Hi, I’m Phil Nannery, currently a postgraduate student at University College Cork in the MA in English, Irish writing and film program. Prior to this, I have lived in several different countries, working in several different fields, and I am very excited to be in Ireland, researching Irish literature.
I come from an Irish-American, Catholic background, and at times feel warring and conflicting ideas of American-ness and Irish-ness, and even Catholic-ness within me. I want to explore American literature, and how Irish literature influenced it both stylistically and culturally, well into the 20th century, even after the Irish became ‘white’. One of the strongest correlations that I want to explore, is the literary influence the modernists like Joyce had on the Beatniks of the Post War period, but also, the cultural effect of Catholicism, especially the syncretic, almost folk Catholicism of Ireland, had on writers such as Jack Kerouac. How did the Catholicism of the Irish diaspora affect its ‘otherness’ in American society long after they were accepted to be white along their Protestant counter-parts? If English Americans are the largest ethnic group in the US, then why doesn’t New York have a grand Saint George’s Day parade? These ideas of community, self-segregation, alienation, otherness and solidarity, as well as stylistic influences of James Joyce on a generation of paradoxical outsiders, in love with Catholic and Buddhist mysticism at once, could provide a student with an entire career of opportunities to research and write about. I would like to spend the next year etching out a small slice of research, on which to form a dissertation of my own.