Irish Studies Würzburg

J. M. Synge Lecture: Prof. Anne Fogarty (University College Dublin), "Inventing Modernism: Synge, Joyce and Ibsen"

Datum: 16.04.2024, 18:00 - 20:00 Uhr
Ort: online
Vortragende: Prof. Anne Fogarty

Synge, Joyce and Ibsen in varying ways instigate literary modernism. But the Irish writers take up seemingly opposing stances on Ibsen, an essential predecessor. Where Joyce enthusiastically embraces him, learning Norwegian as a student and publishing a precocious review of When We Dead Awaken in 1900, Synge prominently distances himself in the Preface to The Playboy of the Western World in 1907 from his “joyless and pallid words”. This lecture will explore their varying relations to Ibsen and the points of contact between their work and his. It will be argued that their polemical positions on Ibsen mask ongoing debates in their writing on the nature of the modern Irish play and its political and literary underpinnings, the symbolic function of women in modernity, and the shaping role of the European in Irish identity. Where Synge’s plays subsume aspects of Ibsen’s themes and motifs, they also reveal a constellation of influences from other avant-garde European playwrights, especially Maurice Maeterlinck. By contrast, Joyce’s sole play, Exiles (1918), even though it may be read as a homage to Ibsen, seeks to deconstruct and move beyond his themes and influence.  

Anne Fogarty is Professor Emerita of James Joyce Studies at University College Dublin. She was Associate Director of the Yeats International Summer School 1995-7 and Director of the Dublin James Joyce Summer School 2017-2023.  She was editor of the Irish University Review 2002-2009 and is co-editor with Luca Crispi of the Dublin James Joyce Journal.  Currently, she is editor for the Irish Writers series for Bucknell University Press. She has co-edited several collections of essays on Joyce and recently co-edited  with Marisol Morales-Ladrón, Deirdre Madden: New Critical Perspectives (2022) and with Tina O’Toole, Reading Gender and Space (2023). She has published widely on aspects of twentieth- and twenty-first century Irish writing, especially on the Revival period and on women authors. Her new edition of Dubliners is forthcoming from Penguin in 2024 as is a collection co-edited with Eugene O’Brien, The Routledge Companion to Twenty-First Century Irish Writing.



If you are interested in participating in this online event, please sign up by sending an email with the subject line “SYNGE” to  by April 15, 2024. Please include your full name and affiliation. Online participants will receive a zoom link to the event in due time. Please note that the above given email address is used solely for registration purposes. If you want to contact ISWÜ, please use the contact information given below.


Irish Studies Würzburg (ISWÜ)
Prof. Dr. Ina Bergmann & Prof. Dr. Maria Eisenmann

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