Scholar Tara Guissin-Stubbs, Associate Professor in English Literature and Director of Studies in English Literature and Creative Writing at Oxford University, lectures on “Symbols from Within, and Symbols from Without: The Celtic Revival and the Harlem Renaissance” as part of Princeton University’s 2020-21 Fund for Irish Studies series.

This talk considers James Weldon Johnson’s assertion in his Preface to The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922) that the black poet needs to find ‘symbols from within rather than symbols from without’ in order to find a suitable form; in so doing, Johnson contends, the poet will be doing ‘something like what Synge did for the Irish’. It will discuss overlaps between the Celtic Revival and the Harlem Renaissance to try to understand just what Johnson meant, and what this means for us now.


This virtual event is free and open to the public. Join the lecture via Zoom Webinar; registration required.


This event is recorded for archival purposes only and will not be available for viewing after the event.


closed captioning availableThe event will include live closed captions in English. Patrons can join the Webinar and connect directly to the captioned event through StreamText. Reference these instructions for using StreamText (PDF).


If you are in need of other access accommodations in order to participate in this event, please contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email at least 2 weeks in advance of the event date.


The Fund for Irish Studies affords all Princeton students, and the community at large, a wider and deeper sense of the languages, literatures, drama, visual arts, history, politics, and economics not only of Ireland but of “Ireland in the world.” The series is produced by the Lewis Center for the Arts and the 2020-21 edition of the series is organized by Paul Muldoon.

The Fund for Irish Studies is generously sponsored by the Durkin Family Trust and the James J. Kerrigan, Jr. ’45 and Margaret M. Kerrigan Fund for Irish Studies.


tara smiling with light brown hair, wearing orange sweater

Photo courtesy Tara Stubbs

Tara Stubbs is an Associate Professor in English Literature, and Director of Studies in English Literature and Creative Writing, at Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education (OUDCE), and Dean of Kellogg College, Oxford. She is the author of a range of publications on Irish and American literature, poetry, and transatlantic culture, including: ‘American Literature and Irish Culture, 1910–1955: The Politics of Enchantment’ (Manchester UP, 2012); with Doug Haynes, ‘Navigating the Transnational in Modern American Literature and Culture’ (Routledge, 2017); and her most recent monograph, ‘The Modern Irish Sonnet: Revision and Rebellion’ (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). She is also the Book Reviews editor for the open access journal ‘International Yeats Studies’, and a Senior Fellow of the Rothermere American Institute, Oxford. She is passionate about lifelong learning. Her next book project will build on her public engagement work on ‘Poetry and Structure’, which discovers analogies for poetry within nature and visual art to find new ways of thinking about poetry, and to break down some of its mystique. She lives in Oxford with her husband and two year-old son.

Presented By

  • Lewis Center for the Arts
  • Princeton University

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