On 16 March 2016, colleagues from LJMU English and University of Liverpool got together with a lively and well-informed audience to explore some of the complex and moving stories that formed part of the Easter Rising in Dublin a century ago. LJMU’s Dr Gerry Smyth introduced a remarkable text, James Stephens’ The Insurrection in Dublin, a lyrical eye-withness account, published only four months after the events began to unfold. Michael Robinson, from University of Liverpool’s Institute of Irish Studies, drew upon the issues raised by Stephen Walker’s 2007 book Forgotten Soldiers: The Irishmen Shot at Dawn to remind us of those Irishmen whose battles were being fought on the European mainland. Dr Deaglán Ó Donghaile from LJMU then explored the poetry of Joseph Mary Plunkett. The Central Library holds a first edition of Plunkett’s collection, published in 1916 after Plunkett had been executed for his role in the Rising, on the same morning as he married Grace Gifford. The book begins with a sketch of its author by his wife, ‘from memory’. Deaglán explored the complex blend of politics, religion and symbolism that informs these deceptively simple poems.
The next Shelf Lives will take place on 20 April 2016 3-4.30pm, and it will celebrating the quartercentenary of the death of William Shakespeare. Texts and speakers will be:
Essays and Lectures on Shakespeare (1907) by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (Dr Brian Gibbons)
Shakespeare in Prescot (Professor Elspeth Graham)
Religious and Moral Sentences Culled from the Works of Shakespeare (1847) by Frederick Beilby Watson (Dr Rebecca Bailey)
All are very welcome. If you’d like to find out more about Shelf Lives, contact Gerry Smyth on G.A.Smyth@ljmu.ac.uk