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Dr Seán Hewitt B.A. (Cantab), M.A. (Lpool), Ph.D. (Lpool) Teaching Fellow in Twentieth-Century British & Irish Literature



Before joining Trinity, I previously 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 co-editor, with Dr Anna Pilz, of a special issue of Nineteenth-Century Contexts, focusing on ‘Ecologies of the Atlantic Archipelago’, and am currently involved in establishing an all-Ireland research network in the environmental humanities.

I also work as a poet, and my debut collection, Tongues of Fire, was published by Jonathan Cape in 2020.  Currently, I am working on some collaborative poetry projects with Fine Press Poetry and the artists Amy Jeffs and Jo Sweeting. In addition to this, I am writing a memoir, provisionally titled All Down Darkness Wide, which is under contract with Jonathan Cape. 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 also 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.



  • 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)

Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • ‘The Comedies of the Irish Revival’, Forum for Modern Language Studies (forthcoming 2021)

  • ‘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)

Reference Works

  • ‘W.B. Yeats’, in Poetry Criticism (Columbia, SC: Layman Poupard, 2020)

  • ‘Writing and Evolutionary Theory’, in Oxford Bibliographies in British and Irish Literature, ed. Andrew Hadfield (New York: Oxford University Press, 2019)

  • ‘The Abbey Theatre’, in Oxford Bibliographies in British and Irish Literature, ed. Andrew Hadfield (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018)

Book Chapters

  • ‘Yeats’s Sacred Grove’, in The Edinburgh Companion to Modernism, Myth & Religion, ed. Suzanne Hobson and Andrew Radford (Edinburgh University Press, forthcoming)

  • ‘Fairy and Folk Tales of Bedford Park’, in The Oxford Handbook of W.B. Yeats, ed. Lauren Arrington and Matthew Campbell (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021)

  • ‘Irish Modernism: A Queer History’, in Irish Modernisms: Gaps, Conjectures, Possibilities, ed. Tamara Radak, Paul Fagan, and John Greaney (Bloomsbury, forthcoming)

  • ‘Emily Lawless’, in Acts of Attention: Irish Women Poets, 18th-20th Centuries, ed. Maria Johnston and Connor Linnie (Cork: Cork University Press, 2020)

  • ‘Emily Lawless: The Child as Natural Historian’, in Sinéad Mooney and Kathryn Laing, eds., Irish Women’s Writing at the Turn of the 20th Century (EER Press, 2020)

  • ‘Seumas O’Sullivan and Revivalist Nature Poetry’, in Matthew Kelly, ed., Nature and the Environment in Nineteenth-Century Ireland (Liverpool: Liverpool University Press, 2019)

  • ‘Natural History and the Irish Revival’, in Kathryn Conrad, Cóilín Parsons and Julie McCormick Weng, eds., Science, Technology, and Irish Modernism (New York: Syracuse University Press, 2019)

Edited Volumes

  • 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
Dublin 2


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