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Research seminars: March 2012

Seminars highlighted in blue form part of this semester's School research seminar theme, literature and memory. They will be delivered in English.

5 March 2012
Department of French
Dr David Evans
‘The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Identifying Poetic Value in Nineteenth-Century France’
5.15pm, Arts seminar room 6

Nineteenth-century France saw a number of significant changes in the way literature was consumed, namely changes in education and literacy, wealth and disposable income, the critical press, publishing and marketing. As such, volumes of poetry were subjected to intense scrutiny from critics, readers, publishers, academics and the writers themselves, and in the context of post-Revolutionary France where the notion of authority had been widely destabilised, a vibrant debate sprang up around the definition, value and nature of poetry itself, which quickly led to poetic revolutions such as prose poetry and free verse. This paper will explore the responses of one writer, Theodore de Banville, who confronted the new uncertainty over poetic value in provocative and humorous ways which illuminate both the socio-cultural context in which poetry was written and the fundamental instability which underpins the work of influential, international figures such as Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Verlaine and Mallarme.

7 March 2012
IECIS (Institute of European and Cultural Identity Studies)
Professor Derek Duncan (University of Bristol)
‘Primo Levi's Postcolonial Legacy’
4pm, Arts seminar room 1

8 March 2012
Department of German
Dr Linda Shortt (University of Bangor)
‘Growing Old Disgracefully: Gender and Ageing in Contemporary German Literature’
5.15pm, Arts seminar room 7

8 March 2012
Postgraduate Research Seminars
Morven Fraser
‘Autofictional Transgression in the work of Catherine Cusset’.
Miriam Buncombe
'The significance of ritual in late medieval German mystical texts'
4.00pm, Arts Seminar Room 2

13 March 2012
Linguistics Institute of St Andrews (LISA) Research Seminars
Fatima Faya Cerqueiro (University of Castilla-La Mancha, Spain)
‘On the short history of the word please: Origin and predecessors’
5.15pm, Buchanan room 216

At the beginning of the Late Modern English period pray, a form of French origin, was the preferred courtesy marker in requests. Pray came to replace the pragmatic function of a native construction, the parenthetical ic bidde. During the Late Modern English period pray started to fall into disuse, while the new form please was gaining ground with the same function. Please was also a form introduced into English from French (cf. OED s.v. please v.), and, in fact, the main request marker of present-day French, the conditional construction s’il vous plaît, still retains a cognate of please. This paper will focus on (i) the main issues behind the replacement and development of these request markers, (ii) their pragmatic and syntactic similarities, and (iii) the process of language change in the emergence of please.

14 March 2012
Professor Anne Brigitte Rønning (University of Oslo)
'Gendering the Robinsonade'
5.15pm, Arts seminar room 1

16 March 2011
Department of Spanish
Dr Daniela Omlor (Exeter College, Oxford)
Doppelgänger and Revenants: Postmemory in Jorge Semprún”
4pm, Arts seminar room 1

16 March 2012
Department of Italian
Lectura Dantis Andreapolitana in collaboration with Stanza
My Dante
2.15-3.15pm, Parliament Hall

Professor Corinna Salvadori, (Trinity College Dublin) and Dr Gavin Hopps (St Andrews) along with members of the public will be giving readings from Dante's Divine Comedy.

21 March 2012
Department of Russian
Professor Robert Bird (University of Chicago)
'Schematics and Models of Genre: Mikhail Bakhtin and the Soviet Gulliver'
5.15pm, Arts seminar room 1

Despite its broad resonance in literary theory, Mikhail Bakhtin’s concept of the Menippean satire has not fared well as a historical construct. The fate of Bakhtin’s theory dramatizes a broader problem for any schematic account of genre and even calls into question the entire project of historical poetics. I re-assess Bakhtin’s concept by reading it against the background of Soviet satire of his day, in particular the multifarious adaptations and visualizations of Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels. A particular focus is Aleksandr Ptushko’s 1935 animated film The New Gulliver and the work of writer Sigizmund Krzhizhanovsky. I argue that the Soviet Gulliver, though ostensibly directed against Western capitalist and fascist societies, also unsettled notions of scale and perspective that were crucial to Soviet aesthetics. Moreover, this contextualization allows us to recognize Bakhtin’s theory of satire as a distinct intervention which I identify as a working model, intended less to describe satire schematically than to retrieve it as a possibility.

22 March 2012
Postgraduate Research Seminars
Letizia Vettor
"The philological tradition of the Seven against Thebes' myth in the Italian literature"
Edith Shame
‘A Hallidayan Account of Political Discourses in the Malawi English Printed Media’.
4.00pm, Arts Seminar Room 2