Here's me fangirling outside Nora Barnacle's house in 2015
When I started my PhD, I knew that I wanted to work, in some capacity, on Joyce. I also knew that I wanted to expand my research to look not only at Joyce, and I couldn't be happier in what I finally settled on (see 'Academic'!). As the first year of my research progresses, it's been such a joy to find new writers and artists to fall in love with (holla at my Emma Goldman tribe), but I have to admit, I miss the hours I spent with Joyce during my Masters. He's like an old friend - a weird, often problematic, probably-only-texts-you-when-he-needs-something friend, but a friend I love deeply non the less, because he teaches me things I didn't know I knew about myself.
A while ago, I met Sean Richardson, a first year Doctoral Candidate at Nottingham Trent University. Sean is generally just the best kind of outward facing academic - he runs the Modernist Podcast (which I was a panelist on!), the Queer Modernisms Conference, and is the editor of the Woolf Zine. Now, my relationship with Woolf has always been a bit distant. Don't get me wrong, I obviously know she's an incredible writer, and a hugely influential figure, and any woman who can have that said about them has my backing. Still, for some reason, I'm yet to really connect with her writing on an emotional level. I 'get it' in my brain, but it doesn't move me - I'm sure there's something I'm missing, and I'll have the light bulb moment any day. Any how - much as Woolf isn't one of my favourites, I couldn't help but be impressed with the zine - it was such an innovative way of platforming reception to her work in an accessible and discursive way. There aren't enough spaces for 'non-academics' to speak about their academic thoughts, and as academics I think we're often removed from our love of literature by the research process itself. I decided that the perfect way for me to reconnect with Joyce, whilst doing something small to make democratise Joyce scholarship, would be to emulate the Woolf Zine.
And so, The Agenbite was born. The title itself came very easily - it was always one of my favourite Joyce-isms, I stumbled across it first during my undergrad. Agenbite of Inwit is commonly conceived to mean the biting of one's conscience - the phrase mostly occurs when Stephen thinks of his mother - but as always it works on multiple levels. The again biting of inner wit - the thing that stays with you. In many ways, that's what Joyce and his work is for me, it informs so much of my work in academia and generally in life, and it continues to excite, frustrate and move me. I know there are so many people out there who feel similarly, and The Agenbite is a place for us all to share our reactions, thoughts and ideas in formats which don't normally get a look in.
We're accepting submissions for the first issue now, with the intention of publishing in March 2017. Submissions can take any form as long as it can appear on the page - poetry, thought pieces, interviews, essays, cartoons etc. You can email me at email@example.com to submit, or with any questions. Also, please go and follow The Agenbite on twitter HERE!
I look forward to hearing from you!