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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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Assuaging Loss: Artistic Approaches by Neil Jordan and Françoise Lefèvre


Could there be a link between sea monsters and silences, and between them and music and famous paintings? However unlikely such connections might seem, they are artistically and novelistically achieved by two modern writers: by French author Françoise Lefèvre in Un album de silence [A Book of Silence] (2008) and by Neil Jordan in Sunrise with Sea Monster (1994). This chapter will examine how, while focusing on parent-child relationships, both books depict diverse reactions to loss, and embrace words, music and visual art as both supports and descriptive illustrations.

Françoise Lefèvre, born in 1942, has produced eighteen books since the 1970s. In 1975, La première habitude [The First Habit], about an ill-fated relationship between a young woman and a painter, was selected by the readers of the women’s magazine Elle for their Grand Prix des lectrices de Elle. In 1990 she was awarded the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens for Le Petit Prince Cannibale [The Cannibalistic Little Prince], which is an account of her struggle to bring up an autistic child. Born in 1950, Neil Jordan achieved fame as a writer very early on, with a collection of stories, Night in Tunisia, which won the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1979. He has also written, directed and produced many films which have made him internationally famous. He is the author of five novels, Mistaken (2011) being the latest to date.

In Françoise Lefèvre’s book, Un album de silence...

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