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Professor Nicholas Grene B.A. (Dublin) Ph.D. (Cambridge), F.T.C.D., M.R.I.A.Professor Emeritus


Research and Teaching Interests

Nicholas Grene was Professor of English Literature in the School of English 1999 until his retirement in 2015; he is a Member of the Royal Irish Academy and a Life Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge. Taking his first degree in TCD (1969) and his PhD at the University of Cambridge (1973), he lectured at the University of Liverpool for seven years before returning to Trinity in 1979, where he was Head of Department in English for three different terms (1984-8, 1994-7, 2001-3).

Professor Grene's main research interests are in drama, primarily on Shakespeare and modern Irish theatre, but he has also worked on Irish poetry and on Indian literature in English. He is the author of a number of books including Synge: a Critical Study of the Plays (Macmillan, 1975), Shakespeare, Jonson, Molière: the Comic Contract (Macmillan, 1980), Bernard Shaw: a Critical View (Macmillan, 1984), Shakespeare's Tragic Imagination (Macmillan, 1992), The Politics of Irish Drama (Cambridge University Press, 1999), Shakespeare's Serial History Plays (Cambridge University Press, 2002), Yeats's Poetic Codes (Oxford University Press, 2008), R.K. Narayan (Northcote House 2011), Home on the Stage: Domestic Spaces in Modern Drama (Cambridge University Press 2014) and The Theatre of Tom Murphy: Playwright Adventurer (Bloomsbury 2017).  His latest book, Farming in Modern Irish Literature, is due out from Oxford University Press in 2021.

He has also edited and co-edited several works: J.M. Synge's The Well of the Saints (Catholic University of America Press, 1982), and Travelling Ireland: Essays 1898-1908 (Lilliput Press, 2009); Tradition and Influence in Anglo-Irish Poetry (Macmillan, 1989) with Terence Brown; Shaw, Lady Gregory and the Abbey: a Correspondence and a Record (Colin Smythe, 1993) with Dan H. Laurence; Interpreting Synge: Essays from the Synge Summer School 1991-2000 (Lilliput 2000); Talking about Tom Murphy (Carysfort Press, 2002); George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara (Methuen, 2008); Synge and Edwardian Ireland (Oxford University Press, 2011) with Brian Cliff; Oxford Handbook of Modern Irish Theatre (Oxford University Press, 2016) with Chris Morash.

An Andrew W. Mellon Fund Fellow at the Huntington Library in California in 1994, he was the founding Director of the Synge Summer School (1991-2000) and was the founding chair of the Irish Theatrical Diaspora research network, for which he co-edited three volumes: Irish Theatre on Tour (Carysfort Press, 2005), with Chris Morash, Interactions: Dublin Theatre Festival 1957-2007 (Carysfort Press, 2008), with Patrick Lonergan, and again with Patrick Lonergan, Irish Theatre: Local and Global Perspectives (Carysfort Press, 2012). He was the holder of a IRCHSS Thematic Project grant (2007-10) for a joint research project with NUI, Galway on 'The Internationalization of Irish Drama 1975-2005.'

He has taught widely across the range of literature and drama in English, including courses on theatre, Shakespeare, Indian literature in English, modern Irish drama. He has taught undergraduate courses and more advanced specialist options on Tom Murphy, Brian Friel and Shakespeare's tragedies, Patrick Kavanagh, John McGahern and Seamus Heaney. He has supervised many research students on Boucicault, Beckett, Brian Friel, Irish theatre and film.

He was responsible for the introduction of the outreach evening lectures in English and has acted as co-ordinator for many of these very successful series. He has been a guest lecturer in many different countries and has held visiting professorships at the University of New South Wales (2003), Dartmouth College (2004) and the University of Paris IV-Sorbonne (2009). He is married with four children.


Professor Nicholas Grene
Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing
Trinity College
Dublin 2

Telephone: + 353 404 46134


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