Percy Bysshe Shelley’s 1816 Poetry, and Video Games and Literature (Seminar, 16th June)

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All are welcome to our final Inventions of the Text seminar on 16th June at 17.30. This sees two papers on eclectic topics: Sharon Tai will talk on “‘I Worshipped the Invisible Alone’: A Coleridgean Shadow in Shelley’s 1816 Poetry”, and Dr Alistair Brown will talk on “Literature, Cinema, Videogame: Intermedial Influence and Literary Modernism.”

Abstract for ‘I Worshipped the Invisible Alone’: A Coleridgean Shadow in Shelley’s 1816 Poetry

While Shelleyans usually grounded their literary criticisms on ‘Mont Blanc’, by drawing into their discussion, Coleridge’s ‘Hymn before Sun-rise, in the Vale of Chamouni’. With Coleridge’s ‘Hymn’ serving as a foil to these 1816 poems of Shelley, critics rarely address two major issues that could alter the way in which we interpret Coleridge’s ‘Hymn’: the first is that the ‘Hymn’ has been suspected of plagiarising the work of a German poet, Friederike Brun; and the second is that the 1802 and 1817 versions of the ‘Hymn’ vary enough to yield different comparisons to Shelley’s 1816 poems. I shall concentrate my enquires on a more chronologically accurate re-positioning of the philosophical and theological description of these poems, especially about how the two poets approach ‘the invisible’, as Coleridge puts it, or the ‘power’, as Shelley puts it. This paper aims to shed light on the concept of Transcendence during the Romantic Period.

Abstract for Literature, Cinema, Videogame: Intermedial Influence and Literary Modernism

Critics such as Andrew Shail have demonstrated that early cinema exerted a “significant unconscious influence” (Shail, 2012) on modernist literary aesthetics. From specific techniques such as montage, to the vision of how to narrate a story without an overt narrator but with a narrating point of view, literary modernists readily incorporated ideas from the new medium deep into their own formal methods.

In the early twenty-first century, contemporary literature resides alongside a similarly radical other medium, that of video games. Yet whereas twentieth-century modernists took cinema across to literature in a deep intermedial exchange, some forty years after the advent of video games even avant-garde writers such as Will Self continue to wonder why video games have yet to make any significant impact on mainstream literature, particularly the novel which would seem naturally positioned to explore the remediatory possibilities of storytelling offered by interactive games.

This paper will suggest some of the reasons why some new media exert greater intermedial influence upon the literary domain than others.

The seminar takes place in the Department of English Studies on 16th June at 17.30. We welcome postgraduates and staff from all relevant humanities departments across the UK. For more information, please email to check availability.



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