Photo of Professor Frank Shovlin

Professor Frank Shovlin B.A., M.A., M.St., D.Phil.

Professor of Irish Literature in English Institute of Irish Studies


    Research Overview

    I have research interests spanning the past 150 years of Irish literature and have published and delivered public lectures on a wide array of writers from well known figures such as James Joyce and W. B. Yeats to less well known writers such as Patrick Boyle and Stopford Brooke. In more recent years I have devoted my time to John McGahern and published my monograph Touchstones: John McGahern's Classical Style in 2016. My edition of McGahern's letters was published by Faber in September 2021 and I am currently working on his authorized biography. I was invited to deliver the annual Sir John T. Gilbert Lecture on the subject of 'John McGahern's Dublin' in 2020 and a copy of the lecture can be read here.John McGahern's Dublin

    The life and works of John McGahern

    In 2016 I published a monograph on John McGahern's writing style assisted by the award of a Leverhulme Study Abroad fellowship in 2012-13 which I used to spend the year in the McGahern archive at the National University of Ireland, Galway. I returned to Galway in the summer of 2014 courtesy of a Moore Institute Visiting Fellowship. Stemming from this work, I edited 'The Letters of John McGahern', an 850-page volume published by Faber & Faber in 2021 to critical acclaim. In the wake of this publication, I was contracted by Faber to become McGahern's authorized biographer. For the Academic year 2018-19 I worked full time on The Letters as a British Academy/Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow.

    James Joyce and the Ireland of his times

    My second monograph, 'Journey Westward: Joyce, Dubliners and the Literary Revival', was published by Liverpool University Press in 2012. Chiefly concerned with unpicking some key moments in 'Dubliners', the book suggests that Joyce maintained a fascination with the troubled history between Ireland and its larger island neighbour throughout his writing life.

    The Irish Literary Magazine

    My doctoral dissertation looked at several Irish literary magazines in the early years of independence, including The Irish Statesman, The Dublin Magazine, Ireland To-Day, The Bell, Envoy and Rann. This work was subsequently revised to become my first monograph, The Irish Literary Periodical 1923-1958, published by Clarendon Press in 2003.

    Research Grants

    'The Letters of John McGahern'


    September 2018 - August 2019

    The Letters of John MaGahern


    December 2017 - July 2019

    Touchstones: John McGahern's Classical Style


    October 2012 - June 2013

    Touchstones: John McGahern's Classical Style


    April 2014 - August 2014

    Joyce's revenge: Dubliners and the subversion of revivalism.


    June 2005 - September 2005

    Edward Garnett and the birth of Irish Literature


    July 2009 - June 2010

    Revivalism, Jacobitism and revenge in Joyce's Dubliners.


    January 2006 - May 2006

    The Irish Literary Periodical 1923-2000.


    June 2002 - July 2002