English Seminar: Alex Howard, ‘Asbos, Strangers, Fences: Some Notes on the State of Contemporary British Fiction’

Alex Howard: ‘Asbos, Strangers, Fences: Some Notes on the State of Contemporary British Fiction’ This paper focuses on recent fictional and non-fictional work produced by a series of major contemporary British writers such as Martin Amis, Sarah Waters, and Zadie Smith. It considers what these writers have to say about the concerns of contemporary British …

English Seminar: Sophie Frazer, ‘“Speaking brokenly”: George Eliot’s Romola and the phenomenology of loss’

Sophie Frazer, ‘“Speaking brokenly”: George Eliot’s Romola and the phenomenology of loss’ George Eliot’s historical romance Romola (1862-3) has long been considered a failure. An ambitious revivification of Renaissance Florence, with an awkward, obsessive verisimilitude, Romola has often been judged a failure of style and story. Much of the derision has centred on the eponymous …

English Seminar: Lauren Weber, ‘Empathy and Autism in Contemporary Education: Reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’

Lauren Weber, ‘Empathy and Autism in Contemporary Education: Reading The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’ Empathy as an outcome of literary study is a core feature of the way English as a subject is figured in educational policy, and conceived of by English teachers. Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel The Curious Incident of …

English Seminar: Samantha Poulos, ‘Reading Femininity and Gender Possibility in YA Fiction’

Samantha Poulos, ‘Reading Femininity and Gender Possibility in YA Fiction’   Young Adult (YA) literature is a genre that can expose and explore the performativity of gender. Texts of this category often highlight the binary hierarchy of masculinity and femininity through their emphasised noting of the clothing and physical appearance of characters. These descriptions of …

English Seminar: Anne Rogerson, ‘Are Dons Monsters?: Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night and the Aeneid’

Anne Rogerson, ‘Are Dons Monsters?: Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night and the Aeneid’ The Aeneid echoes strangely through Dorothy L. Sayers’ Gaudy Night (1935). The poison pen letters that precipitate the story use Virgil’s horrendous Harpies as figures for the novel’s women dons, and throughout this classic work of detective fiction Virgilian allusions continue thick …

English Seminar: Rethinking Dramatic Irony with John Williams’s Stoner

Lucas Thompson, ‘Rethinking Dramatic Irony with John Williams’s Stoner’ John Williams’s recently rediscovered post-war American classic Stoner (1965) — virtually unknown until its republication in 2003 — has received widespread public and critical acclaim. But since the entire plot is told in capsule form on page one, why do readers keep reading? What do they want to …

English Seminar: Into the Wild: Characterising Hagar in Medieval Texts

Emma Knowles, ‘Into the Wild: Characterising Hagar in Medieval Texts’ Abstract: Ecocriticism and medieval biblical poetry might, at first glance, seem an odd mix. In this paper, however, I will argue that such a combination is actually the basis for a fruitful reinterpretation of the Old English poem Genesis A and related texts. Hagar and …

Symposium: Writing, Reading, Rioting (University of Melbourne)

2019 marks two hundred years since the ‘Peterloo massacre’, when cavalry charged a peaceful pro-democracy rally at St Peter’s Field in Manchester. This anniversary offers us an opportunity to look back on the interchanges between text, protest, and repression in the Revolutionary Age, and to bring this historical period into dialogue with the present, where …

English Seminar: Global Others, Global Selves

Anna Guttman, Lakehead University, Ontario Global Others, Global Selves: Jewish-Muslim intimacy in the literature of Ayad Akhtar While Ayad Akhtar, a Muslim-American writer of Pakistani descent, is best known for his critical examination of the place and identity of the American Muslim in the post-9/11world, I argue that Jewish-Muslim intimacy is the key to Akhtar’s …