Dan O’Brien, Murphy Irish Exchange Program Fellow

Author: Margaret Lloyd

The Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies welcomes Dan O’Brien of University College Cork as the 2014-2015 Murphy Irish Exchange Program Fellow.  Now in its third year, the Exchange program is fulfilling its aim to promote research in Irish studies at the graduate level through a partnership between the University of Notre Dame and the University College Cork, Ireland.

O’Brien is completing his second year of graduate studies in the School of English where he works on his thesis ‘The Intertwining Fictions of Philip Roth and Edna O’Brien: “A Piece of Fine Meshwork.”’  His work “looks at the relationship between the fiction of Irish writer Edna O’Brien and Philip Roth and explores how Roth uses Irish writers and texts within his fiction – including Joyce, Yeats, Wilde, Beckett and even O’Brien herself.” 

His project also considers the influences of American writers, especially Philip Roth, on Edna O’Brien’s writing.  O’Brien says, “her own playful relationship with Roth will be studied in its own right, but also as a metaphor for how she and Roth use other writers in their work.”

O’Brien received an M.A. in American Literature and Film and a B.A. in English and History, College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences from UCC.  He intends to build on his background in American literature and Irish literature during his time at Notre Dame. “I cannot wait to immerse myself in the Irish aspect of Notre Dame and of course in Irish literature classes.”

The author of numerous articles and conference papers, O’Brien is the recipient of several awards and honors, including an Irish Research Council Government of Ireland Ph.D. Scholarship, the UCC School of English Scholarship, and the UCC College of Arts, Celtic Studies and Social Sciences Ph.D. Scholarship, as well as summer scholar and travel grants. He teaching experience includes leading undergraduate English classes in modern literature at UCC.

The Murphy Irish Exchange Fellowship is funded by a grant from the Keough-Naughton Institute of Irish Studies and is administered by Institute Director Christopher Fox.  The Fellowship is open to graduate students in the field of Irish Studies. Fellows receive a stipend of $12,000, round trip air fares and tuition waivers.  Marie-Luise Theuerkauf, a Ph.D. student in the Departments of French and Early & Medieval Irish at UCC and Aaron Willis, Ph.D. candidate in the Department of History at Notre Dame were the first two Exchange Fellows.