The Marie Frazee Baldassarre Lecture

Event Details
  The Marie Frazee Baldassarre Lecture
  October 24, 2012 4:00 PM
  October 24, 2012
  Cohen Lounge, Dickson Hall, Montclair State University
This talk will focus on the way Lady Gregory found her literary métier when hidden erotic experiences blossomed into poetry and then, in increasingly de-eroticized form, into fiction and drama.
The Irish writer Lady Augusta Gregory (1852 – 1932) is famous for her collections of folklore, her plays, and her work as founder of the Abbey Theatre in Dublin; she is not known as a poet.  However, at age thirty, she began an affair with the wealthy English poet, anti-imperialist, and  philanderer Wilfrid Scawen Blunt (1840 – 1922) and wrote a series of poems for him that were not discovered till long after her death.  These poems, Blunt noted in his diary, she wrote “as a farewell to our passion and put them in my hand the morning that we parted after a last night spent together.”   The moment Lady Gregory put the sonnets in Blunt’s hand, she shifted the ground of their relationship: theirs was no longer an intimacy between lovers but between  writers.  
Lucy McDiarmid has been Marie Frazee-Baldassarre Professor of English at Montclair State University since January 2009. She is the author and editor of five books, including most recently The Irish Art of Controversy (2005).  
The recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers of the New York Public Library, and past president of the American Conference for Irish Studies, Professor McDiarmid is known for her work in poetry and in cultural studies, especially her work on quirky, colorful, suggestive episodes.   She has just finished a book called Poets and the Peacock Dinner: the Literary History of a Meal; its subject is the peculiar testimonial dinner given in 1914 for Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.  Lucy McDiarmid is also co-editor of a forthcoming collection of essays on the material culture of the Irish home, and she has begun a book called The Women's 1916, which focuses on women's eye-witness accounts of the Easter Rising in Dublin.