English Professor Bryan Giemza
Randolph-Macon College English Professor Bryan
Giemza is the author of Irish Catholic Writers and the Invention of the American
South (LSU Press, 2013) and a contributor to and the editor of Rethinking the
Irish in the American South: Beyond Rounders and Reelers (University
of Press Mississippi, 2013). Both books consider Irish American writers in the South.
Irish Catholic Writers and the Invention of the American South
Giemza’s literary history covers some 200 years of American writing, investigating
both nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers. It considers writers who were influenced
by both American and Irish revolutions, dramatists and propagandists of the Civil
War, and many familiar later writers, such as Margaret Mitchell, Flannery O’Connor,
John Kennedy Toole, and Cormac McCarthy.
“Irish Catholic Writers has been nearly a decade in the making and has
benefited from the generosity of the Rashkind family, the resources of about 30
archives, and the support of many colleagues,” says Giemza, who in 2012 was one
of 12 recipients of the SCHEV/Dominion Resources
Outstanding Faculty Award, the Commonwealth's highest honor for faculty
at Virginia’s public and private colleges and universities. “I’m glad to bring some
attention to this ethnic minority in the U.S. South, as Irish studies scholarship
has tended to focus on other regions.”
Rethinking the Irish in the American South: Beyond Rounders and Reelers
The book, which Giemza compiled and edited, includes many essays from scholars who
attended a conference he staged during his first year at Randolph-Macon. The essays
cover many subjects and topics, with discussion ranging from Appalachian ballads
to Atlantic-spanning literary friendships.
Giemza was recently interviewed by South Carolina ETV regarding author Pat
Conroy, one of America’s most well-known writers.
Giemza, who is also the author, with Donald Beagle, of Poet of the Lost Cause: A
Life of Father Ryan (University of Tennessee Press, 2008), joined the R-MC
faculty in 2008. He earned his B.A. at the University of Notre Dame, and his J.D.,
M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In 2011, he received
a Smith-Reynolds Founders Fellowship, which supported his research in the Ernest
Hemingway collection at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston, Massachusetts.