Semester Two Seminars Unveiled!

Happy New Year. Please find details below for our forthcoming seminars, please note that the first two will be in our usual place of room 359 in the Regent Street building, but we will be in room 257 for the final two seminars.

If you would like to attend any of the seminars then please contact me (details can be found in the ‘General Info’ section) to book a place.

Wednesday 8th February, 1.15pm – 2.30pm
Regent Street building, room 359
Morgan Daniels (Queen Mary, University of London)
‘Satire and Childishness’
 
Abstract: As I conducted research for my PhD thesis, which examined the effects of broadcast satire in Britain c.1939-73, I became distracted then obsessed by a curious yet clear theme in correspondence to the BBC, namely the condemnation of satire, comedy and other irreverent programming as childish, juvenile, and so on.  What I want to ask, I guess, is Why?  Why is it that, as the psychologist James Hillman observed, ‘[t]he worst insult is to be called “childish,” “infantile,” “immature”’?

In order to obfuscate no less than to attempt to answer this question, this paper presents three short ‘test cases’ from BBC programming between 1951 and 1973: The Goon Show, Spike Milligan’s radio sitcom, of sorts, which revelled in the pantomimic; BBC-3, a televised revue programme made by the That Was The Week That Was team; and Yesterday’s Men, a fairly sober 1971 documentary about the recently-departed Labour government, often decried as ‘satirical’.  Each of these (hugely different) productions came to be attacked as childish.  To ask Why? is to question not just satire and its role in meaning-making, but childhood, too – which, after all, is but a fairly recent invention.

Wednesday 22nd February, 1.15pm – 2.30pm
Regent Street building, room 359
Anthony Paraskeva (University of Dundee)
Title TBC

Wednesday 7th March, 1.15pm – 2.30pm
Regent Street building, room 257
Matthew Taunton (Queen Mary, University of London)
‘Socialism, Literature and the Radiant Future: Before and After 1917’

Abstract: The idea that a “radiant future” (in Zinoviev’s phrase) was just around the corner was central to the Soviet myth. But how were Western ideas about the future affected by the advent of the Bolshevik revolution? This paper will suggest that the bright eyed visions of the future prevalent in the fin de siècle and the Edwardian period were increasingly replaced, after 1917, by sectarian debates about Russia. The future had become a spatial, rather than a purely temporal entity – whether it was to be welcomed as the true democracy (Shaw, the Webbs) or feared as a totalitarian nightmare (Orwell, Koestler, Nabokov). Speculative fictions like those of Morris, Bellamy, and Wells gave way to anti-Communist texts like Darkness at Noon, Nineteen Eighty-Four and Bend Sinister, and endorsements of Stalinism by Day Lewis, Shaw and others. This paper explores a range of ways in which ‘the future’ had to be rethought in light of the events of 1917.

Wednesday 21st March, 1.15pm – 2.30pm
Regent Street building, room 257
Aisling McKeown (University of Westminster)
‘Once Upon A Time In The West: the Rural Idyll in Contemporary Irish Fiction and Film’

Abstract: In 1952, John Wayne starred in John Ford’s film The Quiet Man, set in the west of Ireland. Playing a returned Irish-American emigrant, rather than his more customary role as that potent symbol of the American west, the cowboy, Wayne cut a swathe  through Ireland’s wild landscape. The film projected an image of Ireland as a rural idyll, populated by fiery yet charming natives. Contemporary film-makers and writers, unless being deliberately ironic, tend to avoid such clichéd treatment of rural Ireland. Combining discourses of tradition and modernity, their representations reflect the  socio-cultural evolution of this remote location, which inspired Yeats and Synge over a century ago. This paper will trace the development of these representations and discuss the blend of mythology and realism that underpins the work of today’s writers as they address such themes as immigration, identity and belonging.

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3 Responses to Semester Two Seminars Unveiled!

  1. Looking forward to these!

  2. Chris says:

    Thanks Monica!

  3. Pingback: Literature Research Seminars, Feb-March 2012 – The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture – IMCC The Institute for Modern and Contemporary Culture

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