James P. Farrelly

James P. Farrelly

James P. Farrelly is a Professor of English and Director of Film Studies at the University of Dayton where he has taught for more than thirty years. His specialty is Irish literature and drama, but he also teaches courses in science fiction and modern fantasy, popular literature, and film and literature. He has a keen scholarly interest in the primal forms of storytelling—myth, folktales, and fairy tales—and in the roles they play in opening windows on the world for readers of all ages.

Patterns of Culture

Storytelling exists in all cultures and traces its roots to early efforts of humans to define and explain the world around them: their origins, their communities, and their survival. Many myths, folktales, and fairy tales evolved out of this oral tradition and eventually were written down and preserved for posterity. This presentation will examine cross-cultural links in these stories and will propose that the human imagination may well spring from a common source.

Fantasy and Science Fiction

Writers of fantasy literature and science fiction answer the call “to boldly go” where no one has gone before. When we sign on and enter the otherworlds they have created, we vicariously experience an odyssey of the mind that can teach us important lessons about our own existence and what it means to be human. In this presentation we will explore some of these constructed worlds and test the proposition that “Literature is life.”

The Struggle for Irish Independence 
When the self-ordained members of “The Provisional Government of the Irish Republic” issued their Easter Proclamation on Easter Monday, April 24, 1916, they seized the moment and declared “the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”  These ordinary citizens of Ireland took on the mighty British government, challenged its occupation of the Irish Republic, and demanded independence for all of Ireland.  Though the Easter Rising failed to achieve its immediate goal of overthrowing English rule, the “terrible beauty” of the event and the bravery of the sixteen dead leaders who gave their lives for Irish freedom would eventually lead first to a disputed  treaty, a civil war over its acceptance, decades of unrest and violence between political and religious factions in a divided Ireland, and finally a fragile brokered peace in the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.   In 2016, we commemorated the centennial of the Easter Rising, and now we are poised to assess the role the past and the present have played in paving the way for an independent and perhaps United Ireland in the future.

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