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Festschrift for Tadhg Foley

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Maureen O'Connor

This Festschrift for Professor Tadhg Foley of the National University of Ireland, Galway, who retired in 2009, gathers together international contributors in the fields of poetry, politics and academia to honour this great man’s life and work. Professor Foley has not only been central in the development of Irish Studies and Colonial/Postcolonial Studies in Ireland and in the United States, but he has also enjoyed a long career as convivial host in his thatched cottage in Salthill, Galway. He remains one of the most popular and beloved figures in Irish academia. Among the eminent scholars included in the volume are Terry Eagleton, Robert Young, Penny Boumelha, David Lloyd, Luke Gibbons, Joep Leerssen and Maud Ellmann. The book is further enriched by poets Bernard O’Donoghue, Louis de Paor, Rita Ann Higgins, Michael D. Higgins and Tom Duddy. This collection is a rare and distinctive gathering of true and resonant voices, offering a unique portrait of late twentieth-century Irish literary and academic culture and its interplay with the United States.

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For Tadhg Anuradha Dingwaney Needham and Lawrence Needham 293

Extract

For Tadhg Anuradha Dingwaney Needham and Lawrence Needham Over dinner at our place once, when Edward Said had come to give a talk at Oberlin College, he moved seamlessly from discussing the food we were sharing to reflecting on how in colonial fiction (Forster’s Passage to India, we seem to recall) elaborate meals being offered and consumed are registered by the colonizers as a sign of waste, of a subjugated people’s fecklessness. For the colonized, however, they are understood as a sign of hospitality, of welcoming people into their homes and being secure among them- selves, of building solidarities and friendships. As beneficiaries of Tadhg’s hospitality, we like to think that his invitation to us, before he met us and while he knew of us only through his other friends – Aine O’Brien, Tom Moylan, and Luke Gibbons – resonates significantly with what Said was getting at. We were going to be in London for a semester in 1999, thinking of perhaps visiting Ireland again, when Aine and Tom urged us to contact Tadhg should we make the trip, and to meet with him and get to know him. Hesitant to impose on a stranger, we nonetheless got in touch – and were promptly invited to stay with him at his house in Galway. As we recall, it was spitting rain as we drove our small rental past the town centre in search of a shadowy destination: the HOUSE ON SALTHILL. We had toured Ireland before, visiting the castles, stone crosses, and herit-...

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