Nora & Jim: Marginal Voices, Centre Stage at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre

Nora & Jim: Marginal Voices, Centre Stage at Liverpool’s Unity Theatre

We got another chance to see LJMU English's Gerry Smyth's play Nora & Jim at Liverpool's Unity Theatre on 31st March and 1st April 2016. The play premiered during the Liverpool Irish Festival in 2015, and is told from the point of view of James Joyce's partner, Nora Barnacle, when the lovers were apart in the autumn of 1909. By imagining Nora's responses to the letters Joyce wrote to her, it gives voice to a marginalised figure who was left legally vulnerable during their separation as an unmarried woman with two illegitimate children to Joyce. The play forms part of the wide-ranging project Marginal Irish Modernisms, which is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. You can visit their microsite here to find out more, and discover further resources on key figures of the movement. Nora & Jim is a cross-School collaboration for LJMU. Written by Gerry, it is directed by David Llewellyn (head of the LJMU Drama department) and features two former LJMU Drama students: Jade Thomson as...
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The Judas Kiss: Treason and Betrayal in Six Modern Irish Novels

The Judas Kiss: Treason and Betrayal in Six Modern Irish Novels

Gerry Smyth's new book argues that modern Irish history encompasses a deep-seated fear of betrayal, and that this fear has been especially prevalent since the revolutionary period at the outset of the twentieth century. The author goes on to argue that the novel is the literary form most apt for the exploration of betrayal in its social, political and psychological dimensions. The significance of this thesis comes into focus in terms of a number of recent developments – most notably, the economic downturn (and the political and civic betrayals implicated therein) and revelations of the Catholic Church’s failure in its pastoral mission. As many observers note, such developments have brought the language of betrayal to the forefront of contemporary Irish life. This book offers a powerful analysis of modern Irish history as regarded from the perspective of some its most incisive minds, including James Joyce, Liam O’Flaherty, Elizabeth Bowen, Francis Stuart, Eugene McCabe and Anne Enright. ...
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‘He heard the world more than he saw it’: Dr Gerry Smyth launches James Joyce’s Chamber Music Resource

‘He heard the world more than he saw it’: Dr Gerry Smyth launches James Joyce’s Chamber Music Resource

In 2011 Dr Gerry Smyth of LJMU English set to music the thirty-six lyrics that comprise Chamber Music, published by the Irish author James Joyce in 1907. Although Joyce is one of the most studied authors of the modern era, his poetry remains relatively unknown. The following year, Gerry recorded this material for a CD entitled James Joyce’s Chamber Music: New ‘Folkish’ Settings of the Thirty-Six Lyrics, and since then he has performed material from the album on numerous occasions, including events in Belgium, France, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. During the same period, Dr Smyth commenced work on a web-based learning resource, hosted by LJMU, which features a wide range of textual and video materials relating to Joyce’s original collection, and to the new musical version. This is an on-going project which will in time be fully integrated into LJMU English's teaching and research profile, and you can access it here, and via the 'Links and Resources' section of our site. The website was launched at an event in...
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James Joyce’s Chamber Music

James Joyce’s Chamber Music

LJMU English’s Gerry Smyth is also a musician. In 2012 he recorded and released an album entitled James Joyce’s Chamber Music: this was a folk musical version (co-written and performed with his daughter) of the thirty-six lyric suite published by James Joyce in 1907. Music played a crucial role in Joyce’s literary imagination, and Gerry has gathered together a wealth of material on this aspect of Joyce’s creative process, including the notation and performance of Joyce’s songs. You can explore this amazing resource here. ...
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