Irish author, critic and commentator Declan Kiberd to give Oct. 29 lecture, receive honorary degree from University of St. Thomas
Irish author, critic and commentator Declan Kiberd will give a free public lecture, "What is My Nation? An Irish View of Politics and Literature," at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, in the auditorium of O’Shaughnessy Educational Center on the university’s St. Paul campus.
Prior to the address, the university will present an honorary doctor of humane letters degree to Kiberd in recognition of his distinguished achievements in scholarship and teaching.
The event, sponsored by St. Thomas’ Center for Irish Studies, is the university’s Daniel W. Hardy Memorial Lecture, named in memory of a longtime benefactor of the center who died in May. Hardy, of St. Paul, was a 1974 St. Thomas alumnus.
Kiberd, 57, of Dublin, is chair of Anglo-Irish literature and drama at University College Dublin, where he has taught since 1979, after earlier appointments at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Kent. Kiberd earned his doctorate at Oxford under the direction of prominent American literary critic and scholar Richard Ellmann, whose 1957 biography of James Joyce won the 1960 National Book Award.
Kiberd is best known for his book, Inventing Ireland (1995), which offers a postcolonial interpretation of Anglo-Irish literature and culture. Kiberd argues that the British Empire essentially "invented" an idea of Ireland that served its colonial project, and that subsequent Irish writing is largely a response to that idea.
Other notable books by Kiberd are Synge and Anglo-Irish Literature (1979), Irish Classics (2000) and The Irish Writer and the World (2005).
Generally considered Ireland’s foremost public intellectual, Kiberd frequently writes columns and reviews in the Irish Times and other national newspapers, The Times Literary Supplement and The New York Times. He also is a frequent commentator on public and cultural affairs for RTÉ, the Irish national broadcasting service. Kiberd has been a visiting lecturer in more than 30 countries and was elected in 2003 to the Royal Irish Academy for the sciences, humanities and social sciences. He is a past director of the Yeats International Summer School, chaired the Irish Commission on Libraries and is a member of the forum on the future of Broadcasting and the Irish Manuscripts Commission.