An October 2015 perspective on some recent and forthcoming work:
‘The completion of Enigmas coincided with the preparation of another book, Northman: John Hewitt (1907-1987); An Irish Writer, His World and His Times (Oxford University Press, 2015). Both deal with Irish poets who adopted distinctive political positions. However, their backgrounds differ in so many interlocking ways that quite different approaches are required in assessing their lives and their writings. The comparison may illuminate both; it would indicate that the approach adopted in Enigmas cannot be transferred at will to other cases. Personally, I have been brought to realize that the bulk of my literary historical work since 1980 has concentrated not on any linear narrative nor on the towering monuments, but on the awkward corners and unexpected turns occurring in Irish cultural history. Perhaps, because one has to slow down to negotiate these hairpin bends and dangerous intersections, one sees more closely and thinks more deliberately into the terrain. Readers are not passive passengers, but may be required to consult the atlas and other travelling aids from time to time.’ (Enigmas of Sacrifice; a Critique of Joseph M. Plunkett and the Dublin Insurrection of 1916, p. 35 – forthcoming from Michigan State University Press.
This line of thought might be continued.