Love’s Old Sweet Song: The Music of James Joyce | Virtual Behind the Bookcase Tour

Date / Time

  • June 24, 2021
    6:00 pm - 7:00 pm


Readers of James Joyce know that music—including both traditional Celtic folksongs and the parlor music of the 1800s and early 1900s—occupies a prominent place in the fictional narratives the author creates. This special, musical Behind the Bookcase virtual tour will pair live Celtic harp performances of songs Joyce knew well with discussions of key Joyce texts, alongside a showcase of iconic artifacts from The Rosenbach’s world-renowned Joyce collection. What role did music play in Joyce’s life and writings? How can the songs he references (both their melodies and their lyrics) open new interpretations of the author’s literary oeuvre? What does harp—the instrument of focus for this program—symbolize to the Celtic people? Can Joyce’s use of traditional Celtic music inform a post-colonial approach to the life, work, and legacy of this iconic Irish author who possessed a notable globalist viewpoint? The tour will be broadcasted live from The Rosenbach’s historic parlor. Songs to be performed include “Down by the Sally Gardens,” “Ye Banks and Braes of Bonnie Doon,” “I Dreamt That I Dwelt in Marble Halls,” “The Lass of Aughrim,” and “Love’s Old Sweet Song.” Following the event, attendees will receive digital copies of historic sheet music of many of the pieces performed on harp at the event, which have been provided by the Sheet Music Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia Music Department.


This is a FREE program that will be held on Zoom. After registration, you will receive the link via email. Be sure to check your spam folder. If you do not receive your link please email [email protected] 

Bloomsday 2021 is made possible through a generous grant from The Consulate General of Ireland’s Emigrant Support Programme. Special thanks to Lenore H. Steiner and Perry A. Lerner. 

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