Michael Wood, Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen – 20 Nov
20th November 2019 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
“The appeal to the dream has all kinds of echoes in Yeats…we might think the dream justifies the dreamer, since that is part of the argument of ‘Easter 1916’, and this is the argument the speaker of ‘Nineteen Hundred and Nineteen’ helplessly gestures towards: ‘We know their dream,’ the earlier poem says, ‘enough/To know they dreamed and are dead.’ This particular dream had its price, even apart from the death of the dreamers. It turned hearts to stone, it was part of the old myth of sacrifice Yeats himself used to be so eloquent about.”
Wood’s criticism is exuberantly characterful, adventurous in its scholarship, and greedily, giddily speculative. Leo Robson, New Statesman
Speaker: Professor Michael Wood
Michael Wood was born and educated in England but has worked for much of his life in the United States, first at Columbia University and then at Princeton. He has written books on Luis Buñuel, Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, and Gabriel García Márquez, as well as The Road to Delphi, a study of the ancient and continuing allure of oracles. Among his other works are America in the Movies and Children of Silence. A fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, a member of the American Philosophical Society and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books and the New York Review of Books. Selected Works: Stendhal (1971); America in the Movies (1975, 1989); The Magician’s Doubts: Nabokov and the Risks of Fiction (1994); Children of Silence: on Contemporary Fiction (1998); The Road to Delphi: the Life and Afterlife of Oracles (2003); Literature and the Taste of Knowledge (2005) and Yeats and Violence (2010).
Speaker: Martina Evans
Martina Evans is a poet, novelist and teacher. She grew up in County Cork in a country pub, shop and petrol station and is the youngest of ten children. She is the author of ten books of prose and poetry. She is currently Associate Lecturer in Creative Writing at Birkbeck University, London and a Lector for the Royal Literary Reading Round 2014-2016. Watch, a pamphlet was published by Rack Press in January 2016 and The Windows of Graceland, New & Selected Poems was published by Carcanet in May 2016. Her latest collection Now We Can Talk Openly About Men was published by Carcanet in May 2018. It featured in the Times Literary Supplement, Observer and Irish Times Books of the Year and has been shortlisted for the 2019 Irish Times Poetry Now Award as well as the Pigott Poetry Award. Currently she is Royal Literary Fund Advisory Fellow and poetry reviewer for the Irish Times.
Speaker: Professor Roy Foster
Roy Foster recently retired as Carroll Professor of Irish history at Oxford, he is a fellow of Hertford College. He has written widely on Irish history, society and politics in the modern period, as well as on Victorian high politics and culture. Foster produced a widely acclaimed biography of William Butler Yeats which was awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. In Words Alone: Yeats and his inheritances (2011), he presents a re-reading of Irish literary history throughout the nineteenth century and places Yeats and his inspirations in apposition to a much wider range of literary and political precursors than is usually the case. His most recent book is Vivid Faces: the revolutionary generation in Ireland 1890-1914.
Image above shows detail from Jack B Yeats’ Something in the Air, 1948.