The Anglo-Irish author JG Farrell won the Lost Man Booker Prize with his novel Troubles on May 19th. In the subsequent media coverage there have been various locations, most notably Wicklow or Wexford, suggested for the location of the Majestic Hotel where the novel is set.
I would suggest that the novel is located in Co Waterford. The evidence for this comes from a letter from JG Farrell to Carol Drisko on November 2nd, 1968, published in JG Farrell in His Own Words Selected Letters and Diaries edited by Lavinia Greacen (Cork University Press, 2009). The letter reads, “I’d been planning to take a trip down to Waterford to scan the area my novel [ Troubles ] is supposed to be taking place in.” The inspiration for the Majestic Hotel came from the ruin of the Ocean View Hotel on Block Island, which is just south of Rhode Island US, where JG Farrell visited in May 1967.
On Wednesday May 19th 2010 JG Farrell was announced as the winner of the Lost Man Booker Prize with his novel Troubles. It won by a clear majority, winning 38% of the votes by the international reading public, more than double the votes cast for any other book on the shortlist.
Troubles which tells the comic yet melancholic tale of an English Major, Brendan Archer, who in 1919 goes to County Wicklow in Ireland to meet the woman whom he believes he may be engaged to marry. From the viewpoint of the crumbling Majestic Hotel at Kilnalough he watches Ireland's fight for independence from Britain.
The Lost Man Booker is a one-off prize to honour the books which missed out on the opportunity to win the Booker Prize in 1970. In 1971, just two years after it began, the Booker Prize ceased to be awarded retrospectively and became - as it is today - a prize for the best novel of the year of publication. As a result a wealth of fiction published for much of 1970 fell through the net.
Farrell is now being re-discovered by a new generation of readers. He came back into the public eye last year when he was short listed for his novel the Siege of Krishnapur for the Best of the Booker prize winners over its 40 year history.
Salman Rushdie won the Best of the Booker with his Midnight's Children and he said of Farrell, “had he not sadly died so young, there is no question that he would today be one of the really major novelists of the English language. The three novels that he did leave are all in their different way extraordinary.”
Jim Farrell died on August 11th 1979 in a fishing accident on the Sheeps Head Peninsula in the southwest of Ireland. He had only moved to his new home near Kilchrohane earlier that year.
This book outlines the career of one of the most distinguished figures in Irish musical life in the first half of the twentieth century — a Bavarian organist, Aloys Fleischmann senior, whose son would later become Professor of Music in UCC. Fleischmann senior came to international attention through his work with the North Cathedral Choir in Cork, which was regarded as one of the finest of its kind. He was a prolific composer who wrote nearly 400 works, and he was a highly respected teacher whose students included Séan Ó Riada.
April 2010 ISBN 978-185918-462-2, €49 £45, Hbk, 234 x 156mm, 416pp
The Irish Catholic church did not regain public influence until the middle of the 19th century when most of the British anti-Catholic legislation was repealed. Aloys Fleischmann senior and his father-in-law Hans Conrad Swertz were among the fifty continental church musicians who were brought to Ireland from the 1860s by the bishops to develop Catholic church music, as no indigenous tradition of Catholic sacred choral music had survived the period of the Penal Laws. The leading figure of the Irish Revival, Edward Martyn, together with the foreign immigrant musicians were the driving force in the reform of church music prescribed by Pope Pius X in 1903. In Ireland, the efforts to provide ecclesiastical music of quality formed part of a wider cultural movement emanating from a growing awareness and appreciation of Ireland's Gaelic heritage and ancient European links. This biography is the first full study of one of these continental musicians who made a particularly significant contribution to Irish cultural life. An abundance of documentation concerning Fleischmann senior's career has survived, which makes it possible to present an authoritative account of his richly varied professional life and to illuminate the cultural and social context in which he worked. His music is assessed by Séamas de Barra, with an annotated catalogue of the compositions.
Joseph Cunningham, an accountant by profession, served as assistant organist and choirmaster to Fleischmann. Ruth Fleischmann was lecturer in the English Department of the University of Bielefeld (Germany) and dean of studies of her faculty. Séamas de Barra is a composer and musicologist
This is the first collection of essays solely dedicated to the achievement of this remarkable Irish poet. The book contains eleven essays by internationally known scholars, a new interview with McGuckian herself, and a detailed bibliography. McGuckian’s critical reputation has grown dramatically over the last decade and she is now a poet with an international reputation. This collection provides a timely and engaging appraisal of her work.
May 2010 ISBN 978-185918-465-3, €39,£35, Hbk,234x156mm, 272pp
Author of twelve collections of poetry, Medbh McGuckian is one of Northern Ireland’s foremost poets. Her poetry now appears as standard reading on courses on Irish literature and culture both in Europe and in the US. Alongside this, her work is also often featured in composition and poetics courses. As this suggests, her work is not confined to the Irish Studies constituency. Because one of the major themes of her work is female consciousness and creativity she is also frequently studied on women’s studies programmes and courses on feminism. As the first book to concentrate solely on McGuckian’s achievement, this collection will become the standard work for anyone interested in her work.
Shane Alcobia-Murphy: Introduction Michaela Schrage-Früh: Speaking as the North: Self and Place in the Early Poetry of Medbh McGuckian Catriona Clutterbuck: A Gibbous Voice: The Poetics of Subjectivity in the Early Poetry of Medbh McGuckian Helen Blakeman: “Poetry Must Almost Dismantle the Letters”: McGuckian, Mallarmé and Polysemantic Play Elin Holmsten: Signs of Encounters in Medbh McGuckian’s Poetry Scott Brewster: The Space that Cleaves: The House and Hospitality in Medbh McGuckian’s Work Conor Carville: Warding Off an Epitaph: Had I a Thousand Lives Shane Alcobia-Murphy: “That Now Historical Ground”: Memory and Atrocity in the Poetry of Medbh McGuckian Richard Kirkland: Medbh McGuckian and the Politics of Minority Discourse Borbola Farrago: “They Come Into It”: The Muses of Medbh McGuckian Leontia Flynn: Re-assembling the Atom: Reading Medbh McGuckian’s Intertextual Materials Shane Alcobia-Murphy and Richard Kirkland: Interview with Medbh McGuckian Clair Wills: Coda
Dr Shane Alcobia-Murphy, Department of English, University of Aberdeen, is the author of Sympathetic Ink: Intertextual Relations in Northern Irish Poetry (2006). Professor Richard Kirkland, Department of English, King’s College London, is the author of Cathal O’Byrne and the Northern Revival in Ireland, 1890-1950 (2006).