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English Faculty

Gregory Baker – Assistant Professor and Director of Irish Studies

Gregory Baker

Dr. Gregory Baker is Assistant Professor of English and Director of Irish Studies at Catholic University. He joined the faculty at CUA in 2013. Dr. Baker specializes in twentieth-century Irish and British literature, and is specifically interested in the literary, social and political Nachleben of classical languages and literatures in the twentieth century. 

In a book-in-progress entitled “Half-read Wisdom”: Classics, Modernism and the Celtic Fringe, Dr. Baker examines the relationship between ideology, antiquity and the emergence of modernist style in depth. The “half-read” or partial knowledge of classical and Celtic languages had a major impact, he argues, on the formation of political and linguistic nationalisms in early twentieth-century Ireland, Scotland and Wales. The broad reception of classics also exercised a dominant influence over major forms of modernist expression—forms which often arose as part of a complex response to ‘nation-building’ on the British Isles. Though largely untrained in classical and Celtic language, W. B. Yeats, James Joyce, David Jones and Hugh MacDiarmid each found new ways to bring the authority and example of antiquity into newly forged multilingual forms of modernist writing. From both an historical and a formal perspective, Dr. Baker documents the development of their multilingualism—the modernism of the ‘Celtic Fringe’—and sets out, in conclusion, a comparative genealogy which illustrates the diverse ways by which classical and Celtic languages were syntactically registered and ideologically translated into the idioms of Yeats, Joyce, Jones and MacDiarmid. 

In addition to directing the undergraduate certificate in Irish studies, Dr. Baker teaches a regular rotation of courses in twentieth-century Irish and British literature. This past autumn he taught the required English class for CUA's Irish studies certificate, “Modern Irish Literature, 1798–1998” as well as two graduate seminars, "Introduction to the Profession of Letters" and “Celtic Revivals”. This latter course examines in depth the complex cultural history of so-called Celtic Revivals in modern France, Ireland, Scotland and Wales. Special attention is given to examining how these movements impacted the development of transnational modernism. In semesters past, Dr. Baker has also taught classes on the history of the novel, on the work of Seamus Heaney, on English war poetry and on the major writing of W. B. Yeats, T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound and James Joyce.

Dr. Baker earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in Comparative Literature at Brown University. His undergraduate degree was taken in Classics at the University of Chicago.

Baker teaching outside

Research

Publications

Half-read Wisdom: Classics, Modernism and the Celtic Fringe, book manuscript in progress.

Introduction, co-written with Kenneth Haynes. The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature: Volume 5, 1880-2000. Kenneth Haynes, ed. (forthcoming from Oxford University Press).

"Classical Reception in English Literature, 1880-2000: An Annotated Bibliography." The Oxford History of Classical Reception in English Literature: Volume 5, 1880-2000. Kenneth Haynes, ed. (forthcoming from Oxford University Press).

"'Attic Salt into an Undiluted Scots': Aristophanes and the Modernism of Douglas Young." Brill's Companion to the Reception of Aristophanes. Philip Walsh, ed. (Leiden, 2016) 307-30.

"An edition of Jones’s address to the University of Wales, on receiving the honorary degree of Litterarum Doctor, 15 July 1960." David Jones, Culture and ArtificeKathleen Henderson Staudt, ed. Flashpoint 18 (Summer 2016).

 

Contact

Office: 234 Marist Annex 
The Catholic University of America
620 Michigan Ave.
Washington, D.C. 20064

Phone: 202-319-5145

E-mail: bakerg@cua.edu 

Courses

  • ENG 306: Dublin and the Invention of Ireland
  • ENG 368: Seamus Heaney and His Contexts
  • ENG 402: English Poetry and World War
  • ENG 405: Yeats, Eliot and Pound
  • ENG 431/2: Senior Seminar – Yeats and Joyce
  • ENG 808: Ulysses ENG 894: Celtic Revivals


Education

Ph.D., Comparative Literature, Brown University, 2013.

M.A., Comparative Literature, Brown University, 2009.

B.A., Classical Languages, University of Chicago, 2003.

Areas of Expertise

  • 20th-century Irish and British literature
  • Modernism
  • Reception theory and translation studies
  • Social and political history of classics on the British Isles
  • Literary multilingualism and comparative literature
  • The poetry and criticism of Geoffrey Hill