Book Launch: Touchstones: John McGahern’s Classical Style

Frank Shovlin’s Touchstones: John McGahern’s Classical Style, published by Liverpool University Press, will be launched in the Moore Institute, NUIG on 2 February 2017 at 5.30 pm.


Touchstones examines the ways in which John McGahern became a writer through his reading. This reading, it is shown, was both extensive and intensive, and tended towards immersion in the classics. As such, new insights are provided into McGahern’s admiration and use of writers as diverse as Dante Alighieri, William Blake, James Joyce, Albert Camus and several others. Evidence for these claims is found both through close reading of McGahern’s published texts as well as unprecedented sleuthing in his extensive archive of papers held at the National University of Ireland, Galway. The ultimate intention of the book is to draw attention to the very literary and writerly nature of McGahern as an artist, and to place him, not just as a great Irish writer, but as part of a long and venerable European tradition.

Touchstones: John McGahern’s Classical Style