Spotlight on Irish Studies: Dr. Terence Brown, Burns Library Visiting Scholar

Dr. Terence Brown is the Burns Library's Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies for Spring 2014.

Dr. Terence Brown is the Burns Library’s Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies for Spring 2014.

Terence Brown is a distinguished scholar, teacher and literary critic in the area of Anglo-Irish literature. Though born in China his nationality is Irish. He grew up in the north of Ireland and attended the Sullivan Upper School in Holywood, County Down, Magee University College in Derry, and Trinity College, Dublin (T.C.D). His degrees, a B.A. in English Language and Literature and Ph.D., were both earned at Trinity College Dublin.

Dr. Brown was elected to Fellowship at T.C.D. in 1976, appointed Professor of Anglo-Irish Literature at T.C.D. in 1993, and served as Dean of Arts and Humanities from 2005 to 2007. He retired in 2009 and, in addition to being the John J. Burns Library Visiting Scholar for this semester, is currently Fellow Emeritus at T.C.D.

Dr. Brown’s research interests and teaching topics are reflected in his book titles and include Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Irish Poetry, Cultural Nationalism, 1880-1930, Creativity and its Contexts, Northern Voices: Poets from Ulster, to name just a few.  An author search of Holmes, the libraries online catalog, using the name, “Terence Brown,” retrieves well more than two dozen titles.

The high regard in which Dr. Brown is held is evident in the book That Island Never Found: Essays and Poems for Terence Brown. Nicholas Allen, Burns Visiting Scholar in the Spring 2011, co-edited this volume.  In the preface to this collection, editors Nicholas Allen and Eve Patten share their description of Brown’s work ethic and impact:

<i>That Island Never Found:  Essays and Poems for Terence Brown</i>, edited by Eve Patten and Nicholas Allen, published by Four Courts Press:  Dublin, 2007.

That Island Never Found: Essays and Poems for Terence Brown, edited by Eve Patten and Nicholas Allen, published by Four Courts Press: Dublin, 2007.

A generosity of the intellect is Brown’s medium, a perspicacity that has translated the image of Ireland and its writers into the world of letters.  With this gift and with his remarkable academic range and rigour, he charted the evolution of the state from its troubled beginnings, providing in his Ireland: A Social and Cultural History (1981), the first port of call for a generation attempting to confront the complexities of modern Irish life.

In addition, Nicholas Allen offered these words on Terence Brown:

Terence Brown is a key figure in the scholarship and debates that have shaped our understanding of modern Ireland.  His cultural history still stands as a gateway towards many of the larger questions that we ask of the humanities, of literature, belief, radicalism and sympathy.  His life of Yeats is typical of his greater body of work, supple, imaginative and deeply read in the archive.  Terence is a presiding, but modest, figure in Irish cultural life and a mentor to generations of students, of which happily I am one.

<i> The Life of W. B. Yeats:  A Critical Biography </i> by Terence Brown, published by Blackwell:  Oxford, 1999.

The Life of W. B. Yeats: A Critical Biography by Terence Brown, published by Blackwell: Oxford, 1999.

During this semester, Dr. Brown is teaching a class titled,  “The Poet and Poetry: Yeats, MacNeice and Heaney at the John J. Burns Library.

Dr. Brown’s research professorships and fellowships include:

  • Visiting Associate Professor of English at University of Vermont, 1975
  • Inaugural Visiting professor of Irish Studies, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 2001
  • Professor Invité, Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, 2003
  • Parnell Visiting Research Fellow, Magdalene College, Cambridge, 2007-2008

Dr. Brown has been an elected member of Academia Europeia and the Royal Irish Academy.  In 2002 he was made an honorary Companion of St. Michael and St. George, New Year’s Honours list for services to Irish/British relations.

About John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College

The University’s special collections, including the University’s Archives, are housed in the Honorable John J. Burns Library, located in the Bapst Library Building, north entrance. Burns Library staff work with students and faculty to support learning and teaching at Boston College, offering access to unique primary sources through instruction sessions, exhibits, and programming. The Burns Library also serves the research needs of external scholars, hosting researchers from around the globe interested in using the collections. The Burns Library is home to more than 200,000 volumes and over 700 manuscript collections, including holdings of music, photographic materials, art and artifacts, and ephemera. Though its collections cover virtually the entire spectrum of human knowledge, the Burns Library has achieved international recognition in several specific areas of research, most notably: Irish studies; British Catholic authors; Jesuitica; Fine printing; Catholic liturgy and life in America, 1925-1975; Boston history; the Caribbean, especially Jamaica; Nursing; and Congressional archives.
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