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Seán Lucy papers

Collection MS-1991-004: Seán Lucy papers


  • Creation: 1959 - 2000
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1965 - 1990

Scope and Contents note

These papers document the publishing and teaching career of Irish poet and literary critic Seán Lucy. The collection includes articles, correspondence, ephemera, lecture notes, manuscripts, and photographs.

Lucy's works include scholarly articles and books on Irish poetry, poetic technique, and Irish culture. Of particular note are the typescripts of Lucy's unpublished novel, Some Say Love, as well as an unpublished study of Irish verse in English, The Grafted Tongue. Manuscript materials include notes on poetry and prose, some of which may be first drafts. The papers also contain lecture notes for courses he taught on Irish and English poetry, primarily at University College, Cork.

In addition to his own works, Lucy collected writings of other authors, frequently manuscripts sent to him by peers for his review. Among the latter are a significant body of poems, conference papers, and scholarly works by David Gardiner.


Restrictions on access

Collection is open for research.

Restrictions on use

These materials are made available for use in research, teaching and private study, pursuant to U.S. Copyright Law. The user must assume full responsibility for any use of the materials, including but not limited to, infringement of copyright and publication rights of reproduced materials. Any materials used for academic research or otherwise should be fully credited with the source. The original authors may retain copyright to the materials.

Biographical note: Seán Lucy

Seán Lucy was born on March 12, 1931, in Mumbai, India. His father was an Irish officer in the British army who served in the military until 1935, at which time he resettled with his family in Ireland. Seán Lucy earned his bachelor's and master's degrees at the University College, Cork (National University of Ireland), under his English name, John F. Lucy.

In 1954, Lucy moved to England and married Patricia Kennedy, his first wife, with whom he had five children: Catherine, Brendan, John, Frances, and Fintan. While in England, Lucy served two years as an education officer in the British army and four years as Senior English Master at the Christian Brothers Prior Park College in Bath.

Lucy returned to Ireland in 1960 and joined the English faculty at University College, Cork, where he rose to the rank of professor and became department chair. Lucy wrote and edited critical works on English and Irish poetry and prose, such as Love Poems of the Irish (1967). He also published his own creative works in poetry, including Unfinished Sequence and Other Poems (1979). In 1979, he co-founded the University College, Cork, Summer School in Irish Studies for American students. During the 1980-81 academic year, he served as a visiting professor in the English department at Loyola University, Chicago.

Following his early retirement from University College, Cork, in 1988, Seán Lucy moved to Chicago and married his second wife, fellow poet Susan Leah Lederman. He offered courses in Irish literature at Loyola University, the Newberry Library, and the Irish-American Heritage Center. He died on July 25, 2001, following a heart attack.


Bradley, Anthony. Contemporary Irish Poetry: An Anthology. London, England: University of California Press, Ltd., 1980. Retrieved on December 12, 2016 from

Patel, Julie. "Sean Lucy, 70, Irish scholar, poet, professor." Highbeam Research. Last modified July 27, 2001.

Biographical note: David Gardiner

David Gardiner received his Master of Arts in English Language and Literature from Penn State University in 1992 and his Doctor of Philosophy in English Literature and Irish Studies from Loyola University Chicago in 1998. His research at Loyola under the mentorship of Seán Lucy resulted in his publication of Befitting Emblems of Adversity: A Modern Irish View of Edmund Spenser from W.B. Yeats to the Present (2001).

Gardiner was Associate Professor of English and Director of Irish Studies at Creighton University from 1999-2009, where he also served as director of the Creighton University Press and the Dublin Program. He was Boston College Burns Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies in 2007, and is a lecturer at DePaul University.

Gardiner's publications include The Maunsel Poets, 1905-1926: The Other Irish Renaissance (2004), and two collections of poetry, Downstate (2009) and The Chivalry of Crime (2015). He was the founding editor and publisher of An Sionnach: A Journal of Literature, Culture and the Arts, from 2005 to 2010.


"David Gardiner, PhD." LinkedIn. Accessed November 29, 2016.


4.75 Linear Feet (10 containers)

Language of Materials



This collection contains manuscripts by Irish poet Seán Lucy; lecture notes from his university courses; personal and professional correspondence; handwritten notes on poetry and prose; and manuscripts by other writers collected by Lucy.

Arrangement note

Arranged into five series. I: Correspondence, II: Ephemera, III: Instruction, IV: Manuscripts, and V: Works by Others.


Acquired by purchase in 1991 (MS.1991.004) and as a gift of David Gardiner in 2005 (MS.2005.031). Gardiner received his papers from Lucy's estate.

Seán Lucy Papers
1959-2000 (bulk 1965-1990)
Matthew Heitzman, 2009, and Ayoola White
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the John J. Burns Library Repository

John J. Burns Library
Boston College
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill MA 02467 United States