. [Details]

Peer Reviewed Journals

Brannigan, John (2017) ''On a wet rock in the Atlantic': J.M.Synge and Ethnographies of the Irish Revival'. Modernism/Modernity, 24 (2):329-348. [Details]
Brannigan, J (2014) ''for the readies': Brendan Behan, Crime Fiction, and the Dublin Underworld'. Eire-Ireland, 49 (1/2):92-105. [Details]
John Brannigan; (2008) ''Ireland, and black!': Minstrelsy, Racism and Black Cultural Production in 1970s Ireland'. Textual Practice, 22 (2):229-248. [Details]
Brannigan, John; (2005) 'An Interview with Pat Barker'. Contemporary Literature, 46 (3):367-392. [Details]
Brannigan, John; (2004) 'Race, Cosmopolitanism, and Modernity: Irish Writing and Culture in the Late Nineteen Fifties'. Irish University Review, 34 (2):332-350. [Details]
Brannigan, John; (2003) 'Deconstruction, Politics and the Exile: Reading Julian Wolfreys' 'Eternity and a Day''. Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, 4 (2):110-119. [Details]
Brannigan, John; (2003) 'In Pursuit of the English: Postcolonial Writers in England, 1945-1965'. New Literatures Review, 39 :61-74. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2002) 'Belated Behan: Brendan Behan and the Cultural Politics of Memory'. Eire-Ireland, 37 (3-4):39-52. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2001) 'The Storyteller: Narrative Authority and Cultural Nationalism in Brendan Behans Short Fiction'. Jnt: Journal of Narrative Theory, 31 (3):283-298. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2000) 'The Regions Caesar Never Knew: Cultural Nationalism and the Caribbean Literary Renaissance in England'. Jouvert, 5 (1). [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (2000) 'A Literature of Farewell? The Condition of England in Contemporary Literature'. Interdisciplinary Literary Studies, 2 (1):87-100. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1998) ''A Particular Vice of That People': Giraldus Cambrensis and the Discourse of English Colonialism'. Irish Studies Review, 6 (2):121-130. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1996) ''Historically Informed and Obscene': Brendan Behan and the Politics of Comedy'. Imprimatur, 2 (1):37-42. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1996) 'An Historical Accident: National Identity in the Writings of Brendan Behan'. Irish Studies Review, 13 :26-29. [Details]
Brannigan, J.; (1995) ''And may there be no moaning of the bar': Cultural Materialism and Reading Dissidence in Tennyson'. Imprimatur, 1 (1):3-10. [Details]

Other Journals

Brannigan, John (2016) 'Leaves' Archipelago 11 :104-114. [Details]


Brannigan, J,Barker, P; (2005) An interview with Pat Barker. Editorial [Details]

Electronic Publication

Nicholas Allen, Claire Connolly, Fiona Stafford, Nick Groom, Damian Walford Davies, Andrew Gibson, Jody Allen Randolph, Colin Graham (2013) The Literatures and Cultures of the Irish Sea. Electronic Publication [Details]
Brannigan, J., Connolly, C., Entwistle, A., Gardiner, M., Groom, N., Longley, E., Mackay, P., Wolfreys, J.; (2011) Reconceiving the British Isles: The Literature of the Archipelago. Dublin: Electronic Publication Available Online [Details]


John Brannigan (ed). (2014) The Irish Sea: History, Culture Environment. Other Available Online [Details]
Brannigan, J (ed.) (2015) Women and the Sea: Culture, History, Industry, Science. Other Available Online [Details]


Research Interests

I'm a literary and cultural historian, with particular interests in twentieth-century Irish, English, Scottish, and Welsh literatures, and especially in how literature relates to history, geography, and social and cultural identities. For me, literature is a primary resource for exploring problems of representation, such as how we make narratives of difficult and traumatic historical experiences, and how we construct social identities (such as race, gender, class, nation, or sexuality) to distinguish groups of people. Literature has very particular and complex relationships with such problems, as an imaginative, formal mode of representation. My current research analyses archipelagic and maritime conceptions of the islands collectively and historically (although problematically) called 'the British Isles'. In the twentieth century, I believe, many Irish, English, Scottish, and Welsh writers have sought to re-imagine the relationships between the peoples of these islands, and much of their work has been pre-occupied with the material and symbolic meanings of islandness, borders, and coastlines. 

Research Projects

Sponsor : Irish Research Council (IRC)
Title : The Cultural Value of Coastlines: Assessing the Cultural Influences and Impacts of Ecosystem Change on the Irish Sea Coasts
Start Date / End Date : 19-DEC-16 / 18-DEC-18
Sponsor : Enterprise Ireland (EI)
Title : SEASIDE: Assessing the Cultural Value of European Marine and Coastal Environments
Start Date / End Date : 24-JUN-16 / 23-MAR-17
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Ireland and the Atlantic Archipelago
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAY-13 / 31-OCT-14
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : The Literatures and Cultures of the Irish Sea
Start Date / End Date : 01-MAY-12 / 31-OCT-13
Sponsor : University College Dublin (UCD)
Title : Reconceiving the British Isles
Start Date / End Date : 03-AUG-09 / 31-JAN-11

Recent Postgraduates


Brian Thomson, 'Graham Greene and the Politics of Popular Fiction and Film', PhD (November 2005)


Eamonn Dunne, 'Acts of Reading: J. Hillis Miller', PhD (February 2008)


Stanley Van Der Ziel, 'Medusa's Mirror: Art, Style, Vision and Tradition in the Fiction of John McGahern', PhD (January 2009)


Adam Kelly, 'Moments of Decision in Contemporary American Fiction', PhD (November 2010)


Jana Fischerova, 'Literary Censorship in Independent Ireland and Communist Czechoslovakia', PhD (January 2011)


James Corr, 'An Attack of Spectacle, a Crisis of Suffering: L'Ecriture Feminine and the Witch in Modern Literature and Film', PhD (April 2011)


Muireann Leech, 'Critiquing Culture Through the Male Autobiographical Voice: A Case Study of Four Intermodernist Authors', PhD (November 2012)

Nessa Collinge-O'Connor, 'Narrative Ethics in Contemporary English Fiction', PhD (August 2013)



Teaching Philosophy

My teaching is based on the principle that the classroom is a valuable space for generating knowledge, and that sharing with others what we have learned from reading has the potential to achieve higher goals than we could reach alone.

Innovation & Leadership

I co-ordinated the graduate programmes of the School of English, Drama and Film for seven years, as well as co-ordinating the modules most explicitly concerned with training students in literary and critical methodologies, ENG20400 Critical Theory, and ENG40330/40760 Literary Research Methods, for five years. Currently I co-ordinate the core first year module, Literature in Context 2, which trains around five hundred students each year in key disciplinary skills of interpretative and contextual analysis.