Sacred Symbols, Snake-Women and Sisterhood: Crafting Power in Medieval Origin Stories (Public lectures, 15th August)

The second of our Late Summer Lectures takes us back to the medieval period. Join Alexandra Claridge, Olivia Colquitt and Madelaine Smart as they explore medieval origin stories whose presentation of mythical beginnings and endings raises fundamental questions of sovereignty, legitimacy, and genealogy. All welcome to Alington House, Durham on 22nd August from 17.30. Alexandra begins with... Continue Reading →


“The Beginning of Sound Film -The End of Literary Modernism?” and “The Rise of Populism and a Call for the New Sincerity in Contemporary Fiction” (Public lectures, 15th August)

Our Late Summer Lectures series is back in 2018, and begins by looking at how literature reflects trends and developments in wider culture and politics. In the first talk, Lara Ehrenfried will show how the advent of sound film influenced modernist writers. In the second, Arya Aryan identifies a new trend in writing as authors... Continue Reading →

The Fairies of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Shakespeare’s fairies are international, minute, and associated with witches. Some surprising connections in Professor David Fuller’s post on the Between Worlds exhibition blog.

Between Worlds

By Professor David Fuller, Emeritus Professor of English at Durham University


Fairies appear as characters in several of Shakespeare’s plays, most notably the comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In this post, Professor David Fuller from the Department of English Studies at Durham University explores the role these fairies fulfil and their relationship to other characters from English folklore.

David Wright, Assistant Curator at Palace Green Library

Are Shakespeare’s fairies in A Midsummer Night’s Dream English or international, small or large, charming or sinister? They are, it seems, all of these.

They are international. Both Oberon, the fairy king, and Titania, his queen, are associated with India, from where, when the play begins, Oberon has just arrived. Titania, like a goddess, appears to have a cult there with priestesses – one of whom was the mother of a boy over whose possession the couple quarrel. But India is only one…

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