Joe Cleary

Joe Cleary's picture
John M. Schiff Professor of English

Ph.D. Columbia University, 1997

I teach and research mainly in the areas of modernism, Irish, postcolonial and world literatures. My most recent books are Modernism, Empire, World Literature (2021) and The Irish Expatriate Novel in Late Capitalist Globalization (2021). Modernism, Empire, World Literature examines how Irish and American writers transformed the London- and Paris-centered world literary system in the period after World War I. The Irish Expatriate Novel in Late Capitalist Globalization examines how Irish writers have engaged with the wider world beyond Ireland in the post-Cold War era in the contexts of a shift of the center of gravity of the Anglophone world literary system from England to the United States and the contemporary rise of China. This book was awarded the American Conference for Irish Studies Robert Rhodes prize for books on Irish Literature in 2022. Earlier, I have written on national literatures and partition in Literature, Partition and the Nation-State: Culture and Conflict in Ireland, Israel and Palestine (2002) and on nineteenth- and twentieth-century literary, cinematic, and music cultures in Outrageous Fortune: Capital and Culture in Modern Ireland (2007). Edited volumes include The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism (2014) and (with Claire Connolly) The Cambridge Companion to Modern Irish Culture (2005). I have edited three special journal issues: on Ireland’s financial crisis in ‘Ireland after the Celtic Tiger: From Boom to Bust’ with Boundary 2 (Spring 2018); on ‘Peripheral Realisms’ (with Jed Esty and Colleen Lye) in MLQ (September 2012); and on ‘Empire Studies’ (with Michael de Nie) for Éire-Ireland (Summer 2007).

I convene the ‘Left Literary Studies’ graduate study group at Yale and write on literary and cultural topics for the Dublin Review of Books, The Irish Times, and other media.


Undergraduate“The Irish Revival and Modernism”; “Novels of Education and Formation”; “The Modernist Novel in the 1920s”; “Ulysses and Omeros: The Postcolonial Epic,”  “English World Literatures”; “Modernism, Empire, World Crisis, 1890-1950”; “Irish and Irish-American Modernisms”; “Imperial and Anti-Imperial Writing.” 

Graduate“Western Marxist and Postcolonial Cultural Theory”; “Modernism, Empire, World Crisis, 1890-1950”; “Imperial and Anti-Imperial Epic”; “Modernism, Imperialism, and Globalization.”

Work in Progress

I am currently researching and publishing on topics including the history and prospects of the English department as institution, literature and the idea of Europe, and Irish literary and cultural history from the nineteenth century to the present.  

Selected Publications


“Decolonizing the English Department in Ireland,” in Ato Quayson and Ankhi Mukherjee, eds. Decolonizing the English Literary Curriculum (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2022).

“Foreword,” Seamus Deane, Small World: Ireland, 1798-2018 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021), ix-xxvii.

“The Irish Realist Novel,” Irish Literature in Transition, 1980-2020, Volume 5, edited by Eric Falci and Paige Reynolds (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), 211-227.

“Said, Postcolonial Studies, and World Literature” in Bashir Abu-Manneh, After Said: Postcolonial Literary Studies in the Twenty-First Century (Cambridge University Press, 2019), 129-146.

“Sing Muse, Of Irish Suburbia,” Imagining Irish Suburbia in Literature and Culture, edited Eoghan Smith and Simon Workman (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2018), v-ix (Foreword).

“McGahern’s Rages,” Derek Hand and Eamon Maher, (editors), John McGahern (1934-2006): Assessing a Literary Legacy (Cork: Cork University Press, 2018), 162-180.

“The Catholic Twilight,” in Eamon Maher and Eugene O’Brien (eds), Tracing the Cultural Legacy of Irish Catholicism: From Galway to Cloyne and Beyond (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2017), 209-225.

“Introduction” in Joe Cleary, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 1-20.

“European, American and Imperial Conjunctures” in Joe Cleary, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 35-50.

“Irish American Modernisms” in Joe Cleary, ed., The Cambridge Companion to Irish Modernism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2014), 174-194.

“Irish Writing and Postcolonialism,” The Cambridge History of Postcolonial Literatures, 2 Volumes, Editor Ato Quayson, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011)


“The World and the Book: Centenary Notes on Ulysses,” Dublin Review of Books, February 2022.

“Irish Postcolonial Studies, 1980-2021,” Radical History, Special Issue, May 2022 (in press)

“The English Department as Imperial Commonwealth, or The Global Past and Global Future of English Studies,” Boundary 2, Volume 48, Number 1 (February 2021): 139-176.

“Freedom’s Just Another Word,” Dublin Review of Books, Issue 125, July 2020 [online]

“Horseman Pass By!”: The Neoliberal World System and the Crisis in Irish Literature,” Boundary 2, Volume 45, Number 1, February 2018: 135-179.

“Old Europe, Aging America: A Review Essay on Franco Moretti’s Distant Reading,” Dublin Review of Books, Issue 70, September 2015 [online].

“Republicanism and Aristocracy in Modern Ireland,” Field Day Review, 10, 2014, 5-39.

“Mandela, Charisma and Compromise,” Boundary 2, 41, 2, Summer 2014, 11-13.

“Hedgehog in the Road of History: Form and Time in the Work of John McGahern,” The John McGahern Yearbook, Vol. 5 (2012-13), X-X

“Realism After Modernism and the Literary World-System,” Modern Language Quarterly, 73, 3 (September 2012): 255-68.

“Dark Fields of the Republic: Seamus Deane’s Sundered Provinces,” Boundary 2, Summer 2010, Vol. 37, Issue 2: 1-68.