February 28, 2007

Fanning facilitates re-publication of novels

by Sun Min

CARBONDALE, Ill. – Five novels by the late Chicago writer James T. Farrell are being re-published with introductions by an internationally recognized Irish studies scholar at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Charles F. Fanning, SIUC distinguished scholar and director of Irish and Irish immigration studies and professor of English and history, provided new introductions to five Farrell novels, which are famous for the range and depth of realistic portraits of Chicago's various populations.

SIUC's College of Liberal Arts and the SIU Foundation will hold two receptions to launch the books on Friday, March 16, from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Chicago Cultural Center and on Saturday, March 17, at 10 a.m. in Chicago's Newberry Library. The cultural center event is by invitation only and the Newberry Library reception is free and open to the public.

"I am tremendously excited to have facilitated the re-publication of Farrell's O'Neill-O'Flaherty series, and I'm grateful to the University of Illinois Press for its commitment to this big project – five novels and over 2,000 pages of fiction," Fanning said. "These novels contain matchless, vivid portraits of American city life from the 1890s to the 1930s, with focus on the consciousness of Danny O'Neill, a working-class Irish kid from the South Side of Chicago who makes his way toward the dream of being a writer."

No stranger to Irish-American culture, Fanning grew up in Norwood, Mass., an area settled by Irish immigrants from Galway. He began his scholarly career in 1970 focusing on Irish-American literature, but he soon branched out to include history, culture and immigration. Fanning joined SIUC's English department in 1993.

Fanning's first book, "Finley Peter Dunne and Mr. Dooley: The Chicago Years," won the Organization of American Historians Frederick Jackson Turner Award in 1979. His book, "The Irish Voice in America: Irish American Fiction from the 1760s to the 1980s," was published in 1990 and won the American Conference for Irish Studies prize for literary criticism. In 2004, Fanning won SIUC's top academic honor, the Outstanding Scholar award, for his work on Irish in America.

Fanning earned a bachelor's degree from Harvard College in 1964, a master's from Harvard University in 1966, and master's and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968 and 1972.

For more information about Irish studies at SIUC, visit www.siu.edu/~ireland.