“Nothung up my sleeve”: Wagner and James Joyce with Dr Jamie McGregor

Posted on 5, Dec, 2020 in

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  • "Nothung up my sleeve": Wagner and James Joyce with Dr Jamie McGregor
    26 May 2021
    6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

“Nothung up my sleeve”: Wagner and James Joyce

with Dr Jamie McGregor

ZOOM WEBINAR: 6:30PM, 26th May 2021

 

Part 4 of 4 from “Aspects of Wagner in Literary Studies”

In the final instalment in this series, attention shifts to the work of James Joyce, whose literary treatment of Wagnerian form and subject matter appears almost inexhaustible, and has understandably received more scholarly investigation than most others.  While any single talk on the subject can offer little more than a broad overview, this one nonetheless aims to show how a continuous line of allusion to many Wagner operas, chiefly the Ring, runs from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), through Ulysses (1922), to Finnegans Wake (1939).  Despite corrupting the opening words of the Liebestod to “mild Aunt Lisa”, for example, even the last offers far more than Wagnerian parody, Joyce’s innate musicality and appreciation for the revolutionary in art having perhaps uniquely fitted him to transpose the composer’s vision into a singularly modern medium.

 

 

Dr Jamie McGregor

Jamie McGregor is a Lecturer in Literary Studies in English at Rhodes University in Makhanda (formerly Grahamstown), South Africa, where he has been based since 2003, offering courses in Modernist literature, mediaeval and renaissance epic, Romantic poetry and modern fantasy.  His doctoral thesis “Myth, Music and Modernism” reflects a central interest in the relationship of the German Romantic composer Richard Wagner to a wide range of English literature, from Woolf, Joyce and TS Eliot to JRR Tolkien and CS Lewis.  His debut article “‘The Sea, Music and Death’: The Shadow of Wagner in Woolf’s Mrs Dalloway” (English Studies in Africa 49.2 (2006): 83–108) received the Thomas Pringle Award for 2008.  He is presently working on a full length study of Wagner’s operas, The Road to Monsalvat, as well as a popular guide to Dante, Going through Hell.  In a somewhat lighter vein, he commemorated Wagner’s bicentenary in 2013 by impersonating the composer himself in a dramatised reading of The Flying Dutchman, following this up in 2014 with Lohengrin and in 2015 with Tristan and Isolde (featured at the National Arts Festival that year).

 

This online event is £5 to all members, £10 for non-members (Refundable on joining) and free for students/under 30s.  Please register your interest below and you will be sent a Zoom link in good time for the lecture, probably during the previous day. (Please do not contact us for the link unless it has not been received immediately before the lecture is due to begin.) If you wish to make a donation, please do so via our website (see button to the right) or contact treasurer@wagnersociety.org.   (NOTE: Joint members intending to watch this lecture together only need to register once.)

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