Irish theater critic and scholar Fintan O’Toole will present the 2017 Robert Fagles Memorial Lecture entitled “If It Wasn’t for the Irish and Jews” on Friday, February 17 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ’32 Theater, 185 Nassau Street. Part of the 2016-17 Fund for Irish Studies series at Princeton University, this event is free and open to the public.
“If It Wasn’t for the Irish and Jews” explores these ethnic groups as two of the world’s greatest diasporic cultures. Their histories have shared themes of dispossession, discrimination and self-assertion. O’Toole considers how the two cultures have interacted, from Tin Pan Alley and Broadway to struggles for religious emancipation, and from James Joyce’s Ulysses to Abie’s Irish Rose.
Fintan O’Toole, one of Ireland’s leading public intellectuals, has written for The Irish Times, New York Daily News, Sunday Tribune (Dublin), and In Dublin Magazine. His books on theater span a wide range of topics, from his biography of Richard Brinsley Sheridan to theater currently appearing on Irish stages. He is the assistant editor, a columnist, and a feature writer for The Irish Times. He also contributes to The New York Review of Books, The New Yorker, Granta, The Guardian, The Observer, and other international publications. In 2011, The Observer named O’Toole one of “Britain’s top 300 intellectuals.” He has received the A.T. Cross Award for Supreme Contribution to Irish Journalism, the Millennium Social Inclusion Award, and Journalist of the Year in 2010 from TV3 Media Awards. O’Toole’s most recent project, History of Ireland in 100 Objects, covers 100 highly charged artifacts from the last 10,000 years, and has been published in book form by the Royal Irish Academy.
O’Toole will be co-teaching a new course, “Introduction to Irish Studies,” with Clair Wills, Chair of the Fund for Irish Studies, this spring. He will also be co-teaching a Princeton Atelier course with actor Lisa Dwan, “Ill Seen Ill Said: Staging a Beckett Text,” examining Samuel Beckett’s prose writings, specifically the novel Ill Seen Ill Said, and challenging students to find myriad ways to dramatize a work that wasn’t initially meant for the stage.
Robert Fagles, for whom the annual Memorial Lecture is named, was a member of the Princeton faculty for 42 years in the Department of Comparative Literature and a renowned translator of Greek classics. His critically acclaimed translations of Homer’s “The Iliad” and “The Odyssey” became bestsellers.