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Prof. Margaret Harper

Biography

A native of the US South, my degrees are from Florida State University (BA in Classics and English, summa cum laude, 1978) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (MA and PhD in English, 1981 and 1986).

My first academic position was as Assistant Professor at the Ohio State University in Marion (1986-89), after which I moved to Atlanta, Georgia, where I served as Assistant, Associate, and then Full Professor in English and Women's Studies at Georgia State University (1989-2010).

In 2010, I moved to Ireland to take up the post of Glucksman Professor in Contemporary Writing in English at UL. From January to June 2015, I served as an Adjunct Visiting Professor at the Université de Lille 3, Lille, France.

I've served as the Director of the Yeats International Summer School and the President of the International Yeats Society.

In addition to my passion for literature and language, I have abiding interests in classical and traditional music.

Research Interests

My research focuses on modern and contemporary Irish, US, and world literature in English, especially poetry. I am a specialist on W. B. Yeats, especially his occult life and work.

My book The Aristocracy of Art looks at the rhetoric of autobiographical fiction and its relationship to the issue of class in James Joyce and Thomas Wolfe. Wisdom of Two, my second book, analyses the spiritual and literary collaboration of W. B. and his wife George (Hyde Lees), especially their experiments with automatic writing. I have also been part of teams that have produced scholarly editions of the Yeatses' automatic writing and other occult experiments (Yeats's 'Vision' Papers) and the two versions of Yeats's book of esoteric philosophy, A Vision (1925 and 1937).

I write about literature from a perspective shaped by a love for and questioning of form. I'm interested in the relation between abstract form and felt experience, and I have an abiding interest in what escapes the patterns humans make in the world. Besides Irish literature, I also have particular interests in the literature of the US South, women's writing, and the relation between poetry and music.

I have served as Director of the Yeats International Summer School (2013-15) and as President of the International Yeats Society (2013-17).

Teaching Interests

I believe that good teaching is opening a space in which learning can occur. It requires listening as well as talking, stillness and silence as well as activity and communication. Although I talk a lot in the classroom, my goal is not necessarily to insert myself into the teaching and learning space but to notice what is needed and provide that.

I'm also of the opinion that teachers are obsolete as sources of knowledge. In the digital age, teachers are guides through thickets of information rather than yet another source of raw data. As a teacher of literature and writing, I am most valuable when I can show how important these things are to thinking deeply and well. I'm convinced that society and the individual people in it rarely thrive when such thinking is rare.

My courses are mostly in the areas of poetry and modern/contemporary literature in English, but basically I am fascinated by language and its arrangement into art, in literary and theoretical texts that range widely in the times and spaces of their composition.

Publications

Book

2015

A Vision (1937), Volume 14 of The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats
Harper Margaret Mills and Catherine Paul

2008

A Vision (1925), Volume 13 of The Collected Works of W. B. Yeats
Harper Margaret Mills and Catherine Paul

2001

Yeats's 'Vision' Papers, Volume 4
Harper Margaret Mills, Harper George Mills

Book Chapter

2014
2012

Reflected Voices, Double Visions
Harper Margaret Mills
Yeats's A Vision: Explications and Contexts

2011

‘The Real Thing': Ní Chuilleanáin and Mattering Bodies
Harper Margaret Mills
Irish Women Writers: New Critical Perspectives

2010

George Yeats
Harper Margaret Mills
W. B. Yeats in Context

2005

Yeats and the Occult
Harper Margaret Mills
The Cambridge Companion to W. B. Yeats

2003

Our Lives with Yeats's Ghosts: The Writing and the Editing of the Automatic Script
Harper Margaret Mills, Barbara J. Frieling and Sandra L. Sprayberry
Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies

2002
1997

Yeats's Religion
Harper Margaret Mills
Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies

1997

Fabric and Fame in the Odyssey and ‘Penelope'
Harper Margaret Mills
Gender in Joyce

1996

Bread and Wine, Coke and Peanuts: Teaching Sacramental Feasts
Harper Margaret Mills
Pedagogy, Praxis, Ulysses

1994

Twilight to Vision: Yeats's Collaborative Modernity
Harper Margaret Mills
Irishness and (Post)Modernism

1994

‘Taken in Drapery': Dressing the Narrative in the Odyssey and ‘Penelope'
Harper Margaret Mills
Molly Blooms: A Polylogue on 'Penelope' and Cultural Studies

1991

The Message is the Medium: Identity in the Automatic Script
Harper Margaret Mills
Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies

1988

The Medium as Creator: George Yeats's Role in the Automatic Script
Harper Margaret Mills
Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies

1983

Versions of History and Brother to Dragons
Harper Margaret Mills
Robert Penn Warren's 'Brother to Dragons': A Discussion

Other Journal

1987

Of Time and the River: The Problem of Authority
Harper Margaret Mills
The Thomas Wolfe Review

Other Publication

1997

Yeats's Worlds: Ireland, England and the Poetic Imagination, by David Pierce
Harper Margaret Mills
James Joyce Literary Supplement

1997

The Collected Letters of W. B. Yeats, Vol. 3 (1901–1904), ed. John Kelly and Ronald Schuchard
Harper Margaret Mills
Yeats: An Annual of Critical and Textual Studies

1995

Gender and History in Yeats's Love Poetry, by Elizabeth Butler Cullingford
Harper Margaret Mills
English Literature in Transition: 1880–1920

1994

Yeats and Artistic Power, by Phillip L. Marcus
Harper Margaret Mills
English Literature in Transition: 1880–1920

1993

Yeats and Postmodernism, ed. Leonard Orr
Harper Margaret Mills
Christianity and Literature

1993

Yeats and English Renaissance Literature, by Wayne K. Chapman
Harper Margaret Mills
South Carolina Review

1991

Swan and Shadow: Yeats's Dialogue with History, by Thomas R. Whitaker
Harper Margaret Mills
Christianity and Literature

1988

Look Homeward: A Life of Thomas Wolfe, by David Herbert Donald
Harper Margaret Mills
Southern Literary Journa

Peer Reviewed Journal

2011

‘a form created by passion to unite us to ourselves': The Masks of Pizzorno and Yeats
Harper Margaret Mills
International Political Anthropology

2010

Flesh and Bones: Anne Enright's The Gathering
Harper Margaret Mills
South Carolina Review

2004

An Interview with Michael Longley
Harper Margaret Mills and Michael Longley
Five Points: A Journal of Literature and Art

2004

Interview with Michael Longley
Harper Margaret Mills
Five Points: A Journal of Literature and Art

2002

Nemo: George Yeats and Her Automatic Script
Harper Margaret Mills
New Literary History

1997

An Interview with Eavan Boland
Harper Margaret Mills and Eavan Boland
Five Points: A Journal of Literature and Art

1997

The Authoritative Image: Yeats's Singing School
Harper Margaret Mills
Studies in the Literary Imagination