University of Cambridge Contemporary Research Group

Month: September 2013

Here by the sea and sand: A symposium on Quadrophenia CALL FOR PAPERS

quadHere by the sea and sand: A symposium on Quadrophenia

 Sponsored by the Centre for Modernist Studies, University of Sussex

 Falmer, Brighton

 11 July 2014

 Keynote Speaker: James Wood (Harvard University, The New Yorker)

 “I don’t want to be the same as everyone else. That’s why I’m a mod, see?”

Released 40 years ago in 1973, The Who’s ambitious concept album Quadrophenia portrays the 1964 August bank holiday battle between mods and rockers on Brighton beach from the perspective of the young disillusioned pill-popping mod protagonist, Jimmy. Franc Roddam’s iconic film of the album was made in 1979, and in the past year the Who has toured playing the entire album. Quadrophenia, the album, was a comparative failure when released, but has since been recognised by many critics as their masterpiece. Quadrophenia is a complex and multilayered work, combining some of the Who’s most arresting music with a variety of other art forms (Townshend’s story in the liner notes, Ethan Russell’s compelling book of photographs). It is embedded in two sites, London and Brighton, as well as in many more personal and political histories.

The Centre for Modernist Studies at Sussex has decided to live up to its name by holding a one-day symposium on the album and film. Quadrophenia fans, please consider joining us.

Possible topics include but are not limited to: the representation of Mods; Mod revival(s) and nostalgia; Englishness; class; violence; crowds; work; adolescence; masculinity; the relationship between the film and the album; the concept/double album; the accompanying book of photographs and Townshend’s text; influences; legacies; Quadrophenia as rock opera; Quadrophenia in the Who’s oeuvre; the self-conscious representation of the Who’s history; the performance of it in the current moment; pills; punks; godfathers; sea; sand; rain; bellboys.

Paper proposals that mix personal with critical, historical, musicological, or cultural-studies analyses are welcome.

Please send short (300-500 word) proposals for 15-20 minute papers and a short bio of yourself to Pam Thurschwell, by 1 December 2013.

Two Cultures? FR Leavis on CP Snow

6pm– 7pm, Thursday 31 October

Two Cultures? FR Leavis on CP Snow

Room 3, Mill Lane Lecture Rooms, 8 Mill Lane, CB2 1RW

Leavis’s notorious critique of Snow on ‘the two  cultures’ was thought at the time to be too aggressive and personal. but it can also be seen to
exemplify a recurring dilemma of cultural criticism: how to get a hearing for views that challenge some of society’s most deeply-held yet unexamined 
convictions. Professor Stefan Collini questions if such offensiveness is unavoidable and legitimate.


Georgina Harding in conversation 17 Oct


The novelist Georgina Harding will be in conversation with James Raven on Thursday 17 Oct at 5.30 in the Parlour, First Court, Magdalene College. Harding is the author of Painter of Silence, which was shortlisted for the Orange Prize last year, and which is set in Romania in the 1950s. All welcome. Email Andrew Phillips on to tell him you’re coming.

The Happy Hypocrite

‘I think: Protect me from people who want to protect me; but more, save me from people who know what upsets others.’ – Lynne Tillman



Issue 6 of The Happy Hypocrite – Freedom  –   is published by Book Works, in an edition of 1,000. Contributors include Gregg Bordowitz, Paul Chan, Gabriel Coxhead, Lydia Davis, Yasmine El Rashidi, Chloé Cooper Jones, James Jennings, Allison Katz, Robin Coste Lewis, the late Craig Owens, Sarah Resnick, Ranbir Singh Sidhu, Abdellah Taïa, an interview between Lynne Tillman and Thomas Keenan, a cover by Susan Hiller, and archival material from Paranoids Anonymous Newsletter.


The 2013 Poetry Celebration for Kathleen Raine

The 2013 Poetry Celebration for Kathleen Raine
Girton College, Cambridge
12 October
The Stanley Library and Old Hall, Girton College
Doors open 6pm
Readings at 6.45pm
Concludes 8.30pm
£8 or £6 Members / Concessions (includes refreshments)
Readings from: Sebastian Barker, Hilary Davies, Jane Draycott, Malcolm Guite, James Harpur, Grevel Lindop, Clive Wilmer

Further Information and Reservations

Robert Macfarlane on the Booker Shortlist

Here is Rob Macfarlane announcing the shortlist, and quoted in The Guardian declaring it  ‘a shortlist that shows the English language novel to be a form of world literature. It is a shortlist that crosses continents, joins countries and spans the centuries.’ The six novels were ‘all about the strange ways people are brought together and the painful ways in which they are held apart’.



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