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Posted 30 March 2009

Professor Harry White awarded prestigious Michael J Durkan Book Prize

The American Conference for Irish Studies has awarded the Michael J Durkan Book Prize to UCD School of Music Professor, Harry White for Music and the Irish Literary Imagination (Oxford, 2008).

This is the tenth year of the Durkan prize for outstanding academic studies of Irish language and culture. “In the year of a record number of entries for the Michael J. Durkan Book Prize, many of them truly deserving of recognition, the selection committee unanimously chose Harry White's as the winner of this year¹s competition.” Said Dean Joan FitzPatrick, chair of prize committee.

“White's is a fresh and innovative approach to Irish music, literature, theatre, and culture that employs a meticulous scholarship to create an impressive overview of modern Irish literature. Music and the Irish Literary Imagination offers readers unparalleled breadth and scope in a beautifully conceived, organized, and written analysis of Moore, Yeats, Shaw, Synge, Joyce, Beckett, Friel, and Heaney--all major figures linked by the powerful fusion of words and music.

The ACIS is happy to honour a work that exemplifies Michael J Durkan's interest in culture, the arts, and Irish studies by crossing disciplinary boundaries in a ground-breaking study.” Added Dean FitzPatrick, on behalf of the committee.

Music and the Irish Literary Imagination looks at the extent to which literature has taken the place of music in the emancipation of an art form answerable to Ireland’s sense of itself. The book is an attempt to examine the validity of that second question. It proposes, that the quest for the Irish Omphalos entails a consideration of music not simply as a striking absence but as a vital presence in the Literary Revival and in contemporary Irish literature. It rests on the premise that music is the ‘sovereign ghost’ of the Irish literary imagination.

The award will be presented at the annual ACIS conference this June in Galway.

Harry White has been Professor of Music at University College Dublin since 1993.

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