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Professor. Brian Caraher - Queen's University Belfast Research Portal - Research Directory & Institutional Repository for QUB
Brian Caraher

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Professor Brian Caraher has held the Chair of English Literature at Queen's University Belfast since 1993 and is currently Research Director of the Modern Literary Studies research cluster in the School of English. He was the School's first and only Head of Graduate Teaching and Research (1996-2005) and lead the massive expansion of taught postgraduate programmes, doctoral research, postgraduate funding and international recognition for taught literary research methodology which occured over the nine-and-a-half-year period while he chaired the School's Graduate and Research Committee (GRC). He has held fulltime lectureships at Eastern Illinois University (1980-82) and Indiana University at Bloomington (1982-93) in the USA, as well as funded postdoctoral research fellowships at Northwestern University (School of Criticism and Theory, 1981), Vanderbilt University (Mellon Regional Programme, 1984) and Aarhus University, Denmark (Danish Research Academy & Fulbright Commission, 1992-93). He has taught and lectured in Denmark, England, Greece, Italy and the Republic of Ireland as well as the USA and Northern Ireland. Brian Caraher was educated in Indiana (Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School & Wabash College) and New York (MA & PhD, University of Buffalo/ State University of New York).

Brian Caraher's RAE 2008 publications are drawn from a substantial host of outputs and underscore his ongoing contributions to Joyce Studies, literary theory, genre theory, theories of literary reading and cultural politics. They feature: [1] "A 'ruin of all space, shattered glass and toppling masonry': Joyce's Orientalism in the Context of 11 September 2001 and 1922," TEXTUAL PRACTICE 18.4 (2004): 497-520 -- an article reprinted with some expansion and bibliographic updating in JOYCE IN TRIESTE: AN ALBUM OF RISKY READINGS (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007); [2] "Trieste, Dublin, Galway: Joyce, Journalism, 1912," in Anne Fogarty and Timothy Martin, eds., JOYCE ON THE THRESHOLD (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2005), pp. 132-50; [3] "Protocols of Reading ULYSSES," in John Nash, ed., JOYCE'S AUDIENCES (Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi, 2002), pp. 153-77 [Note: European Joyce Studies, Volume 14]; and [4] Brian Caraher and Robert Mahony, eds., IRELAND AND TRANSATLANTIC POETICS (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2007; London: Associated University Presses, 2007), 247 pp. Additional work on Joyce has appeared in JAMES JOYCE QUARTERLY and THE IRISH REVIEW, and an essay on Joyce's cultural politics entitled "Irish and European Politics: Nationalism, Socialism, Empire" is due out in 2008 in JOYCE IN CONTEXT, edited by John McCourt and published by Cambridge UP.


Keynote Addresses, Plenary Addresses & Panels [A], and Invited Lectures [B]:


Invited Major Lecture: "'Well, I follow a literary occupation, author-journalist': Joyce as Irish-Italian Journalist,"

Tenth Annual Trieste Joyce School, University of Trieste, 28 June 2006

Keynote Address, "Shakespeare, Reading, and the Deformation of Genre," Recovering Reading,

Faculty of Humanities, Queen's University Belfast, 14 April 2004

Invited Plenary Panel, "Irish Studies: Interdisciplinary, Interregional, Intertextual," Ireland: Space, Text, Time,

Academy for Irish Cultural Heritages, Magee Campus, University of Ulster, Derry, 26 March 2004

Invited Plenary Panel, "Ideas and Texts: Two Different Lines of Aesthetic Inquiry," Sixth ESSE

(European Society for the Study of English) Conference, University of Strasbourg,

Strasbourg, France, 2 September 2002

("Genre Theory: A Sociolinguistic Approach to the Aesthetics of Literary Form")

Special Plenary Panel, "Inter-Medeas," 26th Annual Conference, International Association

for Philosophy and Literature (IAPL), Rotterdam, Netherlands, June 2002

(‘Tragedy, Euripides, Melodrama')

Keynote Address, 21 September 1995, Conference on ‘Image into Text: Text into Image',

St Patrick's College, Maynooth, Ireland, 21-23 September 1995

(‘Appropriations & Restitutions: Van Gogh's Images & Texts of Heidegger, Schapiro & Derrida')

Special Plenary Address, Annual Meeting of National Council of Teachers of English,

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA, November 1993

(‘Wordsworth, Dewey and the Democracy of Response')

Keynote Address, American Studies Conference, US Embassy & Copenhagen

District Educational Board, Copenhagen, Denmark, September 1992

(‘Engendering Baseball')


Institute of Irish Studies, Queen's University Belfast, "Senses of Irishness,"

Seminar Programme, Autumn 2003

("'Combarative embattled history' or Drumming before the Twelfth:

Comparative Senses of Irishness in Finnegans Wake")

Citation, Professor Denis Donoghue, Honorary Graduand, QUB, 30 June 2003

Institute of English Studies, "Joyce, Britain and Ireland," Senate House, University of London,

London, 16 November 2002

("The ‘four maaster waves of Erin' at Bognor, 1923: Retelling Tales of These Isles")

Institute of English Studies, "Joyce: ‘Scylla and Charybdis'," Senate House, University of London,

London, 12 November 1999

(‘"Scylla and Charybdis": The Drama of Self and the Dialectics of Otherness')

Division on Methods of Literary Research, Modern Language Association, Toronto,

113th Annual Meeting of the MLA, 28 December 1997

(‘Teaching Research Methods at Queen's University of Belfast')

10th Annual James Joyce Summer School, Newman House, Dublin, 17 July 1997

(‘The Social Languages of an Irish Homestead: Historicising Readings of "Eveline"')

Inaugural Lecture, Queen's University of Belfast, 16 March 1995

(‘Pepper, Popper, Bloom and Joyce: Reading and Evidence in Literary Studies')

Seminar in Critical History, Institute for Literary History, Aarhus University, Aarhus,

Denmark, March 1993 ("Longinus')

Literary History Seminar, Conference Center, Sandbjerg, Denmark, February 1993

("Structural Changes in Institutes of Literary Studies: The Case of Indiana University")

English Society, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, February 1993

("Fin-de-siecle Dracula: Stoker and Coppola; Melodramas of Decadence, Allegories of Politics")

Colloquium, English Institute, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark, December 1992

("Nation & Narration: The Case of Joyce's 'Grace'")

Department of English Lecture Series, Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin,

October 1989 (‘The Joyce of Reading')

Romantic Revolutions, International Conference, "William Wordsworth and the Age

of English Romanticism," Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, March 1988

("On Eloquence and Scenic Logic: A Response to Charles Altieri")

Law and the Arts: An Interdisciplinary Conference, Indiana University, School of Law,

Bloomington, Indiana, September 1986

("Hermeneutics, Deconstruction and Legal Theory: Some Opening Observations")

Butler Chair Lecture, Department of English, SUNY, Buffalo, April 1985

(‘Gender and Reading')

Indiana University Sociolinguistics Colloquium, Bloomington, Indiana, March 1985

("Clustering Gender Differences in Reading: An Exploration in Methodological and

Conceptual Development")

100th Annual Meeting, Modern Language Association, Washington, D.C., December 1984

("Response to Karlis Racevskis and Ellen Rooney")

Patten Foundation and Institute for Advanced Study, Lilly Library, Indiana University,

October 1984 (‘Remarks on Ralph Cohen and Literary Change')

College Lecture Series, Wabash College, Crawfordsville, Indiana, September 1982

(‘A Question of Culture: John Dewey & the Intersections of Literary & Social Study')

School of Philosophy, Visiting Lecturer Series, University of Thessaloniki, Greece,

January 1978 (‘Metaphor as Contradiction')


In December 2005 Brian Caraher helped uncover a major literary archive, now acquired by Special Collections of the Main Library, Queen's University Belfast, and called The Forrest Reid / Stephen Gilbert Archive. The acquisition was formally launched on 18 September 2007 to considerable local and national coverage and was enabled by a substantial competitive award from the National Heritage Lottery Fund (NHLF) on 28 February 2007 and by five corporate and private donors. A research grant from the British Academy in July 2008 enabled the production of a state-of-the-art descriptive catalogue of the 221 letters of E M Forster to Forrest Reid and Stephen Gilbert over the period 1912 to 1947. Caraher and postdoctoral fellow Dr Emma Hegarty produced the catalogue (available soon on-line, as well as in printed form) and have co-authored an 8000-word article that describes the provenance and implications of these massively important new materials. Caraher is also coordinating an application to the AHRC for a funded three-year project to continue work on these materials. The new archive offers an enormous range of future doctoral and postdoctoral research projects.

Research Statement

I regard my teaching and research as fundamentally integrated. I develop ideas, readings, interpretive models and test and challenge hypotheses by teaching and through interacting with students, undergraduate as well as taught and research postgraduates. Conference papers, invited lectures and publications typically flow out of such sustained pedagogical and critical interactions. My teaching and research dwell primarily on literary theory and modern literature, especially poetry, poetics and the cultural politics and literary pragmatics of modernist and postmodernist authors. I have published widely on modern literature, including work on William Wordsworth, Maria Edgeworth, Edmund Burke, James Joyce, W B Yeats, Ezra Pound, Sylvia Plath, Robert Creeley, Umberto Eco, Salman Rushdie and other writers.

I have authored substantial bodies of work on Wordsworth, Joyce, theories of literary reading, literary pragmatics and cultural politics. I have also edited ON CONTRADICTION and SHAKESPEARE AND ICONOCLASM (both with Irving Massey), EMPIRICISM AND HERMENUETICS (with David Bleich, as a special double-issue of POETICS), INTIMATE CONFLICT: CONTRADICTION IN LITERARY AND PHILOSOPHICAL DISCOURSE and most recently IRELAND AND TRANSATLANTIC POETICS (with Robert Mahony). I'm preparing an edited collection of essays from the April 2007 Royal Irish Academy conference on 'Edmund Burke and Irish Literary Criticism, 1757 to 2007,' as well as steering a book entitled TRESPASSING TRAGEDY through a very belated production schedule.


Brian Caraher teaches modern literature and the history and philosophy of literary criticism and theory. Teaching interests span the latter half of the 18th Century through contemporary literature, as well as the development of western or Eurocentric literary and cultural criticism from classical antiquity through contemporary configurations. Popular third-year undergraduate options include "Critical History: Reading the Classics of Literary Criticism" and "Critical Fictions," a module that examines modern and contemporary cross-pollenations of fictional narrative and critical theory. Popular taught Masters modules include the highly commended modules in postgraduate "Research Methods" and "Modernity and Its Discontents" as well as the elective modules in "Modernisms and the Postmodern in Twentieth Century Anglophone Poetry" and "Joyce: Social Joyce, Cultural Politics and Literary Pragmatics."

Professor Caraher has supervised fourteen doctoral students through to completion at Indiana University and Queen's University Belfast, with the great majority of these candidates eventually publishing their doctoral theses with commercial publishers or university presses such as Ashgate, Bucknell UP, Oxford UP, U Pennsylvania Press, Routledge or with theses currently under review with university presses such as Cambridge and Manchester. He is currently supervising or jointly supervising ten doctoral candidates on various projects in modern Anglophone literature, poetics and literary theory. All but one of his doctoral supervisees are employed fulltime in university-level academic or academic-related posts in the UK, the USA, the Republic of Ireland, Lebanon and Syria.

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