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School of English News - Autumn 2018

Zinnie Harris delivers inaugural lecture

Professor Zinnie Harris from the School of English is a multi-award winning playwright, screenwriter and theatre director. In 2016 she was commissioned to adapt the 'Oresteia' by the National Theatre of Scotland/Citizens' Theatre for performance in Glasgow and subsequently at the Edinburgh International Festival in 2017.

Oresteia by the National Theatre of Scotland

In her inaugural lecture The Oresteia/The Restless House –Reframing an ancient tragedy for a contemporary audience (Wednesday 10th October 2018) she discussed her approach to Aeschylus' ancient text and how she brought 'This Restless House' (winner of the Best New Play at the Critics Awards For Theatre in Scotland 2017) to the stage.

When the Pips Stop

When the Pips Stop

Oliver Emanuel interrupted The Archers on BBC Radio 4 with his play "When the Pips Stop" on Thursday 11th October - catch up on the BBC iPlayer

Oliver says: "I heard a story that in the event of a nuclear attack on the UK, BBC Radio 4 will go off air. I thought this was a fun start to a radio play. So did BBC Radio 4. I imagined a story of two sisters living on a remote Scottish island who did not talk to each other but only listened to BBC Radio 4. What happens when BBC Radio 4 goes off air? Is it the end of the world? Or the beginning of a conversation? Together with my long-time director, Kirsty Williams, I hatched a plan to write a radio play that appears to take place when BBC Radio 4 goes off air. We cut into the end of The Archers (the first time in 65 years - eek!) and there are no credits and no information on the BBC Radio 4 website. (I've even gone so far as to write a dummy page for the BBC Radio 4 website, based on a real radio play of 1924 but with the previous controllers of BBC Radio 4 as the cast members: real play is called When The Pips Stop and is performed by the brilliant Shauna MacDonald and Jessica Hardwick. It is on at 2.13pm on BBC Radio4 on Thursday 11 October. It's about anxiety, the apocalypse and Desert Island Discs."

From the BBC website:

Picture is of actor Shauna MacDonald in When The Pips Stop by Oliver Emanuel. Photo by Steven Beesley.

When The Pips Stop
By Oliver Emanuel

It's 2:13pm on a remote Scottish island where the only inhabitants are two sisters. One of them hasn't spoken to the other for over two years. They're listening to The Archers, and then Radio 4 goes off-air. Now they have to learn to live together and without the one thing they each cherish: Radio 4.

Starring Shauna Macdonald and Jessica Hardwick
Additional voices: Jakob Jakobsson and Ken Mitchell.

We're indebited to Ian Messiter and the Ian Messiter Estate for kindly allowing us to create our version of Just a Minute.

Additional research supplied by Dr James Purdon (University of St Andrews)
Directed by Kirsty Williams

New poetry collection by Robert Crawford

The Scottish AmbassadorProfessor Robert Crawford from The School of English celebrates the publication of his latest collection of poetry, The Scottish Ambassador. In this book he, as ever, advocates for the culture, landscape, and people of Scotland, and draws upon Greek, Chinese, and Zoroastrian traditions with great lyrical energy. Spanning the intimate and the public, the local and the international, this is a book that, faces and embraces the world. Robert is the author of many collections and biographies—including 2014's Testament and Young Eliot—and has edited many volumes, including The Penguin Book of Scottish Verse and The Book of St Andrews. The book is published by Cape.

Fossil Poetry by Chris Jones

Fossil Poetry

Professor Chris Jones from The School of English celebrates the publication of his book Fossil Poetry: Anglo-Saxon and Linguistic Nativism in Nineteenth-Century Poetry. The first book-length overview of the place of Anglo-Saxon in nineteenth-century poetry in English Explores the work of a variety of poets including Walter Scott, Henry Longfellow, William Wordsworth, William Barnes, Walt Whitman, Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Morris, Alfred Tennyson, and Gerard Hopkins. The book is published by Oxford University Press.

New book by Matthew Augustine

Texts and Readers in The Age Of Marvell

Dr Matthew Augustine from the School of English celebrates the publication of his new book Texts and Readers in The Age Of Marvell - which he edited with Christopher D’Addario. The book offers fresh perspectives from leading and emerging scholars on seventeenth-century British literature, with a focus on the surprising ways that texts interacted with writers and readers at specific cultural moments. The book is published by Manchester University Press.

Nick Roe radio appearance and New Zealand visit

Prof Nicholas Roe

In early September Professor Nick Roe from The School of English was recording in a peat bog with Fiona Stafford in the footsteps of John Keats and Charles Armitage Brown on Mull, Iona, and Staffa. The Radio 3 programme 'Going North with Keats' will be broadcast on 9 January.

In October Nick presented the 2018 Margaret Dalziel lecture at the University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand; went to the Victoria University of Wellington to hear Heidi Thomson’s inaugural lecture; visited the Humanities Research Centre at ANU; and presented a paper at the Department of English and Theatre Studies at the University of Melbourne.

Susan Sellers lecturing in Japan

Vanessa and Virginia in Japanese

To celebrate the publication of her novel Vanessa and Virginia in Japanese, Professor Susan Sellers from The School of English will be lecturing at a number of universities in Japan from the 22nd of October, as well as to the Virginia Woolf Society of Japan and the English Literary Society of Japan. After her lecture at Tsuru university, near Tokyo, there will be an abridged performance of Elizabeth Wright's play adaptation of Vanessa and Virginia, which is also being translated into Japanese.

Susan has also this month judged the Katherine Mansfield Essay Prize with fellow judges Professor David Trotter (Cambridge University) and the biographer Claire Tomalin.

Writers in Residence award

The 306:Day

Playwright and Lecturer Oliver Emanuel, from the School of English, is a winner in the prestigious Gladstones Library Writers in Residence and Political Writers in Residence Awards 2019. Oliver won on the strength of his play 306: Day (National Theatre of Scotland, 2017). He will receive up to a months residency at Gladstones Library –the world's only residential library.

New book from Oli Hazzard

John Ashbery and Anglo-American Exchange

Dr Oli Hazzard from the School of English has recently published his monograph 'John Ashbery and Anglo-American Exchange' from Oxford University Press.

Through detailed close readings of the poetry of Ashbery and these English poets, original interviews, and extensive archival research, a new account of Ashbery's aesthetic, and a significant re-mapping of post-war English poetry, is presented. The biographical slant of the book is highly significant, as it reads these writers' poetry and correspondence together for the first time, suggesting how major poetic innovations arose from specific social contexts, from the particulars of relations between poets, and also from a broader climate of Anglo-American exchange as registered by each poet. The book's presentation of the process of poetic influence is attentive to actual exchanges between contemporaries as evidenced in correspondence, as opposed to speculative relationships with dominant figures, and as such represents a departure from many other studies of Ashbery's work.

The Medieval Translator

The Medieval Translator

Ian Johnson from the School of English has accepted an invitation to serve on the newly born Medieval Translator/Traduire au Moyen Âge Steering Group. The Medieval Translator, published by Brepols, is a book series consisting primarily of volumes of essays proceeding from conferences on the Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages held since 1987 at a variety of locations across Europe. The Conference and the series favour an interdisciplinary approach to the subject. The most recent conference was held last year in Vienna and the next one is projected for Bologna in 2020.

Online resource for reading medieval handwriting

 Margaret Connolly and Rachel Hart

On 30 August Dr Margaret Connolly from The School of English and Mrs Rachel Hart attended the Archives and Records Association's annual conference in Glasgow to exhibit their online resource for reading medieval and early modern handwriting (ReadMe!).

Dr Margaret Connolly and Mrs Rachel Hart gave a paper entitled 'The Marchmont Regiam Maiestatem comes full circle: a book and its owners 1548 to 2018' to the Edinburgh Bibliographical Society on 27 September 2018. They also presented their research on this topic to the St Andrews Institute of Medieval Studies on 24 September in a paper entitled 'Book production and circulation in late medieval Scotland: Robert Ewyn and the St Andrews manuscript of Regiam Maiestatem', and on that occasion were able to have the sixteenth-century manuscript on display as well.