26th April, 6 p.m.
UCD Arts and Humanities Annual College Lecture
Professor Isabelle Torrance, Aarhus University, Denmark.
‘Classical Culture and Irish Identities: Diachronic and Polyphonic Perspectives’
Theatre P, Newman Building
This is the annual College lecture: each year it is hosted by a different school, and this year it was the
School of Classics which invited the speaker, Professor Isabelle Torrance, principal investigator of a
major European Research Council project on the reception of Classics in Ireland from the medieval
period to the present. The following is a summary of the talk:
It was in the shadow of war, both at home and abroad, that James Joyce, himself displaced across Europe by
WWI, penned and published Ulysses one hundred years ago. Often hailed as Ireland’s national epic, the same
age as the Free State, Ulysses is a masterpiece of polyphony. Through a myriad of intertextual constellations,
the novel anchors itself to a classical figure famed for being multifaceted and a classical text which addresses
the aftermath of war, the sufferings of exile, and the experience of migration. Joyce, however, is just one
among a vast array of Irish authors who have referenced and re-written classical literature from the Middle
Ages to the present day. The first Irish Odyssey is not Joyce’s but a Middle Irish folktale. While taking stock of
some of the best-known Irish adaptations of classical literature, this talk will highlight the hybrid or shifting
identities of significant figures, the neglected voices of female authors and Irish-language texts, and the
connections between literature and material culture in order to demonstrate the complex diachronic and
polyphonic manifestations of identity through classical reception in Ireland.
Professor Edith Hall (Durham University)
"Classics and Social Class in Ireland, 1689-1922"
7 April 2022, 7 pm
Location: The Fitzgerald Camber (1st floor of the new Student Centre, University College Dublin)
Reception to follow