ACIS Logo CFP: The Irish Proust

Proust’s work, which was briefly banned in Ireland, occupies a central position within the Irish literary and cultural imaginary. From Samuel Beckett and Elizabeth Bowen to Kate O’Brien and John McGahern, from Flann O’Brien to Nuala O’Faolain and Martina Evans, À la recherche du temps perdu has been a touchstone for generations of Irish writers.

Proust himself was captivated by the figure of Oscar Wilde and alludes to the Anglo-Irish author’s downfall in the Recherche and Contre Sainte-Beuve. His meditations on place names and mythology also attest to Proust’s fascination for the Irish-inflected Celtic substrate of French regional cultures.

This conference aims to explore the full indebtedness of Irish literary practice to Proust’s creative vision and to elucidate the presence of Irish literature, culture, and history within his own writing. ‘The Irish Proust’ will also include a round-table discussion with contemporary Irish authors about their creative connection to Proust.

The organizers particularly welcome proposals for papers about comparatively neglected Proustian intertexts in the work of authors including, but not limited to, Brendan Behan, Elizabeth Bowen, Monk Gibbon, Aidan Higgins, John McGahern, and Flann O’Brien. In the shared centenary of Proust’s death and the publication of Ulysses, James Joyce’s ambiguous connections to Proust represent another pertinent subject for proposals. Contributions that present original findings about Proust’s own debts to Irish literature and culture are also highly encouraged.

Potential topics for consideration include but are not limited to:

  • Proust and Beckett
  • Proust and Behan
  • Proust and Bowen
  • Proust and Joyce
  • Proust and McGahern
  • Proust and Flann O’Brien/ Myles na gCopaleen
  • Proust and Kate O’Brien
  • Proust and Wilde
  • Proust and the Second Celtic Renaissance
  • Proust’s critical and journalistic reception in Ireland
  • The history of Proust studies in Ireland
  • The censorship of Proust’s work in Ireland
  • Proust and the evolution of Irish LGBTQ+ writing
  • Representations of Proust in Irish popular media
  • Proust and Irish memoir
  • Proust and Franco-Irish literary relations
  • Proust in Irish literary education
  • Proust and Celtic toponyms
  • Proust and empire
  • Proust and postcolonialism
  • Proust and minority perspectives
  • Proust and Catholicism
  • The sinking of the Lusitania in the Recherche
  • Proust’s relationship with Alberta Victoria Montgomery
  • Henry Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, the model for the Marquis de Bréauté in the Recherche, whose Parisian mansion now houses the Irish Embassy
  • Saint Lawrence Toot (sic – i.e. Laurence O’Toole) in the Recherche

Presentations are limited to 20 minutes and should be given in English, French, or Irish. The organizers welcome proposals for individual papers as well as complete three-person panels.

To propose a presentation, please send a title, 300-word abstract, and short contributor bio to by Tuesday, 31 May. For complete panels, please submit a 600-word collective abstract as well as contributor bios.

The organizers will notify you by the end of June whether your proposal has been accepted.

The conference will include a drinks reception on Friday, 28 October and a gala dinner for conference speakers at MoLI on Saturday, 29 October. The organizers will cover the cost of both events.

The organizers hope to publish the proceedings either in book form or as a special journal issue.

Conference organizers:

Michael Cronin, Chair of
French 1776, Trinity College Dublin (

Max McGuinness, Teaching
Fellow in French and Francophone Studies, University College Dublin (

Published on: February 22, 2022