October 23, 2014

Fund for Irish Studies presents “Banish the Bushwah! Why We Ought to Read James T. Farrell”

Professor Emeritus of English and History at Southern Illinois University Charles Fanning will give a lecture in the 2014-15 Fund for Irish Studies series at Princeton University entitled, “Banish the Bushwah! Why We Ought to Read James T. Farrell,” on Friday, November 14 at 4:30 p.m. at the Lewis Center for the Arts’ James M. Stewart ’32 Theater, 185 Nassau Street. The event is free and open to the public.

charles fanning

Photo courtesy Charles Fanning

Charles Fanning, a joint appointee in English and History at Southern Illinois University, earned his Ph.D. in American Civilization at the University of Pennsylvania in 1972. His research combines intellectual and literary history, especially related to Irish-American immigrants. Among his 12 books is Finley Peter Dunne and Mr. Dooley: The Chicago Years (1978), which won the Frederick Jackson Turner Award of the Organization of American Historians. Professor Fanning was named Southern Illinois University Outstanding Scholar in 2004.

James T. Farrell (1904-1979), the subject of Fanning’s talk, was a socially engaged writer who penned one of the classics of American fiction, the “Studs Lonigan” trilogy. Born into a working-class Irish-American Catholic family in Chicago, Farrell drew upon his background to write novels and short stories about the Irish community on the South Side of Chicago. He is noted as an influence on the work of Norman Mailer. Farrell’s most famous character, the Irish-American streetwise Studs Lonigan, shared many of his creator’s own life experiences. The trilogy was made into a film in 1960 and an Emmy Award-winning television miniseries in 1979.

The Fund for Irish Studies, chaired by Princeton professor and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, 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.”

Information on upcoming Fund for Irish Studies series events can be found at and includes:

  • Historian and broadcaster Tristram Hunt on “The Socialism of The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists: Robert Noonan and the Modern Labour Party” on December 5
  • Fintan O’Toole delivers the Robert Fagles Memorial Lecture on “Unspeakable Horror: How Ireland Fought the Great War” on February 13
  • Glenn Patterson, the Belfast novelist, reads from his work on March 27
  • Regina Ui Chollatain on “A ‘New’ Gaelic League Idea: Douglas Hyde 100 Years On” on April 10
  • Poulomi Saha on “Easter Risings: The Irish Insurrection in India” on April 17
  • Feile Na Bealtaine: The Ghost Trio in a concert of Irish traditional songs, cosponsored with Princeton’s Department of Music, on May 1

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