The First World War poet and composer Ivor Gurney (1890–1937) spent the last fifteen years of his life confined in a Kent mental hospital before dying prematurely of tuberculosis. How good was Gurney's war poetry, and has his music stood the test of time? Why did try to re-write Shakespeare's plays? How far do recently uncovered archives transform our understandings both of Ivor Gurney's troubled life and his remarkable work?
Kate Kennedy of the Oxford Centre for Life-Writing discusses her ground-breaking biography of Ivor Gurney Dweller in Shadows (Princeton 2021) with Duncan McCargo, in an unusual podcast that includes readings of his poetry, and two specially recorded examples of his music. The podcast opens and closes with Kate Kennedy (cello) and Simon Over (piano) performing Gurney's song Sleep. We also hear Simon accompany Dominic Bevan as he sings Severn Meadows, a rare example of Gurney setting his own words to music.
Rare treats lie in store for the listener.
Duncan McCargo is an eclectic, internationalist political scientist and literature buff: his day job is directing the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Learn more here, here, here, and here.