Professor David Trotter gives the Churchill Lecture at the University of Bristol on 9 February 2017, 5pm-6.45pm, LT2 (11 Woodland Road). The title of the lecture is ‘Literary Lightning: Modernism and Media Theory’.
This lecture will propose lightning as a figure for modernism’s understanding of the electromagnetic frequency domain disclosed by contemporary advances in science and technology. Subsequent exploitation of that domain shaped the environments we now all inhabit, converting real-time communication at a distance – ‘connectivity’ – from a technological ambition to a social, political, and economic value. David Trotter will argue that Jane Harrison’s feminist analysis of ritual and magic constitutes a theory of connective media. The lecture encompasses a variety of key modernist texts. At its centre are T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land, and Paris, a remarkable experimental poem by Harrison’s student, collaborator, companion, and quite possibly lover, Hope Mirrlees.