Call for Papers: Catherine O’Flaherty Chopin’s Irish Eyes
Panel co-sponsored by the Kate Chopin International Society,
Transatlantic Women 3 Conference: Women of the Green Atlantic
Dublin, Ireland Royal Irish Academy
21-22 June 2018
Before we knew her as Kate Chopin, the author of The Awakening was christened Catherine O’Flaherty by her parents, Eliza Faris and Thomas O’Flaherty, the latter of whom emigrated to America from County Galway, Ireland. Given that O’Flaherty died when Chopin was very young, that Chopin was raised by maternal relatives of French descent, that she grew up in a city originally part of the Louisiana territory and named after a French Catholic saint, and that she married into a French family, much of Chopin scholarship has focused on French and French-American influences in her life and fiction. However, around the time Chopin was born in 1850, nearly 10,000 Irish emigrated to St. Louis in yet a second wave of nineteenth-century Irish immigration to America. The neighborhood of Kerry Patch developed to the city’s north, and parish churches such as St. Patrick’s, St. Bridget of Erin, and St. Lawrence O’Toole served a growing Irish population. When she died in 1904, Chopin lived on a street with an Irish surname: McPherson Avenue.
In keeping with the Transatlantic Women 3 conference theme, this panel invites papers that consider “Irish/American crosscurrents of the long nineteenth century” that might have influenced Chopin’s view of the world. How might we theorize the degree to which Ireland’s legacy—both in Europe and America—influenced the fiction Chopin bequeathed to us? Papers may address any topic related to Chopin as part of “the Irish-American nexus,” including but not limited to: Irish history in St. Louis; Chopin’s Irish relatives, friends, and contacts; or Irish characters in her fiction.
Please send abstracts of 250 words to Bonnie Shaker, firstname.lastname@example.org, on or before 6 October 2017. Conference details may be found in the Transatlantic Women 3 link, above.