School of English Research Seminar 2010 – University of Kent

Wednesdays, 4.00 p.m., Darwin Lecture Theatre 3

20 October – Geoff Dyer, ‘Cameras are Clocks for Seeing: on Camera Lucida’. Geoff Dyer is a novelist and essayist whose books include The Ongoing Moment (2005), Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi (2009) and a new collection of essays, Working the Room (2010). He has written the foreword to a new edition of Roland Barthes’s Camera Lucida, and will explore in this talk its legacy after thirty years.


27 October – Nina Power, ‘Stony Ground but not entirely: Beckett and Humanity’. Nina Power is Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at Roehampton University. She is the author of One-Dimensional Woman (Zero Books, 2009) and co-editor of Alain Badiou’s On Beckett (Clinamen, 2003). Her writing appears regularly in such publications as the Guardian, New Statesman and Radical Philosophy. In this paper she will explore Samuel Beckett’s relation to the Humanities, via a reading of his understanding of humanity itself.


3 November – Will Viney, ‘‘Make it Waste’: The Poetic Economies of Eliot and Joyce’. Will Viney is a Ph.D. student at the London Consortium, and is working on a thesis about the cultural and aesthetic significance of waste in twentieth-century literature and visual art. His research engages the history of ruins aesthetics, the temporalities of decay in Modernist fiction and poetry, and the catastrophic imagination in contemporary art.


10 November – Tom McCarthy, ‘Modernism and the anti-humanist novel now’. Tom McCarthy a novelist and artist. He is the author of C (Jonathan Cape, 2010), which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2010. His previous books include Remainder (Metronome Press, 2005), Men in Space (Alma, 2007) and Tintin and the Secret of Literature (Granta, 2006). For this event, he will be reading from C and discussing the legacies of Modernism for the contemporary novel.


17 November – Sophie Ratcliffe, ‘Beckett and Abortion’. Sophie Ratcliffe is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Oxford. She is the author of On Sympathy (OUP, 2008) and is currently editing the letters of P. G. Wodehouse.


24 November – Elaine Hobby, ‘On The Birth of Mankind’. Elaine Hobby is Professor of English and Drama at Loughborough University. She is editor of Jane Sharp, The Midwive’s Book (OUP, 1999) and The Birth of Mankind (Ashgate, 2009), and is working on a history of the midwifery manual from 1540 to 1720.


1 December – Laura Doyle, ‘Postcolonial or Inter-Imperial? The Dialectics of Culture in the Longue Durée’. Laura Doyle is Professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Her books include Bordering on the Body: The Racial Matrix of Modern Fiction and Culture (OUP, 1994) and Freedom’s Empire: Race and the Rise of the Novel in Atlantic Modernity, 1640-1940 (Duke University Press, 2008). She is currently working on a book about the dialectics of global literary history and a book-length essay on cubism in art and fiction, informed by the philosophies of Frantz Fanon and Maurice Merleau-Ponty.


8 DecemberMonica Mattfeld, ‘Spectacular Masculinity: Visable Centaurs and Virtuous Horsemanship in the British Long Eighteenth Century’ and Fiona Masterson, ‘Patches, Powder and Paint: Cosmetics in Literature 1790-1820’. Monica Mattfield and Fiona Masterson are Ph.D. students at the School of English, University of Kent. In this seminar, they will both discuss the content and scope of their research and explore the particular implications of research on material culture in the context of literary studies.

15 December – Brian Dillon, ‘A Short History of Hypochondria’. Brian Dillon is AHRC Research Fellow in the Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Kent. He is author of In the Dark Room (Penguin, 2005) and Tormented Hope: Nine Hypochondriac Lives (Penguin 2009). A novel, Sanctuary, will be published by Sternberg Press in 2011. In this paper he’ll discuss the development of hypochondria from an organic disease in the seventeenth century to its flourishing as a psychiatric and aesthetic concept in the nineteenth.


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