Roy Foster

Carroll Professor of Irish History

Hertford College, Oxford University

Roy Foster came to Hertford as Carroll Professor of Irish History in 1991, the first incumbent of  the only endowed chair of Irish history in Britain, which is attached to Hertford. A graduate of Trinity College, Dublin, where he was a Foundation Scholar in history, he subsequently became Professor of Modern British History at Birkbeck College, University of London, as well as holding visiting fellowships at St Anthony's College, Oxford, the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and Princeton University. He was elected a Fellow of the British Academy in 1989, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 1986, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1992, and  an honorary Member of the Royal Irish Academy in 2011, and has received honorary degrees from the University of Aberdeen, The Queen's University of Belfast, Trinity College, Dublin, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario,  and the National University of Ireland, as well as an Honorary Fellowship at Birkbeck College, University of London. He specialises in Irish cultural, social and political history in the modern period but has also written about Victorian political history, and  is the author of the authorized  two-volume biography of the poet W.B.Yeats.

His books include Charles Stewart Parnell:  The Man and His Family (1976), Lord Randolph Churchill:  A Political Life (1981), Modern Ireland 1600-1972 (1988), The Oxford Illustrated History of Ireland  (1989), The Sub Prefect Should Have Held His Tongue:  Selected Essays of Hubert Butler (1990), Paddy and Mr Punch:  Connections in Irish and English History (1993), The Irish Story:  Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland (2001), which won the 2003 Christian Gauss Award for Literary Criticism, W.B. Yeats, A Life. I:  The Apprentice Mage 1865-1914 (1997) which won the 1998 James Tait Black Prize for biography, and Volume II: The Arch-Poet, 1915-1939 (2003); Conquering England: The Irish in the Victorian Metropolis (2005), co-written with Fintan Cullen, to coincide with their exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery,  Luck and the Irish: a brief history of change 1970-2000, a book deriving from the Wiles Lectures which he delivered at Queen’s University Belfast, in 2004, and Words Alone: Yeats and his inheritances , derived from his Clark Lectures at the University of Cambridge.  He is also a well-known critic, reviewer and broadcaster.