Romanticism and the Black Atlantic
West Court, Jesus College
In the wake of calls to decolonise the curriculum, what is the Romantic period’s legacy in our own time?
In this Cambridge Festival Lecture, Dr Mathelinda Nabugodi will draw on her current work-in-progress, The Trembling Hand: Reflections of a Black Woman in the Romantic Archive, which examines objects found in the archives of the major Romantic poets: unexpected treasures such as Wordsworth’s teacup, Shelley’s baby rattle, or Byron’s carnival mask. In the wake of calls to decolonise the curriculum, Mathelinda will explain how poets’ relics can prompt wide-ranging reflection on the Romantic period’s legacy in our own time – its poetic ideals as well as its painful realities.
The lecture will focus on poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who was a student at Jesus College. Starting with Coleridge’s time at Jesus, where he won a prize for an Ode on the Slave Trade written in Sapphic Greek, she will uncover some of the links between the poetry of freedom and the practices of slavery in the Romantic period.
The lecture forms part of Jesus College’s Coleridge 250 series, a commemoration of this controversial figure marking 250 years since Coleridge’s birth.