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Dr Irene Morra

Overview

Position: Senior Lecturer Email: MorraI@cf.ac.uk
Telephone: +44(0)29 208 75662
Extension: 75662
Location: John Percival Building, Colum Drive, Cathays, Cardiff

Research Group

English Literature / Critical and Cultural Theory / Cultural Criticism

Research Interests

Drama: modern and contemporary; Renaissance, particularly its afterlife in literature, theatre, film, and contemporary cultural formations

Nationalism and national aesthetics, particularly in English and American literature, music, theatre, and political discourse

Intermediality, adaptation, and intertextuality: Victorian intertexualities; modernist aesthetics  (esp. Auden, Eliot, Woolf); music and literature; film and theatre; film and literature; popular music studies

Trans-Atlanticism:  Dickens and Twain, Southern Gothic and the Victorian novel

Selected Publications

Books

Britishness, Popular Music, and National Identity: The Making of Modern Britain. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Twentieth-Century British Authors and the Rise of Opera in Britain. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.

Articles

Gloriana and the New Elizabethan Stage.” Modernism and Opera, ed. Richard Begam and Matt Smith (2014).

“Maenads and Metatheatre: Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly Last Summer as Euripidean Myth.” Tennessee Williams Annual Review (2014).

“The Habit of Art: In the Beginning was the Word.” Modern Drama 56.3 (2013): 352-373.

“Constructing Camelot: Britain and the New World Musical.” Contemporary Theatre Review 19.1 (2009): 22-34.

“Modernist Literary Instincts and the Operatic Ideal.” Modernist Cultures 3.2 (2007).

“Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, and Italian Opera.” Essays in Criticism 57.3 (2007): 217-236.

“Performing the Edwardian Ideal: David Mamet and The Winslow Boy.” Modern Drama 48.4 (2005): 744-757.

“Musical Detection and Novelistic Tradition.” The Idea of Music in Victorian Fiction. Ed. Nicky Losseff and Sophie Fuller. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004. 151-170

Publications

Books

Britishness, Popular Music, and National Identity: The Making of Modern Britain. New York: Routledge, 2013.

Twentieth-Century British Authors and the Rise of Opera in Britain. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2007.

Articles

Gloriana and the New Elizabethan Stage.” Modernism and Opera, ed. Richard Begam and Matt Smith (2014).

“Maenads and Metatheatre: Tennessee Williams’s Suddenly Last Summer as Euripidean Myth.” Tennessee Williams Annual Review (2014).

“The Habit of Art: In the Beginning was the Word.” Modern Drama 56.3 (2013): 352-373.

“Outstaring the Sun: Contemporary Opera and the Literary Librettist.” Contemporary Music Review 29.2 (2010): 121-135.

“Constructing Camelot: Britain and the New World Musical.” Contemporary Theatre Review 19.1 (2009): 22-34.

“Wilkie Collins, George Eliot, and Italian Opera.” Essays in Criticism 57.3 (2007): 217-236.

“Modernist Literary Instincts and the Operatic Ideal.” Modernist Cultures 3.2 (2007).
http://www.js-modcult.bham.ac.uk/index.asp

“Performing the Edwardian Ideal: David Mamet and The Winslow Boy.” Modern Drama 48.4 (2005): 744-757.

“Musical Detection and Novelistic Tradition.” The Idea of Music in Victorian Fiction. Ed. Nicky Losseff and Sophie Fuller. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2004. 151-170.

“‘A Song Not Without Words’: Singing Billy Budd.” Literature and Musical Adaptation. Ed. Mike Meyer. New York: Rodopi, 2002. 7-27.

Encyclopedia Entries

“Opera Libretti in Translation.” Oxford History of Literary Translation in English. Ed. Lawrence Venuti. Vol.5. Oxford: Oxford UP. Forthcoming 2014.

“Drama in England, 1940-2002.” The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama. Ed.Gabrielle H. Cody and Evert Sprinchorn. New York: Columbia UP, 2007.

“Ronald Duncan.” The Columbia Encyclopedia of Modern Drama. Ed.Gabrielle H. Cody and Evert Sprinchorn. New York: Columbia UP, 2007.

“Elizabeth Cary”; “Dorothy L. Sayers”; “Muriel Spark.” Catholic Women Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical Sourcebook. Ed. Mary R. Reichardt. Westport: Greenwood, 2001.

“Musical Biography.” Encyclopedia of Life Writing. Ed. Margaretta Jolly. London: Fitzroy Dearborn, 2001.

“Ludwig van Beethoven”; “Domenico Scarlatti”; “Phillip Telemann.” Biographical Dictionary of Enlightenment and Revolution, 1690-1815. Ed. Kevin Dodson. Westport: Greenwood, 2001.

 

Reviews

The Importance of Being Earnest.”Scope: An Online Refereed Journal of Film Studies May 2003.

“Michael Kater, Composers of the Nazi Era: Eight Portraits.” University of Toronto Quarterly 71.1 (2001/2002): 330-332.

“Mansfield Park.” Scope: An Online Refereed Journal of Film Studies August 2001.

Research

My research is typically interdisciplinary and intertextual: it has led to publications in modern and contemporary drama; the Victorian novel; modernist aesthetics; Southern Gothic; music and literature; theatre and film adaptation. Much of this research works implicitly to expose the artificiality of disciplinary boundaries in the investigation of intertextuality, aesthetic formulations, and constructions of national culture.

Publications in this vein have explored transatlantic influence in Dickens, Tennyson, and Twain; opera and nationalist literary aesthetics in Wilkie Collins and George Eliot; theatrical tradition and influence in Euripides and Tennessee Williams; Virginia Woolf and modernist opera; definitions of the ‘avant-garde’ in Auden, Sitwell, and Britten; cinematic and theatrical tradition in David Mamet and Terence Rattigan; representations of musicality on the contemporary English stage; musical tradition in the novels and libretto of Ian McEwan; literary aesthetics and British popular music.

My first monograph, Twentieth-Century British Authors and the Rise of Opera in Britain (Ashgate 2007) offered a critical exploration of the contributions of such literary figures as Auden, Eliot, and Forster to the formulation of British operatic aesthetics in the twentieth century. Of particular interest within this study (and subsequent articles) has been the unique, underexplored interaction between literature and music in relation to received constructions of a modernist aesthetic.

Subsequent projects have focused on nationalist formulations of English aesthetics and a British national culture. My second monograph, Britishness, Popular Music, and National Identity: The Making of Modern Britain (Routledge 2013) offers an intensive examination of the social and cultural importance of popular music to contemporary celebrations of Britishness. The project argues that since the 1960s, popular music has surpassed literature to become the dominant signifier of modern British culture and identity. This position has been enforced in popular culture, literature, news and music media, political rhetoric -- and in much popular music itself. The study examines the implications of such practices and the various social and cultural values they construct and enforce. In so doing, it aims to expose the influential cultural and nationalist rhetoric around popular music and the dissemination of that rhetoric in various forms.

My current research expands upon these interests in relation to the invocation and translation of a ‘new Elizabethan’ ideal in literature, theatre, music, film, and political discourse from the 1920s to the present day. In June 2013, I organized an international, interdisciplinary conference on this theme at Senate House, London (“New Elizabethans 1953-2013: Nation, Culture, and Modern Identity”).

I have acted as an editorial reviewer for Modern Drama; Victorian Review; and Methuen Drama.

Biography

B.A. (English Literature, Musicology, and French Literature, University of Toronto); M.A. (Queen’s University); PhD (University of Toronto)

I have taught the following undergraduate modules at Cardiff University: Shakespeare’s Comedies; John Donne; The Victorian Novel (with Dr. Becky Munford); Literature into Film; The Film Musical; Modern Drama: Page Stage Screen; Modern Drama I and II; Music and Nation; The American South in Literature and Film. I currently teach an MA module in Modern and Contemporary American Drama.