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Daniel O’Leary, PhD

Assistant Professor, English

Daniel O’Leary, PhD

My recent research has focused on transnational and transatlantic Canadian genre and print culture studies, intellectual and academic culture in Canada, and the print culture of Canadian, especially Irish-Canadian, cultural communities.  This has included work on Canadian bibliography and literary and intellectual publishing in The History of the Book in Canada  (volumes two and three), and on Irish subjects both as an editor of previously unpublished essays of George Bernard Shaw and as a contributor of a critical and literary historical chronology to the Cambridge Handbook to Irish Fiction.  These studies have deeply influenced my critical conceptions of Canadian literature and print culture. The easy accessibility of online digital and electronic texts has opened a wide range of primary source materials for Quebec and Canadian studies, and this improved access documents the need for a modification of literary critical approaches to the Canadian literary canon inherited from earlier critical periods in the works of modernist and late 20th-century critics of Canadian literature.

My current work addresses the insistence of these critics on a literary standard, or “literariness” increasingly problematic.  Theoretical approaches to subjectivity and re-evaluation of notions of genre have sensitized recent critics to the necessity for a more nuanced hermeneutics in discussions of colonial-era and early Canadian writing.    Newly electronically-available and numerous early Canadian imprints relating phases of experience and social conditions provide a valuable archive of materials for study across a spectrum of genres, texts and marginalia pertinent both to the study of Canadian literary subjects in general and of those of Montreal and Quebec writing in particular.   The three-volume History of the Book in Canada (HBIC) and the collections of the Canadian Institute for Historical Micro-reproductions (CIHM) available online on Early Canadiana Online (ECO), together provide a wide field of previously marginalised literature, with information on the whole range of what American book historian Robert Darnton has famously termed the “communications circuit.”  The three-volume History of the Book in Canada is highly suggestive, and provides clear methodological models, but the project is not exhaustive. Most notably, HBIC overlooks the important literary production of Irish-Canadians as a group, a lacuna disadvantageous to a full understanding both of 19th-century Canadian literary culture and of Montreal and Quebec English-language literature more specifically. My current work addresses this subject.


PhD, English, University of British Columbia, 2000.Concentrations included 19th-century British and Victorian-Canadian Literature,Modern British Literature, History of Philology, English Grammar and Rhetoric. Thesis: Britons in the New Dominion: Philology and Raciological Thought in Victorian Culture, supervised by Jonathan Wisenthal. Committee members and advisors included John Willinsky, Nicholas Hudson, William New, Carole Gerson, Pamela Dalziel, Patricia Fleming, Yvan Lamonde and Stephen Partridge.

MA, English, Concordia University, 1994.  Concentrations included 19th-century and modern English, Irish, and Canadian poetry and literature, and English philology.

BA (Double Honours), English and Philosophy, Saint Mary's University, 1984.

Research and teaching interests

Early Canadian print culture and book history.
Early Canadian poetry
Early Canadian fiction
Modern Canadian poetry
Mordern Canadian fiction
Canadian semiotics
Literary hermeneutics
Canadian intellectual history
Irish-Canadian literature
James Joyce
George Bernard Shaw
Modern British poetry
History of philology and historical linguistics
Victorian literature and intellectual culture

Grants / Research projects

Canada Council B Grant, May 2004.
Messenger Fellowship in English, May 1998 - May 1999.
SSHRC Research Assistantship, J. Wisenthal, supervisor, May 1995 - December  1998.
SSHRC Research Assistantship, N. Hudson, supervisor, May 1997 - September 1998.
University of British Columbia Teaching Assistantships, September 1994 - May, 1998.
Canada Council Explorations Grant Recipient, Montréal, August 1990 - April 1991

Other activities

Transatlantic Studies Association; Canadian Association of Irish Studies; The Bibliographical Society of Canada; International Shaw Society; Sociétés historiques et scientifiques de France; Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies; Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada; Ireland-Quebec Research Group, Centre for Canadian Irish Studies.

Selected publications


What Shaw Really Wrote About the War.  Co-Editor with J .L. Wisenthal.  University of Florida Press 2006, 310 pp.


 “Censored and Embedded Shaw: Print Culture and Shavian Analysis of Wartime Media” in Shaw: The Annual of Bernard Shaw Studies, no. 28. Pennsylvania State University Press (2008).

 “Irish-Canadian Identity, Imperial Nationalism: Irish Book History and Print Culture in Victorian Quebec” in Canadian Journal of Irish Studies, vol. 33:1 (2008).

Book chapters

“Publishing for Distinct Readerships: Publishing for Young Christians” in The History of the Book  in Canada, 1918-1980 (vol. 3). Toronto: UTP 2007, 288-292.

“Controlling and Advising Readers: Religious Censorship in English Canada” in  The History of the Book  in Canada, 1918-1980 (vol.3). Toronto: UTP 2007, 473-475.

“Authors and Learned Cultures: Writing in the Humanities and Social Sciences” in The History of the Book  in Canada, 1840-1918 (vol. 2). Toronto: UTP 2005, 161-171.

“Religious Print: Books and Periodicals for an Expanding Community” in The History of the Book  in Canada, 1840-1918 (vol. 2). Toronto: UTP 2005, 355-360.

“Environmentalism and Imperialism in Agnes Deans Cameron’s The New North” in This Elusive Land: Canadian Women and the Environment. University of British Columbia Press, 2004.

Other contributions

“Chronology of Irish Fiction,” in Cambridge Handbook to Irish Fiction, ed. J. W. Foster.  Cambridge University Press 2006.

“School Histories,” in Encyclopedia of Literature in Canada, ed. W. H. New.  UTP 2002.

In progress

Britons in the New Dominion Race and nationalism in Victorian Canada.
The History of the Irish-Canadian Book: Irish Print in Early Canada.
The Home Circle: Facsimile Edition with Critical Introduction and Notes.

Participation activities

Conference papers / readings / talks

“Victorian-Canadian Readers of Thomas D’Arcy McGee: A Case Study in Irish-Canadian Book History.”  To be presented at Library and Archives Canada’s second Irish Studies Symposium, November 2008.

“Britons in the New Dominion: Ethnological Motifs in Early Canadian Historical Narratives 1850 – 1915.” Presented at “Imagining History in the Literatures of Canada and Quebec,” 133e Congrès national des Sociétés historiques et scientifiques de France: Migrations, transferts et échanges de part et d’autre de l’Atlantique : Europe, Canada, Amérique, Quebec City, June 2008.

“Britons in the New Dominion: British Canadian Hybridity and Canada as Refuge from Sectarianism.”  Presented at the University of Edinburgh Centre for Canadian Studies 31st  International Conference, Edinburgh, UK, May 2008.

Chair, “History” Panel, “The Poet as Landscape: A Portrait of A.M. Klein Today.” Concordia University, October 2007.

 “Orangemen, Freemasons, Priests, and Poets in Nova Britannia: Towards a Transatlantic Book History of Irish-Canada, 1840-1920.” Presented at the Transatlantic Studies Association Annual Conference, University College Cork, Ireland, July 2007.

“Orangemen, Freemasons, Priests and Poets: Towards a Transatlantic Book History of Irish Canada, 1840 - 1920.” Presented at the Canadian Association of Irish Studies Annual Conference, Memorial University, St John's, Newfoundland, June 2007.

“Canadian Nationalism, D'Arcy McGee, and Irish-Canadian Book History and Print Culture in Victorian Quebec, 1830-1910.” Presented at the Symposium of the Groupe de Recherche Irlande-Québec, Concordia University, May 2007.

Other conferences and papers delivered

“Print Culture and Censored, Unpublished, and Embedded Shaw: Shavian Analysis of Media in Wartime.” International Shaw Society Conference, University of South Florida, March 2004.

“Domesticating the Aboriginal Exotic: Book History, Thayendanegea, and Early Canadian Loyalism.” Canadian Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Conference, University of British Columbia, October 2003.

“Canadian Intellectual History” and “Religious Publishing in English.” History of the Book in Canada Volume II (1840-1918) Conference, University of Regina,August 2003.

History of the Book in Canada Volume III (1918-2000) Conference, Simon Fraser University, November 2001.

“Victorian Subversions.” Victorian Studies Association of Western Canada 30th Annual Conference, University of British Columbia, September 2001.

History of the Book in Canada Volume II (1840-1918) Conference, Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, May 2001.

The Bibliographical Society of Canada Annual Conference, McGill University, May 2001.

“On the Genealogical Classification of Languages.” Delivered at the XIVth International Conference on Historical Linguistics, University of British Columbia, August 1999.

“More Worlds than One: William Whewell's Supplement, String Theory, and Inductive Certainties in Victorian Cosmology.” Delivered at the University of British Columbia Nineteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Studies Symposium, April 1999.

“Aryans, Atlantæans, and Anglo-Saxons: Bases of Racial Mythology in Victorian Britain.” Delivered at the University of British Columbia Nineteenth-Century Interdisciplinary Studies Symposium, April 1998.

“National Identity, Otherness, and the Science of Ethnology in the Literature of Victorian Ireland.” Delivered at the University of British Columbia Identity and Alterity Conference, March 1997.

“Irrevocable Attachment, Ingenuous Insularity, and Intellectual Estrangement: James Joyce's Forsaking and Relinquishing of Ireland.” Presented at Canadian Association of Irish Studies Conference, Bishop's University, March, 1993.

 “Archibald Lampman, Bliss Carman, Charles G.D. Roberts, and Victorian Gnosticism.” McGill University, July, 1992.

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