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France and Ireland

Notes and Narratives


Edited By Una Hunt and Mary Pierse

The rich association between Ireland and France is embodied in music, art and creative writing from both countries and this collection provides a tantalising selection of these interweaving influences. The book presents a vivid picture of interactions between composers, performers, poets and novelists on each side of the Celtic Sea. Surprises abound, with music unexpectedly linking Ireland and France through George Alexander Osborne and Frédéric Chopin, through Thomas Moore and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, through Irish-inspired French opera and a French-directed Irish orchestra. Words and music meet in a Kate O'Brien novel, a musical interpretation of Verlaine and a selection of Paula Meehan's poetry, while the encounter between wine and music creates new possibilities for artistic and cultural expression. Exploring the works and influence of a wide range of figures including James Joyce, Marcel Proust, Jacques Derrida, J.M. Synge, Hélène Cixous, Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin, Hector Berlioz, Maurice Ravel, Neil Jordan and John Field, the essays collected here uncover a wealth of artistic interconnections between France and Ireland.
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The Influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau on Thomas Moore


Music, oh how faint, how weak, Language fades before thy spell! Why should Feeling ever speak, When thou cans’t breathe her soul so well1

Music played a pivotal role in the life and works of the Romantic Irish author and songster Thomas Moore. It was his first love and chief source of inspiration. When writing to the publisher of his song-books Irish Melodies in 1824, he averred that ‘[m]y great delight would be, if I could afford it, to confine myself wholly to Songs & Music, but there are so many calls on me besides, that I am obliged to labour a little at everything’.2 Labour ‘a little at everything’ Moore certainly did, producing an extensive body of work during his lifetime in various genres including songs, prose, poetry, plays, history, and biography. However, it was his musical output, and particularly the exceptionally popular ten book series Irish Melodies (1808–34) – in which Moore wrote and arranged lyrics for pre-existing airs – that would prove to be the most successful and enduring of his works. It was not only in the Irish Melodies that Moore put his innate musical talent to ← 39 | 40 → good use; his oeuvre comprises a number of musical works, including the song-books National Airs (1818–27) and Sacred Songs (1816–24), several original compositions for his works ‘Melologue on National Music’ (1811), The Summer Fête (1831), and Evenings in Greece (1832). Moore also wrote extensively on the nature and power of...

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