Dr Seán Hewitt B.A. (Cantab), M.A. (Lpool), Ph.D. (Lpool) Teaching Fellow in Twentieth-Century British & Irish Literature
I am a poet, writer and literary critic. Before joining Trinity, I held postdoctoral positions at University College Cork and at TCD, funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Irish Research Council, respectively. My teaching and research interests are mainly focused on late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century British and Irish literature. I also have an ongoing interest in the environmental humanities, and in studies of literature and science.
My first book-length study, J.M. Synge: Nature, Politics, Modernism (Oxford University Press, 2021), draws on extensive archival research to illuminate the political, spiritual and aesthetic underpinnings of Synge’s work, and traces his progression towards modernism. I have also published on the works of other Revivalists, including W.B. Yeats, Seumas O’Sullivan, Lady Gregory and, more recently, the poet and novelist Emily Lawless.
My ongoing book project, provisionally entitled ‘Acts of Enchantment: Natural History in British and Irish Literature, 1870-1930’, explores the ways in which writers sought to incorporate and depict the scientific study of the natural world in their works. This project won the Maurice J. Bric Medal of Excellence in 2019. Focusing on modes of ‘enchantment’, it explores the various spiritual turns of post-Darwinian literature through an attention to tactile modes of nature study. Some of the writers I study in this respect include Gerard Manley Hopkins, Emily Lawless, W.B. Yeats, W.H. Hudson, D.H. Lawrence and Virginia Woolf.
I am the author of a poetry collection, Tongues of Fire, (Jonathan Cape 2020), which was shortlisted for, amongst others, The Sunday Times Young Writer of the Year Award and won The Laurel Prize in 2021. My memoir All Down Darkness Wide, (Jonathan Cape), was published in 2022. My next book, Three Hundred Thousand Kisses (Penguin, 2023), will be the first book of its kind. Illustrated by Luke Edward Hall, these new versions of both Ancient Greek and Latin texts – from graffiti to incantations, satires to dialogues, histories to poetic myths – bring to readers, for the first time, a full range of the thrilling, multi-faceted and colourful queer tales of the Classical Mediterranean.
I am also a Poetry Critic for The Irish Times.
I teach a range of undergraduate and postgraduate modules at Trinity. With Dr. Tom Walker, I co-ordinate and teach the ‘Genres’ module for Junior Fresher students. I contribute lectures and tutorials for the Senior Fresher module ‘Modernisms: Making it New’. I also teach two optional Sophister modules, ‘The English Estate Novel’ and ‘Literature after Darwin’, and contribute lectures to the M.Phil in Irish Writing and the M.Phil in Modern and Contemporary Literary Studies.
- Three Hundred Thousand Kisses: Queer Love in the Ancient World, illustrated by Luke Edward Hall (Penguin, 2023)
- All Down Darkness Wide (Jonathan Cape, 2022)
- J.M. Synge: Nature, Politics, Modernism (Oxford University Press, 2021)
- Buile Suibhne: Poems, with illustrations by Amy Jeffs (Fine Press Poetry, 2021)
- Tongues of Fire (Jonathan Cape, 2020)
- ‘The Comedies of the Irish Revival’, Forum for Modern Language Studies (forthcoming 2022)
- ‘Gerard Manley Hopkins’s “Skies of Couple-Colour”’, Victorian Poetry, Vol. 58, No. 4 (Fall, 2020)
- ‘Yeats’s Re-Enchanted Nature’, International Yeats Studies, Vol. 2, No. 2 (2018)
- ‘Dialectics, Irony, and J.M. Synge’s The Well of the Saints’, Review of English Studies, Vol. 68, No. 286 (2017)
- ‘“A Black Knot”: Temporalities, Modernisation, and the One-Act Plays of J.M. Synge’, English Studies, Vol. 97, No. 8 (2016)
- ‘“An Initiated Mystic”: Modernization and Occultism in Synge’s The Aran Islands’, New Hibernia Review, Vol. 19, No. 4 (2015)
- with Anna Pilz, Nineteenth-Century Contexts, Special Issue: ‘Ecologies of the Atlantic Archipelago’ (May 2021)
- Ten Poems from the Countryside, ed. with introduction (Candlestick Press, 2020)
Dr. Seán Hewitt
School of English
Trinity College Dublin