Clair Wills

D. Phil., University of Oxford.  Clair Wills joined the faculty in 2015, having previously taught at Queen Mary, University of London, and the University of Essex. She studies Irish and British literature and culture, with a focus on the twentieth century, and issues of historical and political representation.  Her first publications were as a critic of contemporary Northern Irish poetry, examining representations of gender, history and politics in the work of writers such as Paul Muldoon, Medbh McGuckian and Tom Paulin.  Books in this area include Improprieties: Politics and Sexuality in Northern Irish Poetry (1993) and Reading Paul Muldoon (1998).  During the 1990s she was involved in a large-scale collaborative project dedicated to anthologizing Irish women's writing, published as The Field Day Anthology of Irish Women's Writing (2002). Since then her focus has shifted towards cultural and social history, in studies such as the prize-winning That Neutral Island: A History of Ireland during the Second World War (2007) and Dublin 1916: The Siege of the GPO (2009).  Her most recent book is a study of the cultures of Irish migration to post-war Britain, The Best Are Leaving: Emigration and Post-War Irish Culture (2015).  She is currently writing a broader cultural history of post-war Britain, told from the perspective of European and Commonwealth immigrants, which will be published by Penguin Random House.  She is Chair of Princeton’s Fund for Irish Studies series of events and seminars.

    Selected Publications: 

    Recent Books

    The Best are Leaving: Emigration and Post-War Irish Culture (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

    Dublin 1916: The Siege of the GPO (London: Profile, 2009; Boston: Harvard University Press, 2009), 254pp.

    That Neutral Island: A History of Ireland during the Second World War (London: Faber and Faber, 2007; Boston, Harvard University Press, 2007), 547pp.

    General Editor, with Bourke, Kilfeather, Luddy, MacCurtain, Meaney, Ní Dhonnchadha, O’Dowd., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Women’s Writing and Traditions, vols. 4 & 5 (Cork: Cork University Press in association with Field Day, 2002), 3201pp.

    Recent Articles

    Realism and the Irish Immigrant', Modern Language Quarterly, 73 (2012), 373-94.

    The Parrot’s Lie: Autumn Sequel and the BBC', in Edna Longley and Fran Brearton eds., Incorrigibly Plural: Louis MacNeice and his Legacy (Manchester: Carcanet Press, 2012), 190-203.

    '1916', British and Irish Literature, Oxford Bibliographies, 2012.

    '"And Then There Was India": Imagining India in Ireland in the late 1940s', Media History, 15 (2009), 423-37.

    '"Half Different":  The Vanishing Irish in Elizabeth Bowen’s A World of Love', in Eibhear Walshe ed., Elizabeth Bowen: Vision and Revisions (Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2008).

    'Paul Muldoon and the Dead', in Elmer Andrews ed., Paul Muldoon: Poetry, Prose, Drama. A Collection of Critical Essays (Gerrards Cross: Colin Smythe, 2006), 189-98.

    'Women Writers and the Death of Rural Ireland: Realism and Nostalgia in the 1940s', Eire-Ireland: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Irish Studies 41 (2006), 192-212.

    'The Aesthetics of Irish Neutrality during the Second World War', boundary 2, 31 (2004), 119-46.

    Reviews of Recent Publications

    Dublin 1916: The Siege of the GPO

    That Neutral Island: A Cultural History of Ireland during World War II