Dr. Sinéad Moynihan, Exeter University “More Famous for my Puddings than my Books”: Irish Women Writers in U.S. Magazines at Mid-Century

The Woodman lecture is the English Department’s endowed critical literary studies series, named in memory of Leonora Woodman, professor in the English department from 1976-1991.

Dr. Moynihan’s talk will be on her current book project, which examines Irish writers in U.S. periodicals in the mid twentieth century. She will be talking about the publishing industry and reader reception as well as about how she brings these neglected works into the classroom. See below for a fuller abstract.

If you are interested in some light background reading, Sinéad recommends Maura Laverty, “If Love Had a Color,” Woman’s Day, May, 1956: 28-29, 121-130. The latter can be found online through Purdue Libraries here: https://www.proquest.com/docview/1814075450?accountid=13360&pq-origsite=primo&imgSeq=1. As a contrast, compare this piece with John Updike’s short story “A&P” (originally published in New Yorker 22 July, 1961: 22-24), which has been widely anthologized.

To tempt you further . . . check out the illustration from Laverty’s piece:

“More Famous for my Puddings than my Books”: Irish Women Writers in U.S. Magazines at Mid-Century.

“When you write for the American market, you must keep in mind that you are writing for export only,” the Irish writer Brian Friel observed in Commonweal magazine in 1957. There are “certain aspects of Irish life that you ignore lest you upset the traditional concept of Irish life which Americans have.” Two years later, Friel made his first appearance in the New Yorker, following in the wake of Frank O’Connor, Mary Lavin, Maeve Brennan and Benedict Kiely. Building on recent work that has recovered the relationships Irish women writers such as Lavin and Brennan enjoyed with prestigious publications such Harper’s Bazaar and the New Yorker, this presentation contends that the involvement of Irish women writers in the U.S. magazine marketplace is much more expansive than has previously been acknowledged.