Small World: Ireland, 1798-2018 by Seamus Deane – A magnificent volume

Book review: Four chapters on Irish female writers are particularly welcome

Seamus Deane’s great subject was colonialism, in particular the colonial relationship between Ireland and England. Photograph: Joe St Leger

Seamus Deane’s great subject was colonialism, in particular the colonial relationship between Ireland and England. Photograph: Joe St Leger

The announcement from Cambridge University Press that it would be publishing a new book by Seamus Deane was as unexpected as it was welcome. The leading Irish public intellectual had gone 80 and was retired from his professorship in Irish studies at the University of Notre Dame. But he was still active, editing the Field Day Review for 10 years until 2015 and writing for the Dublin Review of Books.

I sat down on a Thursday morning to read the first chapter when news came that Deane had died, suddenly and of a stroke. I was shocked, saddened and through-other for the rest of the day. further thoughts were of the grieving of the family and of his many former students, friends and former colleagues: I was one of them.

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