19thC Graduate Seminar – 1 March – Emily Rohrbach, ‘The Time of Reading’

You are warmly invited to the final meeting this term of the 19th century seminar, on Tuesday 1st March, at 5.15pm in the English Faculty Board Room. Dr Emily Rohrbach (Manchester) will be speaking on ’The Time of Reading’: please see the abstract below. We also encourage anyone
interested in romanticism and/or poetics to join us, both for the paper and in the Granta afterwards as we continue our discussions informally.

‘The Time of Reading’

Concerning nineteenth-century narratives in particular, Peter Brooks claimed that ‘we would do best to speak of the anticipation of retrospection as our chief tool in making sense of narrative, the master trope of its strange logic’. This paper will explore the question of whether this ‘strange logic’ opens up or closes off a reader’s capacity to imagine that things (events, social relations, etc.) could have been other than how they end up. Reading key moments in several
works–Austen’s Persuasion and Emma, Dickens’ Great Expectations, and Nabokov’s Speak, Memory–whose protagonists themselves think in the temporality of narrative, I will ask how foregone their narrative outcomes are and what narrative strategies appear that help us imagine things otherwise.

Dr Emily Rohrbach is Lecturer in British Literature 1750-1820 at the University of Manchester, and the author of /Modernity’s Mist: British Romanticism and the Poetics of Anticipation/:


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