Skip navigation to content

School of English news - March 2015

New monograph on Faust

Byron, Shelley, and Goethes Faust

Dr Ben Hewitt’s monograph, Byron, Shelley, and Goethe's 'Faust': An Epic Connection (Oxford: Legenda) will be published on 1 March. The monograph is a comparative study exploring the links between both parts of Goethe’s seminal dramatic poem ‘Faust’ (1808 and 1832) and Byron’s and Shelley’s works, which connects Goethe and the two English Romantic poets in terms of their experiments with epic. By entering the three writers into a literary, theoretical and philosophical dialogue concerning ‘epic’ and ‘tragic’ perspectives on human knowledge and potential – perspectives crucial to the structure and significance of Goethe’s masterpiece – the book seeks to illuminate hitherto unacknowledged affinities between these key figures in Romantic literature, and between British and German Romanticisms.

Other publications

Publications by Phillip Mallett and Lorna Burns.

Phillip Mallet has published a collection of essays with Palgrave Macmillan, entitled The Victorian Novel and Masculinity. Mr Mallet’s essay is titled 'Masculinity, Imperialism and the Novel'. Also published in the same collection is Dr Sara Lodge on 'Masculinity, Power and Play in the Work of the Brontës' and Dr Emma Sutton on 'Aestheticism, Resistance and the Realist Novel: Marius and Masculinity'. 

Mr Mallet has also published an essay, 'The “faint image of a lost city”: John Ruskin and the Meaning of Venice’, in Leo Marchetti and Carlo Martinez, eds., Orizzontali mediterranei e oltre (Pescara: Edizioni Universitarie, 2015).

Dr Lorna Burns’ essay, 'Razing the Wall: Deleuze, Ranciere and the Politics of New World Literatures’, has just been published by Bloomsbury in Deleuze and the Schizoanalysis of Literature, edited by Ian Buchanan, Tim Matts, and Aidan Tynan.


Awards for Dr Rhiannon Purdie, Dr Margaret Connolly and Dr Katie Muth.

Dr Rhiannon Purdie has won a Fulbright Scholar Award which will take her to the University of Rochester, NY, from 1 February to 31 May 2016 to be a Visiting Fellow of the Rossell Hope Robbins Library. Dr Purdie will be writing an Introduction to Medieval Scots Literature, commissioned by the University Press of Florida, and learning about their successful Middle English Texts series. METS has been publishing free online editions of Middle English texts (glossed, annotated and with substantial introductions) since 1990.

Dr Margaret Connolly has been awarded the Pantzer Scholarship by the Bibliographical Society for the project ‘Newly Reformed Readers and their Reading: A Sixteenth-Century Family and their Medieval Books’. The project focuses on Dr Connolly’s forthcoming book about the Roberts family of Middlesex and the fifteenth-century manuscripts that they owned. The grant will enable Dr Connolly to go to Cambridge and London to see manuscripts.

Dr Connolly has also won an award from the Teaching Development Award Scheme to develop ‘Read Me!’, a self-correcting online resource to consolidate skills in reading pre-modern handwriting.

Dr Katie Muth has been awarded a BAAS Founders’ Research Travel Grant by the British Association of American Studies for travel to the Boeing Corporate Archives in Seattle, Washington, and to the Archives of the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., in connection with her ongoing research on Cold War computing and the American novel. Dr Muth will visit the archives in early April to view the technical writings of Thomas Pynchon, who wrote for Boeing’s internal newsletter the Bomarc Service News from 1960 to 1962, while he was at work on his first novel V. 

Talks, Lectures, Working Groups, Workshops

Orpheus and beasts thumbnail

Talks by Professor Lorna Hutson, Professor Don Paterson, Dr Emma Sutton, lecture by Professor Andy Murphy, Dr Anindya Raychaudhuri in BBC workshop and Dr Ian Johnson organising a working group in Prague.

Orpheus and beasts

On 4 March Professor Lorna Hutson is speaking at a colloquium organised by the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London, to mark the publication of Quentin Skinner’s Forensic Shakespeare.

On 23 March Professor Hutson will give the keynote address at the Cambridge conference, ‘The Places of Early Modern Criticism’, organised by CRASSH (the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities at Cambridge). The lecture is titled ‘“Unseen, save to the eye of mind”: criticism and the “unscene” of early modern theatre’.

On 4 March Professor Don Paterson will give a talk at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews titled ‘Translating Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo’. On 25 March Professor Paterson will give a talk at the Oxford Literary Festival, ‘A Hundred Years of the Lovesong of J Alfred Prufrock’.

On 5 March Professor Andy Murphy will give the Abbey Theatre/University College Dublin Shakespeare Lecture, titled 'Acts of Rebellion: Shakespeare and the 1916 Rising'. Professor Murphy will speak the following week at Trinity College Dublin, as part of his time there as a Visiting Research Fellow at Trinity's Long Room Hub Arts Research Centre. The title of the talk is 'Ireland's Shakespeares: Politicising Biography'.

On 8 March Dr Emma Sutton will give a talk titled 'Aesthetes, A Roads and Cricketing Criminals: Editing The Voyage Out’. This is part of a centenary celebration of the publication of Virginia Woolf’s first novel The Voyage Out at Kings College, London. Dr Sutton will be joined by Professors Michèle Barrett, Rachel Bowlby and Anna Snaith.

On 28 March Dr Sutton will be giving a public talk - 'Robert Louis Stevenson in the Pacific' - at the Byre Theatre, St Andrews, as part of the 'Pacific Connections' series, discussing Robert Louis Stevenson's life and work in the Pacific - particularly his musical compositions and relationships with indigenous music and musicians.

Dr Anindya Raychaudhuri has been selected to take part in a BBC Expert Voices Day on 12 March. This is a training and networking event for BAME academics, providing participants with camera and radio training, as well as the chance to influence experienced programme makers. 

Dr Ian Johnson is co-organising with Lucie Dole┼żalová of Charles University, Prague, a meeting of a Working Group on 'New Communities of Interpretation (1350-1570)’. The meeting, to be held at Charles University, Prague on 19-21 March, has the theme 'The Same and Different: Strategies of Retelling the Bible’, and Dr Johnson will be giving a presentation entitled 'Late medieval English Lives of Christ: Textual Strategies for Diverse Readers and Communities’. 

Image: "Orpheus with beasts and birds" by Savery
© The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge



The Fair Intellectual Club

Fair intellectual club thumbnail

Research by the School of English’s Professor Robert Crawford into the first great city rivalries of the English-speaking world – that of Edinburgh and Glasgow – which inspired the play by comedian Lucy Porter will be performed at the Byre Theatre in St Andrews on 1 March.

Fair intellectual club

The Fair Intellectual Club produced by Stellar Quines and directed by Marilyn Imrie, which was performed to critical acclaim at the Edinburgh Festival 2014, is currently touring the UK and will play at the Women of the World Festival at the Southbank Centre.

Lucy Porter began reading Professor Crawford’s On Glasgow and Edinburgh with the intention of getting some insights into the rivalry between the two cities, but ended up being inspired to write her play on reading about The Fair Intellectual Club, founded in 1718.

As part of the run up to the UK tour of The Fair Intellectual Club following its success at the Edinburgh Festival, the production company, Stellar Quines, has been inviting ‘modern day fair intellectuals’ to reflect on their work. The School of English’s Susan Garrard, who works on nineteenth century working class women’s writing, was interviewed as part of the series.

New Lyrical Ballads

Don Paterson and John Burnside thumbnail

The Bristol Festival of Ideas has commissioned 23 contemporary poets to write in response to the theme of Romanticism and on 6 March Professors John Burnside and Don Paterson will take part in an event featuring readings of the commissioned poems.

Don Paterson and John Burnside

Poets taking part in the event include Fleur Adcock, Patience Agbabi, Rachael Boast, John Burnside, Gillian Clarke, Paul Farley, Isabel Galleymore, Jen Hadfield, David Harsent, Kathleen Jamie, Nick Laird, Liz Lochhead, Jamie McKendrick, Ian McMillan, Andrew Motion, Sean O’Brien, Alice Oswald, Ruth Padel, Don Paterson, Jean Sprackland, Greta Stoddart, Michael Symmons Roberts, Adam Thorpe.

Light Box

Lightbox thumbnail

Commissioned by the University of St Andrews for the UNESCO 2015 International Year of Light and launched at the Royal Society of Edinburgh on 23 February, Light Box is an artistic collaboration between poet Professor Robert Crawford and photographer Norman McBeath, many of whose photographs are in the collections of the National Portrait Galleries in London and Edinburgh.


Light Box celebrates light in all its aspects – solar, sacred, scientific, nourishing, and poetic. Produced as a result of meetings between Professor Crawford and McBeath and contemporary physicists whose work centres on light, the work juxtaposes a series of new haiku with specially taken photographs. The relation between poems and pictures is often teasingly oblique: neither simply illustrates the other. Instead, they ‘resonate’ together, each enhancing the other. 

Exactly 150 years ago the great Scottish physicist James Clerk Maxwell published his most influential paper on electromagnetism (a paper crucial to Einstein). Maxwell had a scientific instrument called a ‘light box’. Nineteenth-century scientists sometimes wrote of light ‘resonating’. The new Light Box was produced after the poet and the photographer met leading physicists who work in optoelectronics.

One of the physicists is John W. Allen, who led a team that invented the world’s first practicable LEDs in 1961. Though his early scientific papers are now archived in the Science Museum in London, John Allen’s story is not well known. When Crawford and McBeath met Professor Allen, he showed them some of his early LEDs, which were then called ‘crystal lamps’. Norman McBeath’s remarkable portrait photograph of John W. Allen is part of Light Box, and the accompanying haiku sums up Robert Crawford’s sense of this modest, tenacious inventor who, more than fifty years after his innovative work on LEDs, is still developing in St Andrews new ways of working with light.

Another pioneering scientist involved in Light Box is Ifor Samuel, who leads the Organic Semiconductor Optoelectronics Research Group in the School of Physics at St Andrews, and whose work has involved perfecting new light-emitting materials. Several members of Professor Samuel’s group worked with the poet and photographer. One of the physicists, Vietnamese chemist Hien Nguyen who has synthesized for the first time a new form of the chemical coumarin, made her discovery available to Scottish PhD student Stuart Thomson who worked with Norman McBeath to use this chemical for the very first time in a photographic process. The result was juxtaposed with a haiku entitled ‘Aton’ (named after the Aton or Aten – the ancient Egyptian sun god) and features in Light Box.

Light Box is available to view in the Special Collections Department of St Andrews University Library, but it is also published free online in a digital version:

Alumnae news

News from Dr Lenore Bell and Dr Anna McFarlane.

Dr Lenore Bell will give a paper at the ‘Eating Otherwise’ Conference at the University of Lancaster on Saturday. The paper is titled ‘Caving In: The Appeal of the Paleo Diet in the Wake of the 9/11 Attacks’.

Dr Anna McFarlane took part in the Viva Survivors podcast this month, which interviews people who have made it through their PhD.