Launch: Law and Literature Book Launches

Royal Irish Academy, Dawson Street, Dublin

5.30pm, Tuesday November 8, 2022

Adam Hanna & Eugene McNulty, eds, Law and Literature: The Irish Case (Liverpool University Press, 2022)

Adam Hanna, Poetry, Politics and the Law in Modern Ireland (Syracuse University Press, 2022)

Poetry, Politics, and the Law in Modern Ireland is a richly detailed exploration of how modern Irish poetry has been shaped by, and responded to, the laws, judgments, and constitutions of both of the island’s jurisdictions. Focusing on poets’ responses in their writing to such contentious legal issues as partition, censorship, paramilitarism, and the curtailment of women’s reproductive and other rights, this monograph is the first in the growing field of law and literature to focus exclusively on modern Ireland. Hanna unpacks the legal engagements of both major and non-canonical poets from every decade between the 1920s and the present day, including Rhoda Coghill, Austin Clarke, Paul Durcan, Elaine Feeney, Miriam Gamble, Seamus Heaney, Thomas Kinsella, Paula Meehan, Julie Morrissy, Doireann Ní Ghríofa, and W. B. Yeats. Poetry from the time of independence onward has been shaped by two opposing forces. On the one hand, the Irish public has traditionally had strong expectations that poets offer a dissenting counter-discourse to official sources of law. On the other hand, poets have more recently expressed skepticism about the ethics of speaking for others and about the adequacy of art in performing a public role. Hanna’s fascinating study illuminates the poetry that arises from these antithetical modern conditions.

Law and Literature: The Irish Case is a collection of fascinating essays by literary and legal scholars which explore the intersections between law and literature in Ireland from the eighteenth century to the present day. Sharing a concern for the cultural life of law and the legal life of culture, the contributors shine a light on the ways in which the legal and the literary have spoken to each other, of each other, and, at times, for each other, on the island of Ireland in the last three centuries. Several of the chapters discuss how texts and writers have found their ways into the law’s chambers and contributed to the development of jurisprudence. The essays in the collection also reveal the juridical and jurisprudential forces that have shaped the production and reception of Irish literary culture, revealing the law’s popular reception and its extra-legal afterlives.
List of contributors: Rebecca Anne Barr, Max Barrett, Noreen Doody, Katherine Ebury, Adam Gearey, Tom Hickey, James Kelly, Colum Kenny, David Kenny, Heather Laird, Julie Morrissy, Gearóid O’Flaherty, Virginie Roche-Tiengo, Barry Sheils.

About the Editors: Adam Hanna is Lecturer in Irish Literature in the Department of English at University College Cork. Eugene McNulty is Professor of English at Dublin City University.


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