James Murphy Reading, a Review

By MAE student Jonathan Kittl

On Thursday, February 17, 2011 at the John T. Richardson Library, Professor James H. Murphy presented his newly published book, Irish Novelists & the Victorian Age. Professor Murphy started the evening with a brief explanation concerning his process in constructing this new work. Professor Murphy includes references to well over 200 Irish novelists. During the evening Professor Murphy noted several Victorian Irish authors are frequently passed over in favor of other “big name” writers whose work might be interpreted as relevant to or representative of Ireland. One of the examples he mentioned is the analysis of the supposed Irish ancestry of Heathcliff in Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights. Rather than stretch the material, Professor Murphy seeks to incorporate the voices of the authors—such as Maria Edgeworth, Lady Morgan, and Rosa Mullholland—who were right in the middle of Ireland’s political, economical, and social issues.

Professor Murphy read specific passages from his novel so as to give a good cross-section of the various topics about which Victorian Irish authors wrote. Covered were William Carleton and Charles Lever concerning the topics of land and economics, and he also focused on Emily Lawless regarding feminism and realism.

When finished sharing his work, Professor Murphy took questions from the audience of approximately fifty people in the John T. Richardson Library Rosati Room on DePaul’s Lincoln Park Campus. Several of these questions took a challenging tone, similar to those asked of a doctoral student during a dissertation defense. During this question and answer session, which accounted for over half of the program, Professor Murphy confidently and graciously answered each question with precise, detailed information.

DePaul’s English Department was well represented by its faculty and students. Several members from the community and other DePaul University Departments were also in attendance.

Irish Novelists & the Victorian Age can be purchased—as Professor Murphy even noted—at the lofty price of $110.00 on Amazon. Currently the book is only available in Europe, but the hardcover edition will be available in the United States on March 25, 2011.

Interested in attending other events at DePaul? Here are some upcoming author readings:

On Wednesday, February 23, 2011 Poet Jack Ridl will read from his recent work. 6 pm, Rosati Room, 300 John T. Richardson Library, DePaul University, Lincoln Park Campus

On Thursday, February 24, 2011 Novelist and editor Peter Orner will read from his recent book and answer questions from the audience. 6 pm, Dorothy Day Room, 400 John T. Richardson Library, DePaul University, Lincoln Park Campus


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