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Lecture: “But come ye back” Presented by Margaret Hallissy, Ph.D.

10/12/2012, LIU Post Campus EventLibrary Reference Commons, LIU Post, 8:00 - 10:00 PM

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The great Irish emigrant ballad “Danny Boy” captures a set of emotions well known to emigrants from any country: nostalgia for an idealized past, guilt about the pain of those left behind, and fear that any return will come too late.  Originating from a time when the Irish emigrant might come back only once, if at all, the ballad involves not a joyful reunion with a parent, but rather a visit to a grave. But what of more recent emigrants, those whose return is simpler logistically, but may be just as complex emotionally?

Colm Toíbín’s 2009 novel Brooklyn is the story of one such “returning Yank”: Eilis Lacey, a young woman who leaves small-town Ireland for Brooklyn in the 1950s, and then returns – but as a “Yank,” a different sort of person entirely, irrevocably changed by her  American experience. When Eilis comes back to Ireland, her mother, very much alive, comes to represent all those forces that push the younger generation away from a traditional culture and pull them toward the American dream.

Dr. Hallissy, Professor of English at LIU Post, will place the novel in the context of older Irish literature on the topic of the “returning Yank,” and lay the groundwork for a reading or re-reading of this recent work by one of Ireland’s best living writers.

Programs are free and open to the public.  Programs begin at 8 p.m. in the Library Lobby.  No reservations required.   Social hour and dinner before programs begin at 6 p.m. in the Hutchins Gallery. Reservations are required.  $42.

For more information, please contact Derek Stadler at 516-299-2892, email: Derek.Stadler@liu.edu.

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