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Critical literary essays by Gillian Dooley discussing authors and novels.
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Item‘These Happy Effects on the Character of the British Sailor’: Family Life in Sea Songs of the late Georgian period.(Amsterdam University Press, 2020)Songs about sailors were popular during the late Georgian period in Britain. Some were directed towards men in the navy or potential recruits, but they were also part of the musical repertoire of the middle-class drawing room. A common theme is the importance of family life. With large numbers of men needed to serve in the military in this time of war and colonial expansion, it was essential for the home front that their families remained cohesive, and ballads were sometimes written with the express purpose of promoting fidelity and patience on the part of both men and women. This chapter examines the varieties of family and conjugal relations presented in the verbal and musical rhetoric of a selection of these songs.
ItemThe Library at Soho Square: Matthew Flinders, Sir Joseph Banks and the Publication of A Voyage to Terra Australis.(Bibliographical Society of ANZ, 2017)An account of Matthew Flinders' research and writing of the introduction to his Voyage to Terra Australis, including his use of London libraries like that of Sir Joseph Banks.
ItemMARIANNE AND WILLOUGHBY, LUCY AND COLIN: BETRAYAL, SUFFERING, DEATH AND THE POETIC IMAGE(Mimesis, 2018)Many of the song lyrics in Jane Austen’s personal music books (some collected or transcribed by her, some inherited or passed on from family members) are couched in the sentimental poetic diction prevalent in the eighteenth century, with highly conventional pastoral settings and imagery. I have been particularly struck by a long ballad in seven parts titled ‘Colin and Lucy’, which is a 1783 setting by Tommaso Giordani of a 1725 poem by Thomas Tickell (1685-1740) describing the betrayal, death and revenge of a wronged woman. The printed music of this ballad is in a book inscribed by Jane Austen, and it seems likely that she was familiar with it and probably sang and played it herself. Several incidents included in the song are echoed and perhaps deliberately parodied in Austen’s novel Sense and Sensibility (1811), although the rhetoric and imagery are strikingly different. The novel’s language, though often dramatic, is matter-of-fact and literal. In this paper I will discuss the ballad’s musical and lyrical rhetoric and how Austen alters and undercuts its poetic imagery in her treatment of similarly dramatic (though not fatal) events in the novel.
ItemReview of 'Whaddaya Know?' Writings for Syd Harrex( 2016-06)Review of 'Whaddaya Know?' Writings for Syd Harrex edited by Ron Blaber.
ItemMatthew Flinders: the Man Behind the Map of Australia(Royal Society of Victoria, 2015)In 1925, W.H. Langham wrote of Matthew Flinders that he possessed ‘a personality of singular strength and charm.’ In this lecture, Gillian Dooley will look to the primary sources to build up a portrait of this man who was the first to circumnavigate Australia and who charted a large portion of the country’s coastline. Flinders was born in Lincolnshire, the son of a ‘man-midwife’ and surgeon apothecary in the small town of Donington. His father intended him to follow in the same profession but Matthew had other ideas. He was determined to join the Navy and by perseverance and good luck he was able to do so. He was ambitious, and put himself forward whenever he saw an opportunity of doing so, most famously in writing to Sir Joseph Banks to offer to complete the charting of the Australian coasts begun by Captain James Cook. Determination, perseverance and ambition meant Flinders took risks, and luck was not always on his side. When things went badly for him, he responded with indignation but eventually recovered his equanimity and made the best of his situation, at the same time displaying a gift for warm friendship and a wry sense of humour. He was a devoted husband, a meticulous cartographer, and an expert navigator and leader, with a scientific mind and a romantic soul.
Item'No family, no wife, no friends, no infidelities': Wives Present and Absent in Naipaul's Autobiographical Fiction.(South Asian Review, 2015)V.S. Naipaul’s 1987 novel The Enigma of Arrival is set in the 1970s in the Wiltshire countryside where Naipaul lived with his wife for 10 years. In this novel, Naipaul has explicitly identified the narrator with his own ‘seeing eye, my feeling person’, while leaving out his personal relationships, and the narrator gives no hint of being married. In this paper I speculate on some possible structural and artistic reasons for this omission, and I read both this novel and some of Naipaul’s earlier fiction, including A House for Mr Biswas (1962), for implicit traces of his first wife and their marriage, contracted in 1955, which he explicitly excluded from this autobiographical novel.