The Department of English runs a wide variety of lectures every year, for the benefit of a broad audience. Recordings of many of these lectures can be downloaded here. To find details of future events, or to subscribe to our monthly events newsletter, visit our events pages.
From the uncanny films of Wes Anderson and Jean-Pierre Jeunet, to the flimflamming con artists of Oscar Wilde, Late Summer Lectures returns in 2014 with an eclectic and fascinating mix of topics. Late Summer Lectures introduces the cutting edge research of our postgraduate students to a wide audience. The series runs at 7.00 on Wednesday evenings from 13th August to 1st October 2014, in Alington House, Durham.
Vampires and poltergeists; eternal children and cyborgs – this series of short lectures explored how literature depicts the fantastic. Recorded at Palace Green Library on 14th March 2014, the lectures tied in with the science-fiction exhibition, Robot.
1960s counter-culture in Newcastle, vampires, HP Lovecraft, and mediaeval monkeys. These are amongst the topics covered by PhD students from Durham’s Department of English Studies in the fourth annual Late Summer Lecture Series in English Literature.
A 2012 exhibition of avant-garde magazines in Durham’s Palace Green Library explored magazine culture from Charles Dickens to Oscar Wilde and into the early 20th century. Defying tradition and convention, these publications flaunted their modernity and sought to reinvent the magazine as a celebration of decadent art, unafraid to shock the public. A series of talks was held to mark the exhibition.
Late Summer Lectures 2012 featured talks by PhD researchers from all departments within the Arts and Humanities. Podcasts cover topics such as Nabokov’s Lolita, the meaning of beauty, and folk music libraries.
The Persistence of Beauty focused on British, Irish, and American authors of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The series reflected on the ways that the Romantic and Post-Romantic imagination aspired towards an idealised notion of the beautiful as a harmonious, often transcendent, perfection only to discover that such an ideal conception of beauty is ironically unattainable. An aspiration towards the beautiful confronts us with some of the most difficult and unbeautiful truths about the limitations of our existence and art. This is something Post-Romantic writers took up, and beauty remained central, and was perhaps even renewed and intensified, for later nineteenth- and twentieth- century writers.
The Recovery of Beauty aimed to ask whether and how beauty can be reinstated as real and valuable. The last decade has witnessed major changes in our understanding of what makes the human body beautiful: the traditional idea that beauty is subjective has been challenged, for example, by evolutionary psychologists. The lecture series rediscovered the meanings and manifestations of beauty.