Bridget English - "Laying Out the Bones: Death and Dying in the Modern Irish Novel" - Thomas Lynch

Thursday, November 30, 2017 - 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Event Presenter/Author: 
Bridget English & Thomas Lynch

Bridget English discusses Laying Out the Bones: Death and Dying in the Modern Irish Novel. She will be joined in conversation by Thomas Lynch.

At 57th Street Books

RSVP HERE (Please note that your RSVP is requested, not required)

About the book: English sheds new light on death and dying in twentieth– and twenty–firstcentury Irish literature as she examines the ways that Irish wake and funeral rituals shape novelistic discourse. She argues that the treatment of death in Irish novels offers a way of making sense of mortality and provides insight into Ireland’s cultural and historical experience of death. Combining key concepts from narrative theory—such as readers’ competing desires for a story and for closure—with Irish cultural analyses and literary criticism, English performs astute close readings of death in select novels by Joyce, Beckett, Kate O’Brien, John McGahern, and Anne Enright. With each chapter, she demonstrates how novelistic narrative serves as a way of mediating between the physical facts of death and its lasting impact on the living. English suggests that while Catholic conceptions of death have always been challenged by alternative secular value systems, these systems have also struggled to find meaningful alternatives to the consolation offered by religious conceptions of the afterlife.

About the author: Dr. Bridget English holds a PhD in English from Maynooth University in County Kildare, Ireland. Her research interests lie in modern and contemporary Irish fiction and culture, theories of the novel, death studies, modernism, and the medical humanities. She has taught a variety of writing and literature courses at Maynooth University, Brooklyn College of the City University of New York, and is currently teaching in the First Year Writing program at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

About the interlocutor: Thomas Lynch is the author of five collections of poems, four books of non- fiction and a book of stories, Apparition & Late Fictions. The Undertaking won the American Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Award. His work has appeared in The Atlantic and Granta, The New Yorker and Esquire, Poetry and The Paris Review, also The Times (of New York, Los Angelus, London and Ireland) and has been the subject of two documentary films, Learning Gravity by Cathal Black and PBS Frontline’s The Undertaking. He has taught at Wayne State University’s School of Mortuary Science, University of Michigan’s Graduate Program in Creative Writing and the Candler School of Theology at Emory University. He keeps homes in Michigan and Moveen, West Clare.

Event Location: 
57th Street Books
1301 E 57th St.
Chicago, IL 60637