Bing Jin (University of International Business and Economics, Beijing) will be presenting her paper, ‘Chinese Neo-Victorianism’, at 11.30am on Friday, 11 August 2017. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.47. Please note the change of time and venue.
Abstract In this lecture, Prof. Bing Jin will offer a complex analysis of the rise, developments and recent trends in the academic study of the neo-Victorian novel in China, with special focus on such authors as A.S. Byatt, John Fowles and Graham Greene. She will also discuss the different assumptions and approaches in contemporary Chinese (Neo)Victorianist scholarship in contrast to that in Britain.(more…)
Pip at the Fingerpost: Nineteenth-Century Urban Conflict and the Regional Reception of Great Expectations
Mary Hammond, Tuesday 12 Apr 2016, CEIR Seminar Series
In The Country and the City (1973) Raymond Williams examines how rural and urban life has been depicted in English literature since the sixteenth century. Arriving at Cambridge University as an undergraduate from his hometown in the Welsh Black Mountains, Williams discovered that the way rural life (a life he knew very well) was represented in literature was nothing like the reality. In fact, Williams argued that rural life, as portrayed in the literary canon, was a construction that served the social order of the times. The country was Edenic, whilst the city was a thriving metropolis of capitalist production.
Dr Mary Hammond
It is a binary that Dr Mary Hammond (University of Southampton) unpicked (or, at least reduced), in her recent paper at the Centre. Taking a highly nuanced approach, Mary used Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (1861) as a lens to think about cultural change during the novel’s initial reception context. Arguing that Victorianists often only refer to London-based media to understand a text’s immediate historical significance, Mary suggested that we begin to interrogate the rural press, as well, to enhance our understanding of how the novel signified to different audiences. Great Expectations is the perfect text to explore these reactions as the pivotal moment in the novel is when Pip leaves the Kent countryside of his childhood for London in order to become a Gentleman. (more…)
Mary Hammond (University of Southampton) will be presenting her paper, ‘Pip at the Fingerpost: Nineteenth-Century Urban–Rural Conflict and the Regional Reception of Great Expectations’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 12 April 2016. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 3.58, and will be followed by a wine reception.
Abstract This talk explores the surprisingly varied responses of contemporary reviewers to one of the key narrative turns in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (1860–61): the moment when Pip, the main character, leaves the rural marshes of Kent to begin a new life as a London gentleman. This scene has often been characterised by modern critics as a Miltonian moment of prelapsarian hubris which underpins the novel’s broader themes of selfish ambition and lifelong regret. But contemporary reviewers saw it—and the novel’s message—very differently, and the variety of their responses is remarkable. Metropolitan reviewers’ hostility towards Dickens’s unflattering portrayal of the urban upper classes contrasts sharply with the much more sympathetic stance taken in most regional newspapers. Many of these regional papers also reproduced pirated extracts carefully selected to highlight rural characters and interests and paint London in an unflattering light. This talk demonstrates how the reception history of the text points directly to a significant animus and rivalry in rural–urban perceptions, and points to the value of studying changing urban and regional responses to a literary work over time to enhance our understanding of the potential plurality of its impact, and of the ways in which relationships between the rural and the urban were perceived by contemporaries in an age of mass migration and rapid social change. (more…)
Katie Halsey (Stirling) will be presenting her paper, ‘Reading Jane Austen’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 23 October 2012. The talk will take place in the Cardiff Humanities Building, Room 2.48.
I do not write for such dull Elves
As have not a great deal of Ingenuity themselves.
(Jane Austen, Letter to Cassandra Austen, 29 January 1813)
Beginning from the premise that Jane Austen’s novels demand a particular kind of close and careful reading, I will present a brief analysis of Austen’s style, before turning to look at the ways in which readers have responded to Austen’s works over time. My aim is to show not only how the responses of Austen’s readers can help to explicate Austen’s works, but also how their reactions to Austen’s works can illuminate her readers and their social, cultural and literary preoccupations for us. Focusing in particular on Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859), Elizabeth Barrett Browning (1806-1861), and Mary Russell Mitford (1787–1855), I will discuss the reading strategies generated by their encounters with Austen’s work, and will argue that the sublimated energies of Austen’s style resurface in unexpected ways in the responses of her readers.