Declan Kiberd

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Declan Kiberd (born 24 May 1951) is an Irish writer and scholar. He is known for his literary criticism of Irish literature in Irish and English, and his contributions to public cultural life.

In 2011, he was included by John Naughton in The Observer among his three hundred "public figures leading our cultural discourse".[1]


Early life and education[edit]

Kiberd was born in Dublin and went to Belgrove Primary School, Clontarf, where he was taught by the distinguished novelist John McGahern, before moving to St. Paul's College, Raheny, St. Paul's College, Raheny. He is the brother of journalist Damien Kiberd. In 1969, he won an award to study Irish and English at Trinity College, Dublin, where he was elected a Scholar, got a double first and a Gold Medal. He then went to Linacre College, Oxford where he took a DPhil under the late Richard Ellmann, the biographer of James Joyce, Oscar Wilde and W. B. Yeats.

Academic career[edit]

Kiberd is the Donald and Marilyn Keough Professor of Irish Studies and professor of English at the University of Notre Dame.[2] Previously he held the Chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama at University College, Dublin, until 2011. He joined UCD as lecturer in Anglo-Irish literature in 1979, and was appointed Chair of Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama in 1997. He taught English previously in the University of Kent at Canterbury (1976–77), and Irish in Trinity College Dublin (1977–79).

Research supervision and interests[edit]

Kiberd has supervised many PhD candidates whose theses have later been published as monographs, including Stanley Van Der Ziel, Malcolm Sen, and Jarlath Killeen.

His own research interests are primarily Anglo-Irish Literature and Drama, in particular Joyce and Synge, Post-colonial theory, and Children's Literature; which he introduced to the UCD curriculum in 2008. He is currently working on a short monograph on Beckett.

Kiberd serves on the advisory board of the International Review of Irish Culture[3] which describes itself as influenced by the critical theory developed by the neo-Marxist intellectuals of the Frankfurt School.[4]

Kiberd also received the President's Award for 1998-9 and the Government of Ireland Senior Research Fellowship 2003-4.

Other work[edit]

Kiberd has been a columnist with The Irish Times (1985–87) and The Irish Press (1987–93), presenter of the RTÉ arts programme, Exhibit A (1984–86), and a regular essayist and reviewer in The Irish Times, The Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books and The New York Times.


In 1987 he co-edited Omnium Gatherum: Essays for Richard Ellmann, which had been intended as a festschrift for Richard Ellmann, but became a memoriam when Ellmann died the same year.[5]

Another publication of note is Irish Classics, which was awarded the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in 2002.

Kiberd also wrote the introduction to the Penguin Classic Annotated Student's Edition of Ulysses, which re-released the Bodley Head/Random House text of 1960/1961.

In 2009, Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living was published by Faber and Faber. It argues that Ulysses is a work of popular fiction, always intended for a mass readership, and examines how Joyce's modernist masterpiece reflects and satirises aspects of daily life.[6]

In 2015, Handbook of the Irish Revival: An Anthology of Irish Cultural and Political Writings 1891-1922 was published by Abbey Theatre Press. The anthology, which Kiberd co-edited with P.J. Matthews, was the subject of a speech given by Irish President Michael D. Higgins.[7]


  • Synge and the Irish Language, Macmillan: London 1979; second edition with new Introduction, London 1992.
  • Men and Feminism in Modern Literature, Macmillan: London 1985; second edition 1987.
  • Idir Dhá Chultúr (Essays on Interaction of Gaelic and English-language culture), Coiscéim Áth Cliath 1993; second edition with new preface 2002.
  • Inventing Ireland: The Literature of the Modern Nation, Jonathan Cape London 1995; Harvard University Press 1996; Vintage Paperback 1996; Winner Michael Durkan Prize of American Committee of Irish Studies for Best Book of Cultural Criticism 1996; Oscar Wilde Award for Literary Achievement, 1996; Winner of Irish Times Literature Prize for Non-Fiction
  • Irish Classics, Granta London 2000; Harvard University Press 2001; Granta and Harvard Paperback 2001; Winner Truman Capote Prize for Best Work of Literary Criticism in the English-Speaking World 2002; Winner Robert Rhodes Prize of American Committee of Irish Studies for Best Book of Literary Criticism 2001.
  • The Irish Writer And The World', Cambridge University Press 2005
  • Ulysses and Us: The Art of Everyday Living (Faber and Faber, 2009)


  • An Crann Faoi Bhláth: Contemporary Irish Poetry with Verse Translations, Wolfhound Press Dublin 1989; 1997 (with Gabriel Fitzmaurice)
  • The Student's Annotated Ulysses, Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics, London 1992
  • The London Exiles: Wilde and Shaw' and 'Contemporary Irish Poetry' sections, Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing, Derry 1991
  • Two issues of The Crane Bag magazine
  • Handbook of the Irish Revival 1891-1922, Abbey Theatre Press, Dublin 2015 (with PJ Mathews)


  • Anglo-Irish Attitudes, Field Day Derry 1985
  • Multiculturalism and Artistic Freedom: Rushdie, Ireland and India, Cork University Press 1992
  • Multiculturalism: The View from the Two Irelands (with Edna Longley), Cork University Press 2000


  • Samuel Beckett Silence to Silence, BBC, 1984
  • A Short History of Ireland, BBC TV, 1986:
  • Plus many scripts for BBC Radio 3 on Irish themes 1990–present

Public roles[edit]

  • Chair, Public Libraries and Arts Government Commission 1996-9
  • Member, Forum on Future of Broadcasting 2002
  • Visiting Lecturer in over 30 countries 1982–present
  • Member, Irish Manuscripts Commission and Cultural Relations Committee 1995–2002
  • Elected member of the Royal Irish Academy 2003
  • Appointed to the new board of the Abbey Theatre

He has also been Director of the Yeats International Summer School (1985–87) and patron of the Dublin Shaw Society (1995–2000).


External links[edit]