Skip to main content

Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

Trinity Menu Trinity Search

You are here Staff

Dr. Julie Bates B.A., Ph.D. (Dublin)Assistant Professor in Irish Writing; Co-Director of M.Phil in Irish Writing



My research is focused on modern and contemporary Irish and European literature, culture and visual art. It is increasingly engaged with the Environmental Humanities, in exploring the potential for literature and art to address and reconceptualise the relationships between the human, nonhuman animal, and environment.

My PhD charted Samuel Beckett’s material imagination and evolving creative practice across media over more than half a century of writing. The monograph based on this research, Beckett’s Art of Salvage, was published by Cambridge University Press in 2017. Beckett remains central to my research: I am Co-Director of the Samuel Beckett Summer School in TCD, have delivered keynote lectures at three international Beckett conferences, and have essays published or forthcoming in the Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre, Journal of Beckett Studies, Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui, and the Oxford Handbook of Samuel Beckett. A number of these publications draw on scholarship within Environmental Humanities and explore Beckett's writing as a challenge to the distinctions conventionally made between the human and nonhuman animal, and an interrogation of the limits of anthropocentrism.

My current book project is a study of the dynamic between place and practice in the work of the writer and artist Erica Van Horn. Van Horn has been living in Ireland since 1996, outside the village of Ballybeg in South Tipperary, a rural setting from which she runs Coracle Press with the poet Simon Cutts. She has maintained an online journal, ‘some words for living locally’, since 2007, an acute record of the epiphanic potential of seemingly banal encounters and daily observations. Her 2014 book Living Locally, reprinted in 2019, collects some of these entries. Van Horn’s work offers a sustained examination of the relationships between creative practice, patterns of behaviour by human, animal and natural agents, and the ongoing process of habitation – all of which casts new light on foundational concepts within Environmental Humanities.

I welcome expressions of interest from potential PhD students who share my research interests.


These are the modules I coordinate at present:

  • ‘Imagining the Contemporary: No future?’ – Senior Fresh module that seeks to generate critical leverage on contemporary socio-political themes by examining their representation in very recent fiction, film, television, and pairing this with 20th century representations of the same themes

  • 'Beckett: Afterlives' – Sophister module on the inheritance of some of the formal and thematic challenges of Beckett's work by a group of contemporary writers and artists. Students consult Beckett’s papers in Trinity’s special collections

  • 'Not your Sunday psychogeographers: place and practice in contemporary small presses – Sophister module featuring a workshop with Coracle Press

  • 'Beckett' – MPhil series of lectures and seminars mapping Beckett’s distinct authorial procedure in his fiction, drama for stage and radio, film and poetry. Students consult Beckett’s papers in Trinity’s special collections

I also contribute to a number of modules at undergraduate and graduate levels:

  • 'Genre: An Introduction to Literature’ – team-taught Junior Fresh module that examines the concept of genre in order to introduce some of the thematic structures and critical perspectives that underpin English literary studies. I contribute the drama component of the module

  • ‘Reading Ireland’ – team-taught visiting student module that introduces students to a range of texts, authors, and issues in Irish writing. I contribute lectures on Beckett and contemporary non-fiction

  • ‘American Identities: Harlem Renaissance to the Present’ – team-taught Senior Fresh module. I contribute a lecture on Martha Gellhorn

  • 'Perspectives in Irish Writing’ – team-taught MPhil series of lectures and seminars that introduces students to the socio/cultural contexts in which Irish writing in English developed from the eighteenth through to the twenty-first century. I contribute lectures on J.M. Synge and contemporary non-fiction

  • ‘The Art of the Megacity’ – team-taught Trinity Elective module. I contribute a lecture on Moscow

Selected Publications


  • Beckett’s Art of Salvage (Cambridge University Press, 2017).


  • I am co-editing, with Léa Vuong (University of Sydney), a special issue of the journal Word & Image that will present scholarship by curators, art historians and literary critics emerging from the recently formed archives of the artist Louise Bourgeois (forthcoming)

  • ‘“I do, I undo, I redo”: Samuel Beckett and Louise Bourgeois’, Journal of Beckett Studies, Beckett’s female contemporaries, 2021

  • ‘Beckett, Brian O’Doherty and Brian Dillon: intermediality and the future anterior’, Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd’hui, 32, 1, 2020

  • ‘The political and aesthetic power of the everyday in Beckett’s Happy Days’, Journal of Beckett Studies, 28, 1, 2019


  • 'Materiality/Animality/Humanity’, The Oxford Handbook of Samuel Beckett, ed. Mark Nixon and Dirk Van Hulle (Oxford University Press, 2020)

  • ‘Essayism in contemporary Ireland’, The New Irish Studies: Twenty-First-Century Critical Revisions, ed. Paige Reynolds (Cambridge University Press, 2020)

  • ‘Beckett at the Gate’, Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre, ed. Nicholas Grene and Christopher Morash (Oxford University Press, 2016)

  • ‘Writing homelessness: Beckett’s creative response to the Second World War’, Irish Culture and Wartime Europe 1938-48, eds Dorothea Depner and Guy Woodward (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 2015)

  • ‘Beckett’s Maternal Miscellany’, New Voices: Inherited Lines, eds Claudia Reese and Yvonne O’Keeffe (New York: Peter Lang, 2013)

  • ‘Humble Relics: Beckett and van Gogh’s old boots’, Relational Designs in Literature and the Arts: Page and Stage, Canvas and Screen, ed. Rui Carvalho Homem (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2012)


Room 4077
Arts Building
School of English
Trinity College Dublin
+353 (0)1 896 1179


Back to top

« Back to Academic Staff index