January 18th, 2020
Mellon Centre for Migration Studies at the Ulster American Folk Park, Omagh, Northern Ireland
A manuscript in Library and Archives Canada describes a journey from Derry~Londonderry to Quebec in summer 1830, and an onward journey up the St Lawrence to Kingston and Niagara. Previously attributed to an unknown author, Dr Byrne’s research identifies the author as one David Blair Little, who died a merchant in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1843.
A combination of on-the-spot observations, later reminiscences and imagined or exaggerated scenes, the manuscript appears to have been intended for publication, and the author compares himself to James Cook, John Franklin and Mungo Park, demonstrating his engagement with romantic travel literature and the expeditionary narrative tradition.
In this talk, Dr. Angela Byrne will reconnect Little to his native Ulster and demonstrate how she established his authorship of the journal. She then examines the connections between his manuscript and published exploration narratives to offer some broader reflections on the potential of shipboard narratives and personal testimonies to enrich understandings of the nineteenth-century migrant experience.
Following the talk by Dr Byrne, there will be a book launch by the former Director of the Mellon Centre for Migration Studies, Dr Brian Lambkin. Brian’s book is entitled Calming Conflict: Northern Ireland, Metaphor, and Migration, is published by the Ulster Historical Foundation and is priced at £24.99.
A pre-launch offer of £19.99 is available to everyone at: https://www.booksireland.org.uk/store/upcoming-releases/calming-conflict. A preview of sample pages (first and last page of each chapter) is now accessible at the UHF website: https://www.booksireland.org.uk/store/members-discount/calming-conflict.
The formal launch will occur in PRONI on Thursday 30 January 2020 at 5pm and all are welcome. Tickets are available at:
Dr Angela Byrne is a historian specialising in the eighteenth and nineteeth centuries, with particular focus on cross-cultural encounters and the experiences of women and migrants in the past. She is Research Associate at Ulster University and, in 2018–19, was the inaugural DFAT Historian-in-Residence at EPIC The Irish Emigration Museum. She is author of Geographies of the Romantic North (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), A Scientific, Antiquarian and Picturesque Tour: John (Fiott) Lee in Ireland, England and Wales, 1806–1807 (Routledge for Hakluyt Society, 2018), and many articles and book chapters on the histories of travel and exploration, the Irish abroad, and women in the sciences. She has previously held lecturing and research positions in University of Toronto, University of Greenwich, Maynooth University, and the Royal Irish Academy, as well as visiting fellowships at Cambridge University, the All-Russia State Library for Foreign Literature (Moscow), and the Huntington Library (Los Angeles).
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