The School of Culture and Communication recently celebrated the launch of two new monographs by faculty in English: Jane Austen and Performance by Marina Cano and Ghost Writing in Contemporary American Fiction by David Coughlan, both published by Palgrave Macmillan. The books were launched by Dr Michael Griffin of UL and Prof. Graham Allen of UCC, respectively.

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Dr Cano’s book is the first exploration of the performative and theatrical force of Austen’s work and its afterlife, from the nineteenth century to the present. It unearths new and little-known Austen materials (such as suffragette novels and school and amateur theatricals) and concludes with an examination of Austen fandom based on an online survey conducted by the author. Dr Griffin praised the ambitious scope of the study, in which each chapter teaches us something new about Austen’s legacy. In her own comments, Dr Cano drew attention to Austen’s romance with Limerick-born Tom Lefroy, who later became Lord Chief Justice of Ireland. This connection, Dr Cano noted, made UL a fitting place for the launch of Jane Austen and Performance.

Dr Coughlan’s book is about the appearance of the spectre in American twentieth and twenty-first-century fiction. Its innovative structure has chapters on the work of five major US authors—Paul Auster, Don DeLillo, Toni Morrison, Marilynne Robinson, and Philip Roth—alternating with shorter sections detailing the significance of the ghost in the philosophy of Jacques Derrida. Prof. Allen welcomed its wonderful close readings of the primary texts and, reading an excerpt from the book, commented that its author emerged as another ghost writer in the text, shadowing his studied novelists.

The launch was preceded by a poetry recital by Prof. Allen, reading from his two collections, The One That Got Away and The Madhouse System. The events were supported by the School of Culture and Communication, and both authors were delighted and honoured that so many colleagues and family members attended the launch and made it such an enjoyable occasion.

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