“The Four Irish Nobel Literary Laureates”—William Butler Yeats, George Bernard Shaw, Samuel Beckett, Seamus Heaney—in cast bronze by internationally noted Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie. The piece was commissioned and donated by former BC Trustee and Burns Library benefactor Brian P. Burns for installation at Boston College Ireland.

A four-week webinar series produced by Boston College is exploring the lives and works of the four Irishborn winners of the Nobel Prize in Literature: George Bernard Shaw, William Butler Yeats, Samuel Beckett, and Seamus Heaney.

The talks on the Irish Nobel Laureates are offered through “The Irish Influence,” a weekly Zoom-based program featuring major and rising figures in Irish cultural life,  launched last year through a collaboration between the BC Irish Studies Program and Boston College Ireland, with support by the Irish Consulate General in Boston.

Renowned Irish journalist and writer Fintan O’Toole appeared on the opening installment on January 22 to discuss the life and career of George Bernard Shaw.

The second event in the series, on January 29, focused on W.B. Yeats with literary critic and cultural historian Lauren Arrington, author of the 2010 book W.B. Yeats, the Abbey Theatre, Censorship, and the Irish State. A professor of English at Maynooth University, Arrington is a director of the Yeats International Summer School.

Lois More Overbeck, an Emory University faculty member, has published widely on Samuel Beckett and modern drama. She will join "The Irish Influence" on February 5, followed February 12 by a discussion of Seamus Heaney with Emory University Irish Studies Program Director Geraldine Higgins, curator of the National Library of Ireland’s “Seamus Heaney: Now Listen Again” exhibition.

Held in partnership with Turlough McConnell Communications, the Irish Nobel Laureates series celebrates the installation at Boston College Ireland of the cast bronze sculpture “The Four Irish Nobel Literary Laureates,” by internationally noted Irish sculptor Rowan Gillespie. The work was commissioned by former University Trustee Brian P. Burns, principal benefactor of the John J. Burns Library of Rare Books and Special Collections at Boston College, which holds premier collections of manuscripts and first and early editions of all four writers, as well as the archives of other notable Irish poets and novelists.

The sculpture is a gift from Burns and his wife, Eileen, to mark the 20th anniversary of Boston College’s acquisition of the Georgian townhouse at St. Stephen's Green in Dublin that houses BC Ireland. The new sculpture is a twin of the 2011 version that Burns commissioned Gillespie to create for Burns Library, which is named for his father, Judge John J. Burns '21.

“The Irish Influence” events take place on Fridays at 4:30 p.m.; register here. Episodes also are archived on YouTube.

University Communications | January 2021