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James Joyce Birthday Event: Book Launch with UB James Joyce Scholar Joseph Valente, PhD

Friday, January 15th, 2021

Please join the University at Buffalo Libraries’ Poetry Collection, steward of the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of James Joyce materials, to mark the birthday of James Joyce, considered to be the most influential writer of the 20th century, with a virtual book launch by UB James Joyce Scholar Joseph Valente, PhD, and Margot Gayle Backus, PhD, the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of English at the University of Houston, on Tuesday, February 2, 2021 at 5:30 p.m.

The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature

Tuesday, February 2, 2021
5:30 p.m. – General welcome and introduction
5:35 p.m. –  Presentation by Valente and Backus
6:20 p.m. – Q&A session
6:30 p.m. – Special announcement and closing


In The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature, Joseph Valente and Margot Gayle Backus examine modern cultural responses to child sex abuse in Ireland. Using descriptions of these scandals found in newspapers, historiographical analysis, and 20th- and 21st-century literature, Valente and Backus expose a public sphere ardently committed to Irish children’s souls and piously oblivious to their physical welfare. Beginning with James Joyce, they offer historically contextualized and psychoanalytically informed readings of scandal narratives by nine notable modern Irish authors who actively, pointedly, and persistently question Ireland’s responsibilities regarding its children. Through close, critical readings, a more nuanced and troubling account emerges of how Ireland’s postcolonial heritage has served to enable such abuse.

The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature refines the debates on why so many Irish children were lost by offering insight into the lived experience of both the children and those who failed them.

Joseph Valente is UB Distinguished Professor in the Department of English at the University at Buffalo.

An Open Access edition of The Child Sex Scandal and Modern Irish Literature is available.

The Poetry Collection will also announce the establishment of the Dr. John Bishop Memorial Scholar Fund for the UB James Joyce Collection in memory of the esteemed James Joyce scholar Dr. John Bishop who passed away in April 2020.  Please consider supporting this or the James Joyce Collection Endowment Fund in recognition of James Joyce’s birthday and to further the mission of the James Joyce Collection to preserve and promote the literary life and works of one of the most influential writers of the 20th century.

More information about the UB James Joyce Collection.