Twentieth Century and Contemporary Literature

Tuesday 16 October, 4.45–8pm English faculty

Alice Notley: three responses and a reading

A rare UK reading by poet Alice Notley, preceded by three critical responses in celebration of her work.

4.45–6.45pm responses by Anne Boyer, Dr Zoë Skoulding and Professor Carol Watts

7.00–8.00pm
a reading by Alice Notley

Over a career now in its fourth decade, Alice Notley has gained widespread recognition as one of the most important poets writing in English. . To mark this rare UK appearance, her reading will be preceded by responses from:

  • Anne Boyer (Judith E. Wilson fellow in poetry for 2018–19), on ‘"Put yourself somewhere near the beginning": Poetic Counter-Genealogy and Doctor Williams’

  • Dr Zoë Skoulding (Reader in Creative Writing at Bangor University), ‘Translation and Entanglement in Alice Notley's Culture of One’

  • Professor Carol Watts (Professor of Literature and Poetics at the University of Sussex), ‘Singing with the Ghoul-Girls: Poetry and Cruelty’

  • Tuesday 30 October, 5–7pm, S-R24

    William Ghosh, 'The Recalcitrant Child: Imagining Belief in a Secular Age'

    William Ghosh is a stipendiary lecturer and early-career researcher at St Hugh's College, Oxford.

    Tuesday 13 November, 5–7pm, S-R24

    Professor Stefan Collini, 'The idea of "the reading public": literary history or cultural criticism?’

    'The phrase "the reading public" may seem to be an everyday empirical category of literary history. Yet the more we examine it, the less clear it becomes, certainly the less easy it becomes to say who is and is not part of it. Moreover, we hear frequent statements about what "the reading public" is said to want or to reject, as well as frequent assertions that it has ceased to exist. This paper attempts to chart some of the history of this elusive idea, to illustrate the part it has played in 20th-century criticism, and to probe some of the doubtful assumptions underlying its role in contemporary cultural commentary.' Stefan Collini is Professor Emeritus of Intellectual History and English Literature at Cambridge. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a frequent contributor to The London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Nation, and other periodicals, and an occasional broadcaster. His research includes 19th and 20th-century intellectual history; social and cultural criticism in England; and work on the history, and public debates about the role, of universities in Britain. Current research focuses on the cultural role of, and the historical assumptions expressed in, literary criticism in Britain from c.1920 to c.1970. His books include _Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain 1850–1930_ (1991), _Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain_ (2006), _Speaking of Universities_ (2017), and many others.

    Stefan Collini is Professor Emeritus of Intellectual History and English Literature in the faculty. He is a Fellow of the British Academy, a frequent contributor to The London Review of Books, The Times Literary Supplement, The Guardian, The Nation, and other periodicals, and an occasional broadcaster. His research includes 19th and 20th-century intellectual history; social and cultural criticism in England; and work on the history, and public debates about the role, of universities in Britain. Current research focuses on the cultural role of, and the historical assumptions expressed in, literary criticism in Britain from c.1920 to c.1970. His books include Public Moralists: Political Thought and Intellectual Life in Britain 1850–1930 (1991), Absent Minds: Intellectuals in Britain (2006), Speaking of Universities (2017), and many others.