Exhibition Closing with Margaret Mills Harper & Crazy Jane

Fergus Bourke: Hawthorn Tree, Connemara

Fergus Bourke: Hawthorn Tree, Connemara

Yeats and the West logo

Exhibition Closing

with

Prof. Margaret Mills Harper

University of Limerick

‘Yeats & the Problem of Crazy Jane’

Monday 15 February 2016

Professor Margaret Mills Harper on Crazy Jane

Professor Margaret Mills Harper on Crazy Jane

To close the exhibition in Galway, Margaret Mills Harper gave a sparkling talk on philosophy, sex, censorship balladry, and poetics, including Cracked Mary, Crazy Jane, and a type of grass no one in the room admitted to having tried called ‘Warlock’. Introducing her exhibition curator Adrian Paterson thanked her for her scholarship and the energy she radiates whenever and wherever in the world talking about Yeats. He also warmly thanked his co-curator Barry Houlihan, and all the other contributors to the exhibition over a more than a year’s work.

Dr Adrian Paterson and Professor Margaret Mills Harper

Dr Adrian Paterson and Professor Margaret Mills Harper

Come and see us in Sligo! Opening at The Model, 24 March.

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Margaret Mills Harper is Glucksman Professor of Contemporary Writing in English at the University of Limerick. She is the author of The Aristocracy of Art: Joyce and Wolfe (1990), and Wisdom of Two: The Spiritual and Literary Collaboration of George and W. B. Yeats ( 2006). She has co-edited two of the four volumes of Yeats’s “Vision” Papers (1992 and 2001) and both the 1925 and 1937 versions of Yeats’s A Vision (2008, 2015).

Crazy Jane and the Bishop
Bring me to the blasted oak
That I, midnight upon the stroke,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
May call down curses on his head
Because of my dear Jack that’s dead.
Coxcomb was the least he said:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

Nor was he Bishop when his ban
Banished Jack the Journeyman,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Nor so much as parish priest,
Yet he, an old book in his fist,
Cried that we lived like beast and beast:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

The Bishop has a skin, God knows,
Wrinkled like the foot of a goose,
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Nor can he hide in holy black
The heron’s hunch upon his back,
But a birch-tree stood my Jack:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

Jack had my virginity,
And bids me to the oak, for he
(All find safety in the tomb.)
Wanders out into the night
And there is shelter under it,
But should that other come, I spit:
The solid man and the coxcomb.

from Words for Music Perhaps (1931)

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