Professor Ronan McDonald

BA, MA, (National University of Ireland), M.Stud, D.Phil (Oxon)
School of Humanities & Languages


+61 2 9385 4772
+61 2 9385 8705
Room 243, Morven Brown
Kensington Campus
Fields: Aesthetics, Literary Theory, Literary Studies, History and Philosophy of the Humanities, British and Irish Literature
Tags: Expanding Knowledge in Languages, Communication and Culture, Languages and literature


Professor Rónán McDonald holds the Australian Ireland Fund Chair in Modern Irish Studies and is the Director of the Global Irish Studies Centre UNSW. His research interests span modern Irish literature and culture, the contribution of Irish migrants to Australia and the broad field of cultural value. 

Professor McDonald was born in Dublin, Ireland and took his BA and MA at University College Dublin. He did his postgraduate research in English at the University of Oxford on a National University of Ireland Travelling Studentship and was awarded his D.Phil in 1999. Before he took up his current post in 2010, he was a Senior Lecturer and Director of the Samuel Beckett International Foundation at the University of Reaing, UK.

His first book Tragedy and Irish Literature was published in 2002, followed by Cambridge Introduction to Beckett in 2006 and The Death of the Critic in 2007. He edited a special issue of the Yeabook of English Studies on 'Irish Writing since 1950' (2005) and was editor of Bullán: An Irish Studies Journal (1994-2002). He has produced numerous articles, essays and reviews on Irish literature and culture. His current research interests focus on Darwinism, degeneration and the crisis of value in Irish modernism. He is also editing a collection of essay on the Values of Literary Studies, and co-editing collections on Flann O'Brien and Samuel Beckett.

He is President of the Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand, a member of Modern Language Association, American Conference for Irish Studies, Modernist Studies Association and International Association for Study of Irish Literature.  He is a Board Member of the Australian Ireland Fund.

He is currently supervising HDR students working on James Joyce and Samuel Beckett. He welcomes research students in modern and contempoary Irish literature and culture; in modern criticism and aesthetics; and in theories of cultural value.



    • McDonald R, (ed.), 2015, The Values of Literary Studies: Critical Institutions, Scholarly Agendas, Cambridge University Press
    • Murphet J;McDonald R;Morrell S, 2014, Flann O'Brien & Modernism, Bloomsbury Academic
    • McDonald RD, 2014, Flann O'Brien and Modernism
    • Mcdonald R, (ed.), 2009, Samuel Beckett, Endgame, Original, Faber and Faber, London, UK
    • Mcdonald R, 2007, The Death of the Critic, Original, Continuum Press, London and New York
    • Mcdonald R, 2006, The Cambridge Introduction to Samuel Beckett, Original, Cambridge University Press, Uk and USA,
    • Mcdonald R, (ed.), 2005, Yearbook of English Studies, Original, Modern Humanities Research Association, Cambridge, UK
    • Mcdonald R, 2002, Tragedy and Irish Literature: Synge, O'Casey, Beckett, Original, Palgrave, Basingstoke, Hampshire, UK,
    • Mcdonald R,

    Book Chapters

    Journal articles

    • McDonald RD, 2017, ''Lovely Beyond Words': Beckett, Value, Critique', The Journal of Beckett Studies, pp. 118 - 133,
    • McDonald RD, 2015, ''Did the Humanities Have it Coming: A Response to Simon During'', Australian Humanities Review, pp. 57 - 61,
    • McDonald RD, 2014, '"Misted and Married Together"?: Diasporic Consciousness and Textual Form in Nineteenth-Century Irish Emigrant Letters from Australia', The Journal of English Language & Literature, vol. 60, pp. 597 - 611,
    • Mcdonald R, 2013, ''With Weariness More than of Earth?: Degeneration Lassitude and the Mythic Hero in the Early Yeats', The Yeats Journal of Korea, vol. 41, pp. 67 - 82,
    • Mcdonald R, 2013, 'Flying in the face of historical barbarism [review of Transatlantic, by Colum McCann]', The Australian, pp. 18 - 18,
    • Mcdonald R, 2013, 'Review of Joseph O'Connor', Times Literary Supplement, pp. 20
    • Mcdonald R, 2012, ''The Concealed Revealed'', Times Literary Supplement, pp. 20 - 20
    • Mcdonald R, 2011, ''Still Striving to be Joyce's Contemporary'', The Australian, pp. 18 - 18
    • Mcdonald R, 2011, ''Irish Criticism? Absolutely Not?'', The Australian, pp. 22 - 22
    • Mcdonald R, 2011, ''My Modernists'', The London Magazine, pp. 43 - 48
    • Mcdonald R, 2011, 'The Only Art of Jack B. Yeats', Times Literary Supplement, pp. 26 - 26
    • Mcdonald R, 2011, 'Someone Other', Times Literary Supplement, pp. 20 - 20
    • Mcdonald R, 2011, 'Shards of Dublin', Times Literary Supplement, pp. 21 - 21
    • Mcdonald R, 2011, 'Silver Fork', Times Literary Supplement, pp. 24 - 24
    • Mcdonald R, 2011, ''Enduring Spirit of Ireland's Scarlet Woman'', The Australian, pp. 22 - 22
    • Mcdonald R, 2010, 'Beloved Object', Times Literary Supplement, pp. 19 - 19
    • Mcdonald R, 2010, ''William Trevor's Quiet Communion'', Times Literary Supplement, pp. 3 - 4
    • Mcdonald R, 2008, 'Review Article of Beckett and Badiou: The Pathos of Intermittency (Oxford University Press, 2006)', Textual Practice, vol. 22, pp. 357 - 365
    • Mcdonald R, 2007, ''‘What a Male!: Triangularity, Desire and Precedence in ‘Before Play’ and Play in Samuel Beckett'', Samuel Beckett Today/Aujourd`Hui, vol. 8, pp. 213 - 255
    • Mcdonald R, 2005, 'Strategies of Silence: Colonial Strains in Short Stories of the Troubles', Yearbook of English Studies, vol. 35, pp. 249 - 263,
    • Mcdonald R, 1997, '‘A Gallous Story or a Dirty Deed?: J.M. Synge and the Art of Guilt’,(No. 17, Winter 1996/7), pp. 25-30', Reviewing Ireland: essays and interviews from Irish studies review, vol. Irish Studies Review, pp. 25 - 30


    • McDonald RD;Small H;Walker G, 2016, Report on the Review of the School of English, Trinity College Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Review Reports from the Third Cycle of Quality Reviews of Schools (2014 - 2019)

    Conference Presentations

    • Mcdonald R, 2013, 'Darwinism and the Irish Revival', presented at Irish Studies Conference, University of Melbourne, 15 - 16 February 2013
    • Mcdonald R, 2013, ''With Weariness More than of Earth?: Degeneration Lassitude and the Mythic Hero in the Early Yeats', presented at 2013 International Conference on Yeats and Modernist/Contemporary Writers at Hanyang University, Hayang University, Seoul, 25 May 2013
    • Mcdonald R, 2012, 'Flexible Friends?: The Irish Revival and the New Modernist Studies', presented at IASIL, Concordia, Motreal, 31 July 2012
    • Mcdonald R, 2012, '‘Modernism and Irish Revival’', presented at American Conference for Irish Studies, New Orleans, 16 March 2012
    • Mcdonald R, 2012, '‘Rigour or Vigour? Disciplinarity in Irish Studies’ Plenary Lecture', presented at 19th Australasian Irish Studies Conference: Global Ireland, University of Otago, Dunedin, NZ, 07 - 10 November 2012
    • Mcdonald R, 2012, 'Home and Away: Form and Affect in Irish Emigrant Letters from Australia', presented at “Border, Translation, and What Then?: Rethinking “Convergence” in English Language and Literature”, Pusan, Korea, 11 - 14 December 2013

Affiliations and membership

President of Irish Studies Association of Australia and New Zealand (re-elected annually since 2012)

Board of Directors of ‘The Australian Ireland Fund’

 Advisory Board of ‘Writing and Society Centre’, University of Western Sydney

Advisory Editorial Board of Australasian Journal of Irish Studies

Advisory Editorial Board of Affirmations: A Journal of Modernist Studies

Advisory Editorial Board of Irish Studies Review

Advisory Editorial Board of The Yeats Journal of Korea

Advisory Editorial Board of Journal of English Language and Literature

Advisory Editorial Board of The International Yeats Society Journal

Member Modern Languages Association

Member International Association for the Study of Irish Literatue (IASIL)


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