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Research seminars: March 2011

Wednesday 2 March 2011
Department of French
Jean-Yves Laurichesse
(Visiting Erasmus Scholar)
Giono dans les marges de Stendhal

at 4pm in Buchanan Room 216

Jean-Yves Laurichesse est professeur de littérature française à l’Université
de Toulouse-Le Mirail. Spécialiste du roman du XXe et du XXIe siècles
(particulièrement de Jean Giono, Claude Simon, Richard Millet), il a
lui-même publié trois romans aux éditions Le Temps qu’il fait : Place
(2008), Les Pas de l’ombre (2009), L’Hiver en Arcadie (février 2011).
Dans son travail d’écriture comme dans son travail critique, il s’intéresse
particulièrement à la mémoire (mémoire familiale, mémoire historique,
mémoire de la littérature) en tant qu’elle nourrit l’imagination créatrice.
Ses deux premiers romans travaillent à partir d’archives familiales, autour
des figures de ses grands-parents, puis de son père, associés aux
évènements des deux guerres mondiales. Son troisième roman fait
une part plus grande à l’imagination, mais les rapports entre le présent
et le passé, la mémoire et l’oubli, restent au cœur de l’histoire racontée.

Site personnel de l’auteur :

Wednesday 9 March 2011
Comparative Literature Research Seminar Series
Dr Suzan van Dijk, (University of Utrecht/ Huygens Institute, The Hague)
Comparative Literature and Digital Humanities
at 3pm in Buchanan room 216

Dr Suzan van Dijk is currently an invited researcher at the
Huygens Institute
, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and
Sciences, The Hague. Since her PhD on the presence of women in
the francophonic eighteenth-century press she has been studying
women writers and their reception, with special attention to Madame
de Graffigny, Madame de Riccoboni , Isabelle de Charrière and George
Sand. Combining research on the history of literature with digital
humanities, she has led several research projects, such as The
International Reception of Women’s
Writing in the Netherlands
(University of Utrecht, 2004-2007) and NEWW: New approaches to
European Women’s Writing (before 1900)
(2007-2010), both funded by
N.W.O. Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research. The NEWW
project has been instrumental in preparing the European COST-Action
Women Writers in History: Toward a New Understanding of European
Literary Culture
, an international research network dedicated to the
gendered study of literary history and the development of a virtual
collaboratory (2009-2013). Dr van Dijk has widely published on
European women’s writing.

WomenWriters is a database compiled bya large international network
researching women’s role in the pre-1900 European literary field. Given
that the women authors considered have been reading each other and
were important for each other regardless of national frontiers, they
have been grouped together – in terms not only of their names and
biographical information, but also their works, and most importantly
data concerning the reception of these works.   

 On the basis of our research material concerning the production and
reception of hundreds of authors per country, the following lists and
inventories can be compiled:

-          of authors per country or per period,
-          of women’s works per genre or per publisher,
-          of reception traces – be they translations or comments in
           private letters.                       

In the long term, this will also allow representing 'networks' that
have existed between these authors, or generating maps indicating
the flow of women’s literary communication during particular periods.

Most importantly at the present moment, the WomenWriters database
also allows for texts to be delimited and subjected to comparative
analysis. Indeed, the whole enterprise was born out of the need for
comparative analysis: the notion of women's writing presupposes a
comparison to the work of men.

 Examples of comparative analysis between texts from the following
categories will be discussed:

-          (women’s) narrative texts and their rewritings (in most cases
           by male critics),           
-          narrative texts written by women and those by men,
-          narrative texts by different (categories of) women.

 The point is of course that comparison between complete narratives
  is difficult to undertake. A solution will be proposed.

Thursday 10 March 2011
German Research Seminar
Dr Astrid Köhler (Queen Mary University of London)
"Accursed Progenitors"? Mapping the Field of "Elternliterature"
at 5.15pm in Buchanan room 216

Wednesday 16 March 2011
Comparative Literature Research Seminar Series
Prof Elisabeth Ladenson (Columbia University, New York)
The Novel of Inertia:
Fictional Immobility from Melville to Proust
at 4pm in Buchanan room 216

Elisabeth Ladenson teaches French and comparative literature at
Columbia University.  She is the author of Proust’s Lesbianism
(which has also been published elsewhere as Proust lesbien and
Lesbianismo en Proust
), and Dirt for Art’s Sake: Books on Trial from
Madame Bovary to Lolita
, and has contributed articles on a variety
of subjects to publications including the London Review of Books
and the Magazine littéraire.

 “The Novel of Inertia: Immobility in Fiction from Melville to Proust”

A prominent vein of modern literary fiction has been characterized
by a steadily decreasing rate of activity on the part of its characters,
a trend that begins separately in different national literatures in the
mid 19th century and continues apace into our own era.  This paper
will trace the genealogy of the modern novel of inertia—that is,
fiction centrally characterized by a negative relation to movement—
from its prehistory in Cervantes and Sterne and the sudden
outbreak of unrelated inertia stories in the 1850s by Melville and
Goncharov, through Flaubert’s career-long devotion to effective
paralysis in various forms, to the apogee of the genre in Proust’s
3000-page exploration of writer’s block.

Monday 21 March 2011
Poetry Forum
Antonella Anedda (Italian Poet)
La Traduzione delle immagini. Saggi sui dettagli e sui Resti.
at 5.30pm in Parliament Hall, South Street.

Monday 21 March 2011
Organised by the Schools of History, International Relations
& Modern Languages.
Rt Hon Denis MacShane MP, former Europe Minister
The Mitterrand Legacy 1981-2011
at 5.15pm in United College, School 1.

Wednesday 23 March 2011
IECIS with Centre for Cosmopolitan Studies
Prof Aleksander Boškovic (Institute of Social Sciences, Belgrade)
Liberalism, Anthropology and the study of Culture
at 4pm in Buchanan Building room 216 

The complicated relationship between anthropologists’ insistence on
the study of societies (through research on “social structure,” “cultural
patterns” or similar phenomena) will be put in the context of its
development in three geographically, politically and culturally very
different national traditions. Comparing examples from Norway, Brazil,
and the former Yugoslavia, I will explore whether a more individualistic
approach could help one understand patterns that shaped the
development of cultural studies in these countries. What are the
convergences and divergences between a liberal or humanistic
conceptualization of culture on the one hand and a social-scientific one
on the other?

Aleksandar Boškovic is Director of Research and Head of the Centre for
Political Studies and Public Opinion Research at the Institute of Social
Sciences in Belgrade (Serbia). He is also Professor of Anthropology at the
Department of Ethnology and Anthropology, University of Belgrade, and
Visiting Professor of Anthropology at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University
of Ljubljana (Slovenia). He has a Ph.D. in social anthropology from the
University of St Andrews, and is the author or editor of eight books, including
A Brief Introduction to Anthropology
(Zagreb, 2010), and the editor of
Other People’s Anthropologies: Ethnographic Practice on the Margins
and New York, 2008). His current project concerns an uneasy relationship
between biological/ physical and sociocultural anthropology.

Thursday 24 March 2011
Comparative Literature Research Series
Ben Hutchinson (University of Kent)
From Pure Style to Purely Style? Modernism and the "Absolute Manner"
at 5.15pm in Buchanan room 216

‘What I should like to write is a book about nothing, a book dependent on
nothing external, which would be held together by the strength of its style’.
Flaubert’s ambition to produce work reduced to a kind of non-representational,
intransitive style – a style that is ‘about nothing’ but itself – is one of the
enduring impulses of modernist literature. Yet if it marks the beginning, it
also marks the beginning of the end of the ‘absolute manner of seeing things’.
Concentrating in particular on examples taken from high modernist prose
(Mann, Proust, Joyce, Woolf), this paper will argue that modernism is driven
by this double movement, oscillating between the move towards ‘pure style’
on the one hand and the suspicion of ‘purely style’ on the other.

Ben Hutchinson is Head of German, Co-Director of the Centre for Modern
European Literature, and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in
the Humanities at the University of Kent. He has published widely on
European literature, including the monographs Rilke’s Poetics of Becoming
(2006), W. G. Sebald. Die dialektische Imagination (2009), and the
forthcoming Modernism and Style (2011). He is also the editor of an English
edition of Rilke’s The Book of Hours (2008), and the co-editor of the
forthcoming volumes A Literature of Restitution: Critical Essays on
W.G. Sebald (2011) and ‘Archive’, Comparative Critical Studies 8: 2-3 (2011).