Born May 30, 1943; USA and Ireland citizenships
- Brandeis University (Massachusetts), 1973, Ph.D. (with distinction), English & American Literature
- Brandeis University, 1966, M.A. in English & American Literature.
- Wellesley College (Massachusetts), 1964, B.A. (summa cum laude) Philosophy, English Literature, and Art History
EMPLOYMENT: TEACHING AND RESEARCH APPOINTMENTS
- Trinity College Dublin, Visiting Academic, Asian Studies Centre, 2015 to 2019: Comparing Chinn and the West. https://www.tcd.ie/Asian/people/
- Dublin City University, Visiting Professor of Chinese Studies: Perspectives on Chinese Culture (with John Blair) Autumn Semester 2013
- National University of Ireland Maynooth (NUIM), Visiting Professor of Chinese Studies: Comparing China and the West (with John Blair) Autumn Semester 2012
- Chester Beatty Library, Dublin: Series of six lectures on “Old China, New China – and Us” (with John Blair) February – March 2011.
- Chester Beatty Library, Dublin: Series of six lectures on “Entering the Chinese World” (with John Blair) February – March 2010.
- St. Francis University, Pennsylvania: Distinguished Visiting Professor (Autumn, 2009)
- Beijing Foreign Studies University
- Visiting Professor
- Autumn semester, 2015/2016
- March-April 2014
- March-May 2012
- May 2009
- Autumn semester, 2007/2008
- Academic year 2005/06
- Spring semester, 2004
- Founder: first Irish Studies Centre in China at BFSU (March 2007)
- Named Honorary Professor (March 2007)
- BFSU Model Teacher’s Award (2005/06)
- Visiting Professor
- Chinese Universities: Lectures at Peking University, Beijing Foreign Studies University, Beijing Normal University; Fudan University, Shanghai; Shanghai Normal; UESTC, Chengdu; Sichuan Normal, Chengdu; Hunan Normal, Changsha; Shantou University, Guangdong; Hong Kong University. Dates: 2006-2015.
- Boston University: Founder and Director: BU Dublin Irish Studies Programme, 1998-2004
- Queen’s University, Belfast, Fellow, Institute of Irish Studies, 2000-01
- University College, Dublin, Senior Lecturer, 1996-2001; College Lecturer, 1976-96; Assistant Lecturer, 1971-76
- American University, Washington, D.C., Adjunct Prof. of English, 1986-87
- Library of Congress, Washington, D.C., Research Fellow, 1968-71
- Marycliffe Academy, Arlington, Mass., Secondary School Teacher, 1966-68
In my working life, I am fortunate to have had several careers in different locations and each with a different focus.
University College Dublin (1971 – 2001)
During thirty years in the English Department of University College, Dublin, I taught courses in American, Anglo-Irish and English literature over a wide range, but concentrating mainly on nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century writing. My period of specialization is approximately 1840-1930 in American and Anglo-Irish literature, with a focus on Oscar Wilde and his circle, resulting in four books and many articles – among them, Wilde the Irishman (1998) and The Man Who Was Dorian Gray (2000). While at UCD, I was also instrumental in setting up what is now the Clinton Institute of American Studies. One of the more original pieces resulting from my work in American Studies is an article for the American Quarterly on Emily Dickinson and the electro-magnetic telegraph: a new technology in the 1840s which (I argue) helped transform her poetic style.
Boston University (1998 – 2004)
As of autumn 2001, I sought early retirement from University College, Dublin, in order to pursue a new direction as Founder and Director of the Boston University Dublin Internship Program. An Irish Studies programme developed specifically for Americans, it involved academic teaching as well as an eight-week internship structured as anthropological field-work.
Beijing Foreign Studies University (2004 – 2014)
This experience of developing an Irish Studies programme became invaluable when I left Boston University to serve as a Foreign Expert at one of China’s elite institutions, Beijing Foreign Studies University. There I taught what appears to be the first-ever graduate course in Gender Studies in the People’s Republic. Discovering how little was known about Ireland in China (where many think it is part of the UK), I offered to write four chapters for a Chinese university textbook on The Society and Culture of Major English-Speaking Countries covering the politics, economics, and social structure of the Ireland as well as its literary and artistic culture (published 2005).
That work led directly to a proposal that BFSU set up the first multidisciplinary Irish Studies Centre in China in the spring of 2007. In recognition of my contribution to founding of the Centre, I was named as Honorary Professor by BFSU. In recent years, I have helped initiate the Irish Studies Network, lecturing at the key universities involved on a regular basis.
During this period I also became involved, as co-author, with the production of a source-book for the first ever postgraduate course (in the world, as far as we know) on Western Civilization with Chinese Comparisons (WCwCC) for BFSU. This is a huge project involving texts in both Chinese and English spanning a 3,000 year time spectrum from approximately 800 BCE to the present. These are organized not chronologically but according to parallels within cultural domains (such as “Learning,” “Family,” and “Values and Worldviews”). This course was offered first in 2003 and has been obligatory ever since for graduate students at SEIS [School of English and International Studies]. In 2007 this was offered as a condensed one-semester version, which, for the first time, was taught side-by-side with John Blair (an innovation, and a successful one). This sourcebook , soon to appear in its fourth Chinese edition, has been published in the United States under the title of Comparing Civilizations: China and the West (Global Scholarly Publications, 2013).
Spurred by the innovative techniques of Comparing Civilizations, I have tried to write books that explore other frontiers, in particular those encountered in my own experience. After I became a widow in 1996, I wrote my most widely read book under the title of grieving: a beginner’s guide (2005/2006). Published to a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly, it was listed on The Irish Times non-fiction best-seller list in March and April of 2006.
Usually a significant time is spent in China teaching about the West. But, when living in the West, I dedicate myself to building intellectual bridges between China and Ireland. This has taken many forms, but the most evident has been proposing and then acting as Consulting Editor for a series of the Thomas Davis Lectures on China and the Irish. Broadcast over RTE Radio One as a lead-up to the Olympics in August 2008, this series is now a book. Published to mark the anniversary of diplomatic relations between Ireland and China in June 2009, it was translated into Mandarin and published in Beijing by the People’s Press in the autumn of 2010. Essays from this book were cited extensively by President Michael D. Higgins during his official state visit to the PRC in December 2014.
The most recent book, written in collaboration with John Blair, is one that attempts to translate into Western terms the values and ways of thinking that are identifiably Chinese. Under the title, Thinking through China, it was published in 2015 in the United States by Rowman and Littlefield.
- The Irish and China: Encounters and Exchanges, editor and contributor, Dublin New Island, 2019: Introduction, 1-9, and :Staging the Revolution: Guo Morou and Terence MacSwiney,” 56-78. Celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations between Ireland and the Peoples Republic of China.
- Comparing Civilizations: China and the West (co-authored with John Blair), Shanghai: Fudan University Press, fourth edition, the first with this title, 2018. ISBN 978-7-309-13810-8.
- Thinking through China (co-authored with John Blair). Rowman and Littlefield (USA), 2015: interpretive study of both civilizations. ISBN 978-1-4422-4792-5.
- Editor and cntrobutor, China and the Irish. Dublin: New Island, 2009; including authored essays on “Ireland through a Chinese Mirror,” pp. 1-13 and “Oscar Wilde’s Chinese Sage [Zhuangzi],” pp. 51-61. Mandarin edition, edited by Wang Zhanpeng, Beijing: People’s Press, 2010
- Western Civilization with Chinese Comparisons (co-author with John G Blair,) First edition , 2006, published in Shanghai by Fudan University Press , in a hybrid print/CD-ROM form. Second edition, 2007 in 1072 pages. Third edition, 2010, 622 pages in print, 1680 pages in PDF on CD-ROM. Published in the United States as Comparing Civilizations: China and the West (New York: Global Scholarly Publications, 2013).
- grieving: a beginner’s guide. London: Darton, Longman & Todd , 2005 and the U.S.A.: Paraclete Press, 2006.
- The Man Who Was Dorian Gray. New York: St. Martin’s Press. London: Palgrave, 2000.
- Editor, Wilde the Irishman. New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1998 with “Introduction,” pp. 1-5, and “The Wilde Irishman: Oscar as Aesthete and Anarchist,” pp. 82-94.
- Editor, The Selected Prose of John Gray. Greensboro, N.C.: ELT Press, 1992 with “Introduction: John Gray’s Prose,” pp. xii-xxxii.
- John Gray: Poet, Dandy, and Priest. Hanover, N.H.: University Press of New England, 1991.
PUBLICATIONS: ARTICLES & CHAPTERS IN BOOKS
- “Stagng the Revolution: Guo Moruo and Terence MacSwiney, The Irish and China: Encounters and Exchanges, ed. Jerusha McCormack, Dublin: New Island, 2019, 56-78.
- “Power Versus Values: Structural Tensions in the PRC Today: (with John Blair), Ethics, Politics, and Law: East and West, ed. H.-C. Gunther, Verlag Traugott Bautz GmbH (Nordhausen, Germany), 2018, 85-110.
- “Oscar Wilde as Daoist Sage,” Philosophy and Oscar Wilde, ed Michael Y. Bennett (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2017), 73-104.
- “Lu Xun and James Joyce: To Heal the Spirit of a Nation,” Frontiers of Literary Studies in China (UK and PRC), vol 10:3 (2016) 353-391.
- “Irish Studies in China: the Widening Gyre,” Studi irlandesi. A Journal of Irish Studies 3 (2013), 157-180. http://www.fupress.net/index.php/bsfm-sijis/article/view/13799..
- “The Poem on the Mountain: A Chinese Reading of Yeats’s ‘Lapis Lazuli’,”, Yeats Annual 19: Yeats’s Mask (December, 2013), pp. 53 – 80. Yeats’s Mask (Cambridge, UK: Open Book Publishers, 2013), 259-287 http://www.openbookpublishers.com/product/233/yeatss-mask—yeats-annual-no–19
- “Wilde’s Dublin; Dublin’s Wilde,” Oscar Wilde in Context ed. Kerry Powell and Peter Raby (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 17-27.
- “What Did Jesus Mean? Interpreting the Gospel through a Universal Language,” Search 35:2 (Summer 2012), 107-113.
- “Ireland” in two chapters (Ch 1: “Land, History and People”; Ch. II: “The Making of Modern Ireland”), Exploring English-speaking Countries (Foreign Languages Teaching and Research Press, Beijing, 2010), 299-361.
- “Ireland through a Chinese Mirror,” China and the Irish (Dublin: New Island, 2009), 1-13.
- “Oscar Wilde’s Chinese Sage,” China and the Irish (Dublin: New Island, 2009), 51-61.
- “From Chinese Wisdom to Irish Wit: Zhuangzi and Oscar Wilde,” Exploring Ireland: Historical Legacy and Contemporary Experience (Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2009), 116-145.
- “The Poetry of Cathy Song,” in Global Perspectives on Asian American Literature. eds. Guiyou Huang and Wu Bing (Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2008), 194-210.
- “Comparing China and the West: Who Is Ready for the Challenge?” (with John G. Blair), ASIANetwork Exchange, 16 (Fall, 2008), 48-56.
- “Framing Academic Discourse: East and West,” in English Education and Liberal Education, ed. Sun Youzhong et al. (Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2008), 307-320.
- “Liberal Education at BFSU: A Pioneering Project,” (with John G. Blair), in English Education and Liberal Education, ed. Sun Youzhong et al (Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press, 2008), 262-277.
- “’Feeling the Pulse’ in the Chinese and Western Medical Traditions: The Importance of Qièmai (切脉) as a Diagnostic Technique,” (with John G. Blair) in Thieme Almanac 2008: Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, ed. Michael McCarthy et al. (Stuttgart: Georg Thieme Verlag, 2008), 331-338.
- “China and the West: A Fresh Strategy against Provincialism,” (with John G. Blair), Education About Asia 12:3 (Winter, 2007), 63-68.
- “American Decadence: A New Field for Research,” SPELL [Swiss papers in English Language and Literature] vol. 20 (2007), 109-126.
- “From Chinese Wisdom to Irish Wit: Zhuangzi and Oscar Wilde,” Irish University Review, vol. 37, no. 2 (autumn/winter 2007), 302-321.
- “Report from a Land without God,” Search: a Church of Ireland Journal, vol. 30, no. 1 (spring 2007), 64-68.
- “Turning Grief Around,” Irish Stories of Loss and Hope, ed. Dr. Susan Delaney (Dublin, Ireland: Irish Hospice Foundation, 2007), 38-42.
- “Friend or Enemy? Tourism and the Environment,” Friends of Nature Newsletter (Beijing, China, Spring 2005), 16-19.
- “Ireland: History, Politics, Government, and Culture.” Four chapters on the Republic of Ireland in The Society and Culture of Major English-Speaking Countries (Higher Education Press, Beijing, China, 2005), 166-241.
- “Engendering Tragedy: Toward a Definition of 1890s Poetry.” Chapter 2, The Fin-de-Siècle Poet: English Literary Culture and the 1890s, ed. Joseph Bristow (Ohio University Press, 2005), 47-69.
- “Domesticating Delphi: Emily Dickinson and the Electro-Magnetic Telegraph.” AmericanQuarterly, 55 (2003), 569-601.
- “Oscar Wilde: The Dandy in Revolt,” Narcissism in Oscar Wilde and in Present-Day Fashion, (Milan: Nuova Accademiz di Belle Arti, 2000), 89-94.
- “America from Here,” Writing Ulster: America and Ulster, a Cultural Correspondence, No. 5 (1998), 175-81.
- “Dispatches from the Cage: Henry James and Information Technology.” Journal of the Irish Association of American Studies, 7 (1998), 79-100.
- “Wilde’s Fiction(s),” The Cambridge Companion to Oscar Wilde, ed. Peter Raby. (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997), 96-117.
- “Oscar Wilde: The Once and Future Dandy,” Rediscovering Oscar Wilde, ed. Georges Sandulescu. Publications of the Princess Grace Irish Library, 8 (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 1994), 269-74.
- “Signs of the Times: The War between the States and the War between the Sexes.” Journal of the Irish Association of American Studies, 3 (1994), 115-27.
- “John Gray’s Father and Father John Gray,” Durham University Journal (December 1985), 113-120.
- “Masks Without Faces: The Personalities of Oscar Wilde,” English Literature in Transition, 22 (1979), 253-69.
- “The Disciple: John Gray/‘Dorian’ Gray,” Journal of the Eighteen-Nineties Society, Nos. 6 & 7 (1974-76), 13-21.
- “Dying as an Art: The Procedures of Emily Dickinson’s Poetry,” Journal of the Association of Teachers of English, 7 (Spring, 1977), 36-48.
- “Form as Force in The Portrait of a Lady,” Journal of the Association of Teachers of English, 5 (Summer 1974), 23-45.
- “Silas Marner: As Romance,” Journal of the Association of Teachers of English, 4 (Easter, 1973), 59-68.
RECENT CONFERENCE PAPERS AND INVITED LECTURES (SINCE 2010):
- “Shaw in China, China in Shaw,” Shaw Essay Competition Awards Ceremony, Fudan University, (27 April 2016)
- “Comparing Civilizations: China and the West, Part Two,” (with John Blair), Fudan University, (25 April 2016)
- “Literary Texts as Cultural Artefacts,” (with John Blair), Peking University, (22 April 2016)
- “International Nationalism: How I Became Irish,” Beijing Foreign Studies University, (21 April 2016)
- “‘Victorious in Death’: Guo Moruo and Terence MacSwiney,” Plenary address, 1916 Centennial Conference, Beijing Foreign Studies University, (20 April 2016)
- “Protocols for China in Eight Key Words,” (with John Blair), US Embassy in Beijing, (18 April 2016)
- Book Launch: THINKING THROUGH CHINA, Trinity College Dublin, Long Room Hub, (29 February 2016)
- “The West is WEIRD: A Roundup of Recent Research,” Peking University (with John Blair, 14 December 2015)
- “What Makes the West Western?” lecture series at Peking University (with John Blair), Autumn Semester, 2015
- “A Chinese Immortality? W. B. Yeats’s ‘Lapis Lazuli,'” National Library of Ireland (4 June 2015)
- “China in Ten Words: Everything Changes,” Chinese Studies, National University at Maynooth, (with John Blair, 21 April 2015)
- “China in Ten Words: Everything Is Connected,” Chinese Studies, National University at Maynooth, (with John Blair, 20 April 2015)
- “Comparing China and the West,” Inaugural lecture for Trinity College Dublin’s new Asian Studies Centre (with John Blair, 23 February, 2015)
- “Misunderstanding China,” Institute of International and European Affairs, Dublin (with John Blair, 25 Sept. 2014)
- “James Joyce and Lu Xun: To Heal a Country’s Illness,” Keynote Address to Irish Studies Conference, Beijing Foreign Studies University (March 28, 2014)
- Series of lectures on the environment, Beijing Normal University (with John Blair, April 2014)
- “Cultural Amnesia: East and West,” Fourth Annual Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Ireland (with John Blair, 11 Dec. 2013)
- “Five Gates to China,” Chester Beatty Library (with John Blair, 14 February 2013)
- “Chinese Students, Western Classrooms,” seminar for teachers, Waterford Institute of Technology, (with John Blair, 13 February 2013)
- “Chinese Civilization: A Unified Field Theory in Ten Words,” day seminar for the Farmleigh Fellows, Irish business internships in Asia (with John Blair, 22 January 2013)
- “John Thomson, Photographer (1837-1921): Constructing a Third Space,” Chester Beatty Library (with John Blair, 1 December 2011).
- “Interpreting China to the West: Three Key Concepts,” Third Annual Conference of the Asian Studies Association of Ireland, UCC (with John Blair, 29 September 2011)
- “Yeats and China,” Beijing Foreign Studies University, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (Beijing), and Fudan University [Keynote address to open exhibition on the life and work of W.B. Yeats, June/July 2011]
- “Lost and Found: Reclaiming a Self through Memoir,” National Library of Ireland (19 October 2010).
- “Becoming John Gray: the Beginnings of Celebrity Culture?” Dublin City Library (26 April 2010). Part of Dublin City Council’s “One City, One Book” month, focusing on The Picture of Dorian Gray.
- “The Poem on the Mountain: W.B. Yeats’s ‘Lapis Lazuli’” National Library of Ireland (17 February 2010).
Besides numerous appearances in Ireland and China, I have lectured in the U.S., the U.K., Italy, and Japan (two-week lecture tour). As a Visiting Professor at Beijing Foreign Studies University, my courses, all postgraduate, comprised the following:
- Irish World Writers with Chinese Comparisons
- Gender and Social Change in America (1840 to present)
- Academic Writing or: How Westerners Think
- Twentieth-Century British Studies (The Politics of Representation)
- American Culture and Western Civilization.
- China Focus Group, Institute for European and International Affairs (2012 to present)
- Executive Committee, Association for Chinese Studies in Ireland (2008 to present)
- Member of International Association for the Study of Irish Literatures
- Multiple television and radio appearances on the Irish national media.
- Commissioned to organize, write for, and edit the Thomas Davis Lectures, a nine-part series on “China and the Irish” for Irish national radio (RTE), broadcast: May/June/July 2008.
- A bi-weekly column on contemporary China for the Irish magazine, The Village (2005-2006)
- Judge for the CCTV10 (Outlook) National English Talent Competition Finals (All-China competition, April, 2004).
- Judging panel, The Irish Times Literary Prize (1996)
- Reviews for The Irish Times literary pages and in the UK, The Tablet, as well as occasional columns for The Oldie.