Professor Emeritus of English and History at Southern Illinois University Charles Fanning will give a lecture in the 2014-15 Fund for Irish Studies series at Princeton University entitled, “Banish the Bushwah! Why We Ought to Read James T. Farrell,” on Friday, November 14 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ’32 Theater, 185 Nassau Street. The event is free and open to the public.
Charles Fanning, a joint appointee in English and History at Southern Illinois University, earned his Ph.D. in American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania in 1972. His research combines intellectual and literary history, especially related to Irish-American immigrants. Among his 12 books is Finley Peter Dunne and Mr. Dooley: The Chicago Years (1978), which won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award of the Organization of American Historians. Professor Fanning was named Southern Illinois University Outstanding Scholar in 2004.
James T. Farrell (1904-1979), the subject of Fanning’s talk, was a socially engaged writer who penned one of the classics of American fiction, the “Studs Lonigan” trilogy. Born into a working-class Irish-American Catholic family in Chicago, Farrell drew upon his background to write novels and short stories about the Irish community on the South Side of Chicago. He is noted as an influence on the work of Norman Mailer. Farrell’s most famous character, the Irish-American streetwise Studs Lonigan, shared many of his creator’s own life experiences. The trilogy was made into a film in 1960 and an Emmy Award-winning television miniseries in 1979.