‘Such Friends’ on the May 2013 Semester at Sea Enrichment Voyage: Dublin, London and Paris

In May of 2013 I was thrilled to be invited to participate in Semester at Sea’s Enrichment Voyage [http://enrichmentvoyages.org/] as we sailed from LeHavre, to Antwerp, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Dublin and Dover. Below are descriptions of the series and the three one-hour talks, which can be expanded to included films or documentaries, or contracted to fit a shorter time frame. There are also reading lists for these presentations, which include video and travel tips, posted on the website.

If you are interested in more information, e-mail me at kaydee@gypsyteacher.com.

‘Such Friends’:  Dublin, London and Paris

‘…and say my glory was I had such friends…’—WB Yeats

In the early years of the 20th century, groups of writers and artists gathered in living rooms, drawing rooms, pubs and cafes in and around Dublin, London and Paris. In these salons, they not only re-invented literature, they also ate, drank, argued, fell in and out of love, and, most of all, talked. This three-part series, including pictures, video clips and annotated reading lists, will look at the personal lives of William Butler Yeats and the Irish Literary Renaissance, Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury group, and James Joyce and the other writers and artists in Paris at the same time.

‘Such Friends’:  WB Yeats and the founding of the Abbey Theatre

The key group of ‘Such Friends’ in late 19th century Ireland was centred around poet William Butler Yeats and those who spent summers at the home of Lady Augusta Gregory in the west of Ireland. Together they kept alive Irish folk tales while founding the Abbey Theatre, still performing today.

‘Such Friends’:  Britain before the War—The Bloomsbury Group

While W B Yeats’ circle were busy organizing the Abbey theatre in Dublin, Virginia Woolf and her friends and family were reinventing art and literature in the townhouses of Bloomsbury and the country cottages of Sussex. Until The Great War intervened, the English sat in drawing rooms, talking over whisky, buns and cocoa, late into the night.

‘Such Friends’:  Happy Bloomsday! James Joyce in Dublin and Paris

James Joyce left Ireland for the continent in 1904, moved to Paris in 1920, and spent most of the rest of his life there. Unlike the American expatriates, Joyce kept mostly to himself, but frequented Paris cafes, bursting into song after a few drinks, rolling home drunk in a taxi. Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Sylvia Beach and the ubiquitous American arts supporter John Quin, among others, were there at the same time and provided the cultural background for Joyce to work on Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake.

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