studies program a natural for Emory
has long fostered vigorous scholarship in the field of
Irish studies, achieving national and international renown
with its collection of twentieth-century Irish literary
materials and strong faculty.
though, a formal Irish studies program did not existuntil
now. The program was launched last spring and the curriculum
will be completed later this year.
course, Irish studies at Emory is nothing new, says
Geraldine Higgins, associate professor of English and
director of the program. There is a perception that
we have had a program for the last twenty years. But there
was a real confluence of events happening that led us
to forge ahead and put the program togetherexciting
things were going on in the library and among the faculty,
and there was a rising demand from students.
cornerstone of Emorys holdings in Irish studies
was laid in 1979, when noted W. B. Yeats and Oscar Wilde
biographer Richard Ellmann was appointed as the first
Woodruff professor and began to acquire archival materials
of Yeats and Lady Gregory. The collection continued to
build, gaining momentum as its reputation grew. In 2002,
the University acquired the correspondence between Yeats
and his artistic soulmate Maud Gonne. The following year,
a considerable portion of Nobel Prize-winning poet Seamus
Heaneys archive was purchased.
Irish studies program will have a natural anchor in the
English department, where Goodrich C. White Professor
of English Ron Schuchard, co-editor of the Collected
Letters of W. B. Yeats, has played a central role
in promoting Irish studies at Emory. But Higgins hopes
to expand the program dramatically in the coming years
with offerings in performing arts, history, and cultural
studies. Supporting these efforts will be Winship Professor
of the Arts James Flannery, founder of the W. B. Yeats
Foundation of Atlanta, an organization that promotes Irish
are very strong links to Ireland in the Atlanta community,
Higgins says. We will be increasing our programming
to enrich these historical ties, inviting the community
to participate in readings, lectures, concerts, and talks.
also anticipates that students will take advantage of
the relationships that exist between Emory and four Irish
universities by studying abroad in Ireland.
Emorys resources in Irish literature have attracted
top scholars in the field, including two students in the
English graduate program who were drawn by the Seamus
Heaney correspondence acquired last year, according to
already attract scholars because of the amazing holdings
in the library, she says. Thats only
going to increase. People will want to come here because
its the place to study Irish literature and culture.P.P.P.