This February, the Irish writer W. B. Yeats (1865–1939) finally got the trip to India he never took in person. Professor Margaret Mills Harper (UL) and Professor Dhananjay Singh from the Centre for English Studies at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) co-hosted a two-day conference in New Delhi on Yeats and India.
Yeats’s interests in India are well known: he discovered a rich source of his creative ideas in Indian literature, philosophy, and culture. In India today, Yeats is studied more than almost any English-language writer of the last century.
At the conference, scholars and students from India, Ireland, Bangladesh, Hungary, Spain, the UK, and the US shared research on a wide range of topics, ranging from Yeats and Indian sacred books, Tantrism, Buddhism, and yoga, to postcolonial politics and translation—as well as enjoying contemporary Indian poetry, a dance performance, and the chance to further scholarly and personal networks.
The conference was part of a collaborative link between UL and JNU. The delegation from UL also featured Kerstin Mey, Vice President, Academic Affairs & Student Engagement; Mayuri Goswami, MA in Creative Writing; and Josephine Page, Director of the International Education Division.
The Embassy of Ireland in India co-sponsored the event, which will result in future publications and conferences, student and faculty exchanges, and other possibilities between a small island of great writers and a continent-sized country with some of the richest culture on earth.
Following the conference, Professors Harper and Singh, along with other senior scholars, presented lectures at the Indian Institute for Advanced Study in Shimla, in the Himalayas.