We are pleased to announce that John Ruskin and Nineteenth-Century Education, a collection of essays edited by unit member and emerita Professor Valerie Purton, has just been published by Anthem Press. Details can be found here.
I very much enjoyed giving the pre-show talk on Great Expectations at the Cambridge Arts Theatre last Tuesday. I have since been asked for details about the material I discussed, so I thought I would share some links and further references here.
I began the talk by discussing the initial publication context of Great Expectations. It was published in weekly parts between October 1861 and January 1862 in Dickens’s Journal All the Year Round. You can browse through the journal on Dickens Journals Online. This site also includes a film about the London of Great Expectations and details of the online community who are reading the novel week-by-week, as the novel’s first readers did. In my module on Victorian Literature and Culture at Anglia Ruskin University, I ask students to read a novel in weekly parts over the course of a semester in order that they might get a taste of the experience of the early readers who were engaged with a novel over months and sometimes even years. It is always really interesting and exciting to reflect on how reading a novel in this way affects our experience of the plot and the characterisation.
After outlining the initial context of publication, I moved on in the talk to discuss issues relating to adaptations of Dickens’s novels and to highlight the theatrical elements in Great Expectations. If you would like to read more about Dickens’s own experiences with the theatre then I would recommend this piece by Simon Callow on the British Library website. These are the details of some of the three cinematic adaptations of Great Expectations which I discussed:
In the Q&A time, I brought up the mini-series Dickensian. I would strongly recommend it and am very pleased to see the whole series is now available on Netflix. An earlier post by unit member Valerie Purton offers some reflections on the production.
Finally, my thoughts on Dickens and adaptation have been shaped by the following books:
- Linda H. Hutcheon. A Theory of Adaptation (Routledge, 2012)
- Karen E. Laird. The Art of Adapting Victorian Literature, 1848-1920 (Ashgate, 2016)
- James, Naremore (ed). Film Adaptation (Althone, 2000)
Unit member Abderrezzaq Ghafsi recently contributed this article to the Dickens Society Blog: http://dickenssociety.org/?p=1884. Do have a read!
Our Work in Progress seminars will resume on Thursday October 5th when PhD student Sophie Phelps will discuss her current work on Dickens. This will take place between 4.30-6 in Helmore 105.
Our second work in Progress seminar will take place on Thursday Oct 19th between 4.30-6 in Helmore 105. In this, Paul Pattison will discuss his work on Middlemarch and Abderrezzaq Ghafsi will talk about his research on Dickens and Algeria.
On Thursday 26th October, unit member and PhD student Edwin Marr will deliver a preliminary version of his conference paper on Branwell Bronte. This will take place between 4-5pm in Helmore 114 and will be followed by the second session of our reading group on Shirley.
We’re looking forward to our free screening and discussion of Far From the Madding Crowd tomorrow, and hope to see you there!
Hardy and Me. A Personal Account.
Like most people passing through the English state education system, my first encounter with Thomas Hardy was an obligatory study of a Hardy novel as part of the GCE (now GCSE) National Curriculum for English Literature. No explanation was given as to why Hardy was and still is deemed essential reading. He just appeared in the classroom one day. In my case that day happened to be in 1974, exactly 100 years after its first publication. The novel in question was Far from the Madding Crowd.
In case you missed Rohan McWilliam’s talk on ‘Victorian Nightlife and the West End of London’ today, we recorded a livestream of the event, and you can watch it at the link below. (Unfortunately our Internet connection dropped out halfway through so the recording is in two parts and missing a segment while we got it working again.) Many thanks to Rohan for such an interesting paper!
Rohan McWilliam will be giving a talk on ‘Victorian Night Life and the West End of London’ on Friday 21st October, 1-2pm in Helmore 223.