Series Editor’s Introduction from John Brannigan
‘Irish Sea Studies’ is a term with some purchase in marine biology, archaeology, and ancient history, but might it have significance for the study of the literary and cultural interrelations between the constituent nations and regions of the British Isles? The archaeologist, V.G. Childe, once described the Irish Sea as ‘the natural centre of a province whose several parts it unites rather than divides’. This series hosts eight lectures by major scholars on literary and cultural transactions across the Irish Sea, and which focus on the Irish Sea as an ‘inner waterway’ of the British and Irish Isles. This has been the subject of considerable debate in recent literary scholarship, following John Kerrigan’s Archipelagic English (2008), and Christopher Harvie’s A Floating Commonwealth (2008), both of which proposed new ‘archipelagic’ and ‘coastal’ models for understanding the literatures of the isles. The lectures gather together, and make publicly available in downloadable audio and text formats, new work by major scholars who are currently researching maritime, coastal, and portal themes in the literatures and cultures around the Irish Sea.