The Graduate Studies Office hopes to bring you regular articles from research students in relation to their research, life at DCU and for some, how they have adapted to life in Dublin and Ireland.
Our first postgraduate student is Maxime Le Mée. Maxime is from France, studying for a PhD in the School of Theology, Philosophy and Music in DCU All Hallows Campus.
Maxime, can you tell me about your research?
I am in my first year preparing a thesis in musicology, focusing on Romanticism in the Victorian Era. I will use an analytic approach to theorise Romanticism in music after the philosophical and poetic movement that protested against Enlightenment and rationality in the nineteenth century. From the writings of the German philosophers and the Romantic poets – from Schlegel to Coleridge, my thesis will establish romantic music as a music developed against its own tonal nature. I will examine this theory on the music of Irish and British composers such as William Michael Balfe or William Sterndale Bennett. My written thesis will state my most consequent discoveries. In doing so, I wish to cast a new light on the Romanticism music of Great Britain and Ireland, under the reign of Victoria. This music has long existed in the shadow of German Romanticism. My study will grant a renewed interest to Victorian music while adding new perspectives to the understanding of Romanticism.
Tell me about your school
I am studying with the School of Theology, Philosophy and Music which is a new school in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. All Hallows, the campus I am based in, is quite close to the city centre of Dublin and is a former priest’s school. It is a beautiful building, which resembles ‘Hogwarts’ and is a very peaceful place for research. As the school is new, it’s in the developmental stage and research in musicology needs time to develop – this is why I am here, and happy to be contributing to this.
What’s it like living in Ireland?
The first challenge for me was communicating in a language that is not my own native language and then learning to live in a different culture and forming relationships. For example – I had to understand ‘how’s it going’ is just a phrase that doesn’t need to be answered all the time! I have found people to be very warm and friendly. I enjoy playing the fiddle in pubs where I notice that every Irish person is a bit of a singer and that it is possible to go to these sessions alone and end up with a whole army of new friends!
How do you find studying at DCU ?
The second challenge is the ‘American way’ of DCU. I had never studied in a University built like a student village, providing all the facilities on campus. The student life is therefore very different than the one I use to know and often gives me the impression of ‘living in a movie’. The University is particularly focused on business, and works like a company, with a great economic life and partnerships all over Ireland, as well as international. The student life is organised through Societies, which provide social, sports and varied cultural events.
What are your future plans for when you leave DCU?
I do not make plans. My philosophy of life is to enjoy what I am doing at the present time. I love to research, and this is what I am doing now. In the future, I could become an academic, a musician, a writer, stay in Ireland, go back to France, or travel the World. I could also completely change my interests and become a gardener or a mathematician: as long as it is interesting!