Happy New Year!
Our first offerings for 2012 are as diverse as ever. Same location (Seminar Room A in the English Faculty Building) and time (5.15pm). All welcome.
Please contact me if you have any questions or would like to present in the future.
30 January (Week 3): ‘Edward Lear’s Origins’. Dr James Williams, Brasenose and Jesus Colleges
Lear was a writer of and for children, people at the beginning of their life: he is also considered, rightly or wrongly, as a starting-point, the originating ‘Father of Nonsense’. This paper considers Lear’s concern with origins (both a private fascination and a Victorian cultural obsession): where we come from, how we begin to speak, how to make new starts. It also gives some thought to the origins, and originality, of his nonsense, in the context of a Romantic inheritance of writing about children. The paper is part of on-going work towards the first critical monograph on Lear in over thirty years.
13 February (Week 5): ‘Encountering the Arabian Nights’. Melissa Dickson, King’s College London
The Arabian Nights, never adequately situated in historical time, was often first encountered in childhood and became a powerful memory for many individuals in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Knowledge of this protean collection of Persian, Arabian, and Indian folk tales cannot stem from a first text or clearly identifiable source, but from a series of individual encounters with illustrations, concepts, characters, and stories drawn from different and even contradictory versions of the work. In this paper, Melissa Dickson, a PhD candidate at King’s College London and fellow of the Australian Federation of University Women, will explore the circumstances surrounding childhood exposure to the tales and the potential return to childhood offered by rediscovery of the work across various media in later life.
27 February (Week 7): ‘“The Soul Has No Sign”: A Prosthetics of Pain in the Child Soldier Novel’. Tamara Moellenberg, Brasenose College
Examining recent novels by Uzodinma Iweala, Chris Abani, and Delia Jarrett-Macauley concerned with the experience of the child soldier in regions of West Africa, Tamara Moellenberg, a second-year DPhil candidate at Brasenose, considers the instrumentalisation of the child-body as a vehicle for human rights, bearing witness to physical atrocity. Focalizing her analysis through the representation of pain, Tamara will look at wounded child bodies as ‘narrative prostheses’ for concepts of discursive immediacy, psychic trauma, and the act of impugning blame in international contests of culpability.