Gerry Smyth

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Gerry Smyth (14 September 1961) is an academic, actor and musician from Dublin, Ireland. He works in the Department of English at Liverpool John Moores University.[1] His early publications were mainly in the field of Irish literature, although since 2002 he has also written widely on the subject of Irish music.[2] Smyth was an early advocate of postcolonial criticism in Irish Studies,[3] although more recently he has been keen to emphasise the autobiographical dimension of critical discourse. Decolonisation and Criticism won the American Conference for Irish Studies' Michael J. Durkan Prize for best book published in literary criticism, arts criticism or cultural studies in 1999. Beautiful Day: Forty Years of Irish Rock (co-authored with Sean Campbell) was launched in the Clarence Hotel in Dublin in September 2005. Our House: The Representation of Domestic Space in Contemporary Culture (co-edited with Jo Croft) was launched at the Tate Liverpool in September 2006. His collection of critical essays Music in Irish Cultural History also won the Michael J. Durkan Prize (2009). Smyth has lectured throughout Europe and the United States on various aspects of Irish culture. In September / October 2006 he was Academic-in-Residence at the Princess Grace Irish Library in Monaco. He was appointed Visiting Professor of Irish Studies at the University of Vienna between October 2010 and February 2011.[4] Smyth's latest book is The Judas Kiss: Treason and Betrayal in Six Modern Irish Novels (Manchester University Press, 2015), and includes analyses of work by James Joyce, Liam O'Flaherty, Elizabeth Bowen, Francis Stuart, and Anne Enright. He is currently working on a collection of essays relating to music and modernity in Ireland, entitled Celtic Tiger Blues (2016), featuring new material on the Pogues, Val Doonican, The Waterboys, and Augusta Holmes.

In 2011 Smyth wrote a two-man show entitled The Brother which he adapted from the work of Flann O'Brien. He performed the play (with actor David Llewellyn, directed by Andrew Sherlock) at an international Flann O'Brien conference in Vienna in July 2011, and at another international conference in Trieste in May 2012. The Brother had a six-night run at the Edinburgh Free Fringe Festival in August 2012, and has subsequently been performed at the Eleanor Rathbone Theatre (the University of Liverpool), as part of the 2012 May Festival at the University of Aberdeen, and at the IASIL (International Association for the Study of Irish Literature) Conference in Lille in June 2014. Smyth wrote a companion piece entitled Will the Real Flann O'Brien ...? A Life in Five Scenes which he performed (in a double header with The Brother) at the 2013 Liverpool Irish Festival.

Major publications[edit]

  • The Novel and the Nation: Studies in the New Irish Fiction (London: Pluto Press, 1997)
  • Decolonisation and Criticism: The Construction of Irish Literature (London: Pluto Press, 1998)
  • Explorations in Cultural History (with T.G. Ashplant) (London: Pluto Press, 2000)
  • Space and the Irish Cultural Imagination (Basingstoke and New York: Palgrave, 2001)
  • Across the Margins: Cultural Identity and Change in the Atlantic Archipelago (co-edited with Glenda Norquay) (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002)
  • (ed.) Music in Contemporary Ireland: A Special Edition of the Irish Studies Review 12.1 (April 2004)
  • Noisy Island: A Short History of Irish Popular Music (Cork: Cork University Press, 2005)
  • Beautiful Day: Forty Years of Irish Rock (with Sean Campbell) (Cork: Atrium Press, 2005)
  • Our House: The Representation of Domestic Space in Contemporary Culture (co-edited with Jo Croft) (Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2006)
  • Music in Contemporary British Fiction: Listening to the Novel (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan 2008)
  • Music in Irish Cultural History (Dublin and London: Irish Academic Press, 2009)[5]
  • The Judas Kiss: Treason and Betrayal in Six Modern Irish Novels (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015)

Under the name Gerry McGowan, Smyth has also released four albums of progressive folk music: The Colour Tree (2003), riverrun (2005), and The Usual Story (2008). He has also recorded and released two albums of Liverpool-related shanties: Roll & Go: Songs of Liverpool and the Sea (2009), and Across the Western Ocean (2011); the latter is a compilation of songs by various musicians from Merseyside performing shanties and ballads associated with Liverpool in aid of the Royal National Lifeboat Institute station in Hoylake, Merseyside.

In 2012 Smyth recorded and released an album entitled James Joyce's Chamber Music: this was a folk musical version (co-written and performed with his daughter) of the thirty-six lyric suite published by James Joyce in 1907. The album was launched at a concert in the Bluecoat Arts Centre in Liverpool in October 2012 as part of the Liverpool Irish Festival. In 2013 and 2014 Smyth performed concerts of selected material from this album at concerts in Nijmegen, Brussels, Kortrijk, Paris, Rennes, Reykjavik, Trieste, Kristiansand, Gothenburg, Sassari, and Florence. A website based on the album was launched at an event in the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool on 22 January 2015. [6]