Full listings of the Faculty of Arts' second annual English Literature research seminar series.
20 Oct 2010
Date(s):20 October 2010 16:30 - 11 May 2011 18:00
Location:C218 Lecture Theatre, Checkland Building, Falmer
English Literature Research Seminar Series (2010 - 11) - University of Brighton Faculty of Arts. Wednesdays from 16.30 - 18.00 (paper at 17.00) at C218 Lecture Theatre, Checkland Building, Falmer.
20 October: Dr John Wrighton, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton, 'Technology and the Poetic Cityscape'
John Wrighton’s paper takes us on a journey through the poetic cityscapes of American literary history. Focusing on the lyric narrative of the epic and the modernist long poem, his journey begins with Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, before traversing the continent via William Carlos Williams’ Paterson, New Jersey, Allen Ginsberg’s New York City, and Charles Olson’s Gloucester, Massachusetts. With each re-visioning of the poetic cityscape a new technological landscape is negotiated, and Wrighton’s paper seeks to analyse at each turn the complex interstices of place, form, and technology.
8 December: Dr Theodore Koulouris, School of English, University of Sussex, Dr Cathy Bergin and Dr Patricia McManus, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton, 'The Novel: Democracy’s Form?'
The Novel Research Collective (NRC) was formed in the spring of 2006. The founding impulse was a concern with the state of novel studies. This concern had a number of component strands, but these were crystallised in 2005 by the publication of Franco Moretti’s Graphs Maps and Trees. Both the elements of Moretti’s arguments against traditional literary history and the intensity of the critical response to his book, underlined the necessity to revisit the theoretical criteria through which we understand the novel as a problematic yet historically coherent genre. Our paper, therefore, aims to re-visit and reinvigorate the novel (as opposed to novel genres) as an historical and cultural form which both evades and demands concrete theorization, especially when seen in terms of its relationship with the concept of ‘democracy’. We will focus on two key problematics; the question of the politics of the novel as a form and the role of ‘genre’ as a theoretical concept capable of grasping the function of the novel and its political and philosophical allegiances.
Dr Cathy Bergin is a Senior Lecturer in the Humanities Programme at the University of Brighton's Faculty of Arts. She works on the politics of 'race' and African-American and Caribbean writing. Her research concentrates on the African-American Novel and Communist politics during the Depression. Dr Theodore Koulouris is Associate Tutor in English at the University of Sussex and Visiting Lecturer in Media and Cultural Studies at the University of Brighton's Faculty of Arts. In his latest publication, Hellenism and Loss in the Work of Virginia Woolf (2011), Koulouris offers the first comprehensive examination of Woolf’s novels in terms of her lifelong fascination with classical Greek literature and philosophy. Dr Patricia McManus teaches cultural and media history in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Brighton. Her research interests centre on the history of the novel and the history of the forms and politics of reading practices.
23 February: George Szirtes, Poet and translator, 'Poetry: Form as Material'
As readers we are used to form as product, and sometimes we might ask why it matters at all. Is not much of the significant verse of the twentieth century and beyond written in what is called ‘free verse’? And why should not prose be considered poetry? Certainly there are texts referred to as prose poems, and some writers of prose fiction do regard themselves as much poets as novelists.
We might then distinguish between form and formality, for, since a line in poetry does generally stop somewhere, we imagine there is a reason for it, and we call that reason ‘form’. Form then is what seems necessary and natural. But necessary for what? Natural to what?
And if we are talking about formality is that not the product of a more formal age - in other words, an aspect of tradition, a historical phenomenon?
This lecture is less about tradition than in the relationship between poet and language. It considers poetry as process as much as product. How does form work from the poet’s point of view? What is to be gained by engaging with it? What does it offer? What is the function of constraint? Does it make more sense to talk of the difference between verse and prose, rather than poetry and prose?
George Szirtes has won a number of major prizes for his many books of poetry and translation, including the T S Eliot Prize (2004). His New and Collected Poems appeared in 2008.
16 March: Dr Graham Dawson, Reader in Cultural History, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton, 'Silence, Memory and the Violent Past: Fictions of the Troubles in the Irish Peace Process'
Questions of memory have been central to the Irish peace process since 1994, first in the debates and controversies about the 'victims' of the Troubles, more recently in those concerning truth-recovery, the desire for justice, and 'dealing with the past'.
In this paper, Dr Dawson develops a dialogic reading of two novels - Deirdre Madden's One by One in the Darkness (1996) and David Park's The Truth Commissioner (2006) - to investigate how 'Troubles fiction' written during the peace process has engaged with these debates. In a society emerging from 25 years of political violence, memory is a deeply paradoxical and ambivalent phenomenon. The necessity for remembering the violent past to master its destructive effects through storytelling clashes with countervailing impulses to 'let the past be', to 'draw a line in the sand' and 'move on' into a future freed from 'the burden of the past' (Gready 2003). Such tensions are most concentrated and conflicted in relation to the silences and secrets that were systematically produced in a war characterised by masked gunmen, informers and double-agents; by rumours, myths and institutionalised lying; by concealment, misinformation, and a fearful 'culture of silence'.
The paper examines the formal strategies of imaginative fiction deployed in the two novels to explore this ambivalent territory of secrets, silence and the voicing of memories. In doing so, I argue, imaginative fictions are able to reflect critically on other practices of storytelling within transitional culture and to illuminate the struggles over what can and cannot be spoken.
Graham Dawson is Reader in Cultural History at the University of Brighton and author of Making Peace with the Past? Memory, Trauma and the Irish Troubles (Manchester University Press, 2007).
30 March: Dr Michael Wilson, Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton, '"Seen From the Inside Out": Literature, Narrative and Practice-Led Research'
“Story isn’t a flight from reality but a vehicle that carries us on our search for reality, our best effort to make sense out of the anarchy of existence” Given these words by Robert McKee, how we make and use story should be of major importance. Dr Michael Wilson looks at ways in which practice-led research through, for and into story can help that quest.
With a background in very traditional research practices - an Oxford doctorate and an ongoing project on Victorian poetry’s role in the debates around anthropology and spirituality in the 1860s – Michael was introduced to the idea of practice-led research through his work for the Faculty of Arts.
In 2008 he researched and wrote the AHRC/CHEAD joint report on the state of practice-led research in art, design and architecture and was enthused by the potential of practice-led methodologies. He was the winner of last year’s Brighton and Sussex Universities Creative Writing Olympics and is a tutor on some of the Faculty’s short writing courses. Here he reviews the steps of his journey towards application for further research study to continue his interest in the use of fiction writing as a research tool.
He considers what creativity can mean within a research context in literature, looks at the rigour inherent in craft, the presentation of tacit knowledge as well as some of the inherent problems of practice-led research including the differences between artistic innovation and arts research.
The session hopes to provide for an open discussion on how the standard approaches of critical observation might be enhanced through what Robert McKee describes as “story seen from the inside out” – a process similar to exploring cakes from a baker’s standpoint rather than a restaurant critic’s.
11 May: Dr Liam Clarke, Reader in Mental Health, School of Nursing and Midwifery, University of Brighton, 'Projective Identification in Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier'
People lie to each other. Whether deliberately or unconsciously we succeed in much of what we do by fibbing. Forget about communication courses: you don’t need them. Harold Pinter said that we communicate too well, in what is said and unsaid, that we persistently evade, avoiding that disclosure that would evidence the poverty within us. And, naturally, revelation brings trouble in its wake. In The Good Soldier there occurs a public ‘minuet’ of four characters who ‘take to the floor’, their choreographed exchanges seemingly civilised but a distortion of their inner motivations and impulses.
Using a concept of projective identification (PI), I will look at how the novel’s characters deal with their emotional conflicts and thought processes. The basic assumption of PI is that people falsely attribute internal/external stressors - usually unwanted or intolerable sensed qualities - into others. Unlike straightforward projection, where the impulse is psychically attributed, with PI an interchange occurs in which the recipient of the projection comes to accept, and be shaped by (choreographed), some of its qualities. Over time, it becomes difficult to discern the origins of the shared feelings, thoughts, behaviours of those concerned.
Familiarity with psychoanalysis permitted Ford Madox Ford to construct a narrative structure of extreme unreliability, much of which echoes life itself.
BiographyLiam Clarke is currently Reader in Mental Health at the School of Nursing and Midwifery and author of Fiction’s Madness (PCCS Books, 2009). He works within the Mental Health Division of the school where, for some time, he has struggled to broaden the curriculum in favour of approaches to ‘mental illness’ that do not abandon medical constructs but that, in addition, include considerations from the wider humanities.
Papers lasted approx. 25-30 mins, followed by discussion.