The Council of the Friends of the Princeton University Library, The Fund for Irish Studies, Lewis Center for the Arts, Office of the President and
Culture Ireland present...

The Cracked Lookingglass:

Highlights from The Leonard L. Milberg Collection of Irish Prose Writers

Sean Scully, 1945. \'Labna\' 2006. Oil on Linen, 274.3 x 335.3 cm (108 x 132 in.)

A Celebration of Irish Prose Writers at Princeton University

Symposium organized by Paul Muldoon

Lectures and readings - Saturday, February 5, and Sunday, February 6, 2011.
Featuring novelists and critics John Banville, Emma Donoghue, Roddy Doyle, Anne Enright, R.F. Foster, Hugo Hamilton, Patrick McCabe, Colum McCann, Belinda McKeon, Paul Murray, Colm Tóibín, Deborah Treisman and Michael Wood.

Exhibition Opening:

The Cracked Lookingglass - Sunday, February 6, 2011, at 3:00 PM, 101 McCormick Hall.
Opening lecture by Anne Enright.
Reception following in the Main and Milberg galleries at Firestone Library.


The Cracked Lookingglass - January 28 to July 10, 2011.
Main Gallery and Milberg Gallery, Firestone Library.


The exhibition in Firestone Library celebrates the fifth of the author collections donated by Leonard L. Milberg '53. The Milberg Collection of Irish Prose Writers, given in honor of the late Professor Robert Fagles and dedicated to Mr. Milberg's long-time associate, the antiquarian book dealer J. Howard Woolmer, currently includes 102 authors, ranging from Maria Edgeworth at the beginning of the nineteenth century to Colum McCann and numerous others working today.

Sponsored by the Friends of the Library, and curated by graduate students Greg Londe and Renée Fox *10, the exhibition features books, portraits, manuscripts, audiovisual materials, and other items that illustrate the vitality of Irish writing from 1800 to the present. The title refers to a symbol for Irish art in James Joyce's Ulysses: "the cracked lookingglass of a servant." Visitors will encounter the Irish romantic novel of the nineteenth century, the Blasket Island writers who composed their memoirs in Gaelic, modern Irish pulp fiction, and the output of the fiercely independent Raven Arts Press, which published the early work of some of the best Irish novelists and essayists of today, including Roddy Doyle and Fintan O'Toole. Among the unique items on view are two of Iris Murdoch's working notebooks, an exquisite portrait of Maria Edgeworth, letters from Elizabeth Bowen and Colum McCann, and manuscripts of short stories by Liam O'Flaherty and by Edith Somerville and Martin Ross (authors of the books that were made into the popular television series The Irish R.M.).

Accompanying the exhibition are two major publications. The first is a heavily illustrated exhibition catalogue edited by Greg Londe and Renée Fox *10, which includes essays by Princeton professors Paul Muldoon and Michael Wood and Irish novelist Colm Tóibín, among many others. The second publication is a special issue of the Princeton University Library Chronicle. Most of the living writers whose work is included in the Milberg Collection have contributed unpublished essays, short stories, and chapters of novels in progress. An essay by historian and critic R. F. Foster puts them into literary context, and a concluding essay by journalist Fintan O'Toole explores the future of Irish writing.

To order the publications click here.