Irish Studies Würzburg

[CANCELLED] J. M. Synge Lecture: Prof. em. W. J. Mc Cormack (Goldsmiths London, United Kingdom), "Synge's Ancestral Problems in County Wicklow and Germany, 1893-94, with Some Causes and Consequences"

Datum: 20.04.2023, 18:00 - 20:00 Uhr
Ort: Hubland Süd, Geb. Z6 (Zentrales Hörsaal- u. Seminargebäude), 2.013
Vortragende:r: Prof. em. W. J. Mc Cormack

Some presumptions about John Millington Synge are open to challenge. For example, his family as timeless gentry or even aristocratic. His economic/social situation was far from secure.
It was additionally complicated by a restrictive, indeed Puritan, domestic atmosphere. His mother’s background was very respectable, but her father’s family were immediately northern, and beyond that Scottish. Their attitude towards Catholics was more critical than that emerging further south.
An even more complicated presumption takes him as Irish in theme, loyalty, and intellectual make-up. Here, Germany will deserve to be sympathetically re-assessed. His reading in Marx and Nietzsche is significant, though one shouldn’t think of him as seeking guidance. He was a wide-ranging reader of continental masters and martyrs, comparing Joyce’s mind to Spinoza’s, and dreaming of Dreyfus when on the Aran Islands.  
Germany comes into its own in relation to music, and Wurzburg is central to that, due to the influence of Cousin Mary Synge. The transition from music to drama is initiated there.
Synge never lets me rest. His relationship with the Von Eicken sisters in Oberwerth prompts renewed restlessness.
Bill Mc Cormack

Photo: Simon Mc Cormack 

W. J. Mc Cormack (Bill) is a graduate of Trinity College Dublin and the New University of Ulster. He has taught at the University of Leeds, Georgetown University (Washington DC) and Goldsmiths College (University of London). In Europe, he has held visiting appointments at the universities of Antwerp, Budapest (ELTE), and Vienna. Having retired from Goldsmiths in 2002 as a Professor for Literary History, he returned to Ireland and became Keeper of the Edward Worth Library (1733) in Dublin. 

Professor Mc Cormack has published fifteen academic monographs and more than seventy articles in learned journals. His long-standing interest in the life and work of J.M. Synge has resulted in Fool of the Family; a Life of J.M. Synge (London: Weidenfeld, 2000) and The Silence of Barbara Synge (Manchester: Manchester Press, 2003). This latter volume deals with the playwright's ancestral problems. See also "Notes from the Borderland" in Playboys of the Western World , ed. Adrian Frazier (Dublin: Carysfort Press, 2004, pp. 144-160). 

Writing as Hugh Maxton, he also published poetry, fiction, and an autobiography, Waking: an Irish Protestant Upbringing. Belfast: Lagan Press, 1997. He co-translated Between; Selected Poems of Agnes Nemes Nagy (Budapest: Corvina, 1998). Included here and there are a few arising from Synge's Wicklow play or less particularly about his beloved county, my beloved county too. 


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Irish Studies Würzburg (ISWÜ)

Prof. Dr. Ina Bergmann & Prof. Dr. Maria Eisenmann