15 November 2014
24 October 2014
Dr Anthony Howe (Birmingham City University) - Finding Gloucester’s Eyeballs: Keats’s Letters and their Poetry (Wednesday 5th Nov 2014, 5.30pm, Hallgarth House, Department of English)
This paper will ask what it means to make literary critical, as opposed to biographical or other-paraphrastic, use of Keats's letters. I will discuss the generic extensiveness of Keats's epistolary writing -- its writerly fullness -- and the problems of traditional category in this respect. In particular I will consider the losses incurred when we isolate Keats's poetry from the letters into which, in many cases, they were placed. You may wish to (re-) read the short poems 'On the Sea' and 'The Eve of St Mark' in preparation.
13 October 2014
Broadcasting Beckett: Adaptations from the BBC Written Archives Centre Prof. Matthew Feldman 15 Oct 2014, 5:30pm, Hallgarth House, Department of English
Broadcasting Beckett: Adaptations from the BBC Written Archives Centre
Prof. Matthew Feldman
15 Oct 2014, 5:30pm, Hallgarth House, Department of English (see attachment)
This paper will reconsider Beckett's relationship with the BBC through recourse to neglected files held at the Written Archives Centre in Caversham. Collectively, these materials - covering a range of aspects concerning Beckett's work for the BBC - including contracting, correspondence, negotiation over content and so on - reveal a far greater engagement with radio broadcasting than has been previously acknowledged. During the crucial years between 1957 and 1962, this not only included his five oft-discussed radio plays, but extended adaptations of most of his major works (including the Trilogy, Waiting for Godot with a narrator (!), and other surprises), debates over musical accompaniment and BBC framing and much more, bearing out Donald McWhinnie's prophetic, internal BBC memorandum from 1957: ‘if he is to write at all in the near future it will be for radio, which has captured his imagination’. While an overview of these materials will be offered, consideration of these key five years will be included insofar as they may have contributed to a change in Beckett's poetics toward 'abstract drama' and writing.
For more information, contact email@example.com.
9 June 2014
Staff PG Research Seminar: Professor Jill P. Ingram, The Empathetic Thief and the Festive 'Gatherer': the Economics of Dramatic Convention in Renaissance Drama
This coming Wednesday we’ve a talk by a visiting American scholar:
The Empathetic Thief and the Festive 'Gatherer': the Economics of Dramatic Convention in Renaissance Drama
11th June 2014, 16:30 to 18:30, CM107, Maths department, Professor Jill P. Ingram
A staff and postgraduate research seminar.
Please note that this seminar will take place in CM107 (Maths department), not in the Hallgarth House seminar room.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this event.
19 March 2014
Inventions #9 26.03.14 Dr Julian Reidy: Computer Games as Narrative Games; George Potts: The Sopranos and the Post Modern Gangster
Dr Julian Reidy is a post-doctoral researcher affiliated with the Thomas Mann archive at the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences at ETH, Zürich. In September, Julian will be a one-term visiting professor at the University of Geneva. Julian’s interests cover intergenerational relationships in post 1945 German literature, the semantics of ‘Barbarism’ from the 18th century to the present, Bernward Vesper, and of course Thomas Mann. Julian is the author of two monographs Forget[ting] What Parents Are: A Re-reading and Literary History of 'Vaeterliteratur', and Reconstruction and Postheroism: Paradigms of Generational Novels in Contemporary German Literature. He is currently working on his Habilitation thesis, which will deal with Interiors and the Semantics of Space in Thomas Mann. Julian has published widely on Mann, Bernward Vesper, and generational/family novels. He also contributed two articles to the forthcoming Thomas-Mann-Handbook. Wednesday’s paper, ‘Narrative Games’, is a taster of a forthcoming article.
„You just complicate the narrative!“ Computer games as ‚Erzählspiele’ (narrative games)
Dr. Julian Reidy, ETH Zürich
The German Reallexikon der deutschen Literaturwissenschaft defines a narrator as “diejenige Instanz, die die Information über die erzählte Welt vermittelt”, that is, the arbiter and intermediator of the information contained within a fictional text. The discipline of narratology provides scholars with the necessary tools to identify narrators in non-interactive media – but things get messy when computer games, a new and by definition interactive medium, come into play. The “task” assigned to a computer game’s ‘reader’ is not merely an “interpretative” one, he or she is actually “responsible for creating the plot” through ludic action. And the plot set in motion by the player was itself already predetermined by the game’s programmers. Who, then, mediates, arbitrates, ‘narrates’ a computer game? Can computer games even be considered to be narratives at all or are they – as Jesper Juul stipulates – mere tests of “performative skills”, lacking the qualities usually ascribed to narratives? By tackling questions such as these, my paper will attempt to clarify the narratological status of computer games. In accordance with Albrecht Koschorke’s recent insights into the connections between ‘narrative’ and ‘play’, the “homo narrans” and the “homo ludens”, I will present a multi-faceted narratological model of the computer game that takes into account the young medium’s aesthetic specificity and its inherent artistic and critical potential.
George Potts is a PhD candidate at University College London, researching the relationship between the writings of John Milton and Geoffrey Hill supervised by Prof. Philip Horne, and funded by a Wolfson Scholarship. He has a strong secondary interest in film and television, is currently running a series of seminars at UCL on contemporary TV drama and is in the early stages of editing a collection of essays on national identity in contemporary TV drama. George has reviewed for the TLS and the Los Angeles Review of Books.
‘You seen The Godfather?’ – The Sopranos and the postmodern gangster
In recent years, the television drama series has undergone radical development, both in terms of series-creators’ ambitions for the medium and the levels of expectation of the audience. Episodic storylines have increasingly expanded into season-long arcs, allowing for a far greater subtlety to narratives, which are no longer dependent upon satisfying the casual viewer. Instead changes in distribution – DVD boxsets, online viewing and cable networks such as HBO and AMC – have created a culture in which complexity is increasingly important to TV, impacting upon how one should create and watch a series.
Premiering on HBO in 1999, The Sopranos is arguably the most significant television series of the last twenty years. A critical darling as well as the most commercially successful cable series in the history of TV, The Sopranos won 21 Emmy Awards and 5 Golden Globes across its six seasons. The show has been described by The New Yorker as ‘the richest achievement in the history of television’ and was voted the greatest TV drama of all time by the Guardian. It ushered in a new era of drama, in particular a golden age of television for HBO at the turn of the new millennium.
This paper will offer a close reading of the different ways in which The Sopranos consciously engages with the mafia film tradition. Beginning with Sopranos creator David Chase’s assertion that ‘most mob dramas are period pieces … even if they’re set in the present day, they feel like they belong to a different era’, the paper will consider how the series reinvented a dominant strand of American cinema for the small screen. Mob dramas are heavily indebted to generic conceptions, questing back to cinematic masterpieces such as The Godfather (1972) and Goodfellas (1990) which loom large over the landscape of cinema history. In attempting to rework the genre for the twenty-first century, any director has to make the difficult transition from a film in which gangsters’ conceptions of themselves are based upon notions of family and honour, passed down through generations, to conceptions that derive from the mafia movie itself.
By considering the metatextual quality of The Sopranos, this paper will explore one way in which the series broke new ground for television drama by aspiring to something that cinema had never attempted. As well as this, it will briefly consider the way in which other HBO television series have achieved critical acclaim by freeing themselves from generic constraints – The Wire and the police procedural, Deadwood and the western – while others, such as Boardwalk Empire, have perhaps been marginalised because they have retreated back into period drama and failed to carry on The Sopranos’ legacy.
17 March 2014
On Wednesday March 19, Alexander Waugh will deliver a public lecture entitled “A Word or Two About Evelyn Waugh” at 7pm in Elvet Riverside 201.
Alexander Waugh is the grandson of Evelyn Waugh and the son of columnist Auberon Waugh. He has written several books on music (he was formerly Chief Opera Critic at the Evening Standard) and critically acclaimed books on a broad range of subjects including Time (1999) and God (2002). His study, Fathers and Sons: The Autobiography of a Family (2004), examined five generations of the Waughs. He is currently General Editor of a 42-volume scholarly edition of The Complete Works of Evelyn Waugh.