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Reading Groups

Irish Educations with Philip Geheber

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Five Sessions Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EST - 7:30 pm EST March 8 to May 31, 2023

Online via Zoom

The ‘With Books’ option includes all titles required for this group at a 10% discount from our Bookstore. Please allow 2 weeks for shipped books to arrive.


Meeting Dates:
3/8, 3/29, 4/19, 5/10, 5/31
Online via Zoom

How do we become ourselves? In what ways do influences beyond our control, like family, school, church, state, gender, and history, mold us into the particular adults we are? And what happens when an individual’s desires and goals conflict with their society’s ideals? The novelistic genre of the Bildungsroman zeroes in on questions like these as it narrates a protagonist’s cognitive, psychological, and moral development, and in this reading group we will explore three exemplary Irish Bildungsromane: James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), Edna O’Brien’s The Country Girls (1960), and Eimear McBride’s A Girl Is a Half-Formed Thing (2013). In addition to focusing on the shifting Irish tensions that these novels navigate, from the Victorian period to the late 20th century, we’ll also engage with their stylistic innovations that dramatize the experience of being educated in Ireland at these moments.

Reading List:

Participants should read Parts I and II of A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man in advance of the first session.

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Led by

  • Philip Geheber

    Philip Keel Geheber

    Philip Keel Geheber

    Philip Keel Geheber is a modern Irish literature scholar with fifteen years teaching experience in Irish and American universities. He directed and taught the LSU in Ireland summer study abroad program for several years, and as part of his efforts to engage the wider public with literature he created and guided walking tours of Joycean Dublin as well as co-convening a Finnegans Wake reading group at The James Joyce Center, Dublin. He has published articles on James Joyce in the James Joyce Quarterly, Genetic Joyce Studies, and Los Angeles Review of Books, and is a co-editor of the essay collection Modernism and Food Studies: Politics, Aesthetics, and the Avant-Garde. He teaches at Princeton University.