Category Archives: Lectures

OCCT: Oxford Translation Day, Trinity Events

Oxford Translation Day, St Anne’s College, Oxford, 3rd June 2017

OTD Poster

On June 3rd, St Anne’s College will be running Oxford Translation Day, a celebration of literary translation consisting of workshops and talks throughout the day at St Anne’s and around the city, culminating in the award of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize. Oxford Translation Day is a joint venture of the Oxford-Weidenfeld Translation Prize and Oxford Comparative Criticism and Translation (the research programme housed in St Anne’s and the Oxford Research Centre for the Humanities), in partnership with the Oxford German Network and Modern Poetry in Translation. All events are free and open to anyone, but registration is required. To register go to Eventbrite or see here: http://www.occt.ox.ac.uk

The programme can be found here.

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Week 4 – Poetic Currency Symposium (Collaboration with Stanford University and Ben-Gurion University of the Negev) Poetry Reading and Keynote Address. Wed. 18 May, 5:00 -7:30pm; Seminar Room 10 in the New Library, St Anne’s College. Speakers: Adriana X. Jacobs (Oxford); Kristin Grogan (Oxford). Poets: Claire Trévien (UK); Tahel Frosh (Israel); Roy ‘Chicky’ Arad (Israel)

Week 4 – Poetic Currency SymposiumThurs. 19 May, 10:30 -16:30pm; Seminar Room 5, St Anne’s College. Speakers: Eleni Philippou (Oxford); Kasia Szymanska (Oxford); Idan Gillo (Stanford); Anat Weisman (BGU); Shira Stav (BGU); Roy Greenwald (BGU)

Week 5 – Fiction and Other Minds: Enacting Fictional SpaceWed. 24 May 2017, 5:15 -7:15pm; Seminar Room, Radcliffe Humanities Building. Speaker: Merja Polvinen (Helsinki); Respondent: Terence Cave (Oxford)

The OCCT 2017 Trinity programme can be found here – a detailed description of each individual event, here.

OCCT is a Divisional research programme supported by TORCH and St Anne’s College. Our organising committee includes Prof Matthew Reynolds, Prof Adriana X. Jacobs, Prof Mohamed-Salah Omri, Dr Eleni Philippou, Dr Peter Hill, Ms Karolina Watroba, Ms Kate Costello, Ms Valeria Taddei, Dr Kasia Szymanska, Prof Ben Morgan, Prof Patrick McGuinness

Franco Moretti Public Lectures, KCL

Professor Franco Moretti (Stanford University) will be Visiting Professor of Comparative Literature at King’s College London in June, 2017. As part of his visit he will give two public lectures. Details below. These events are free and open to the public, but registration is required. Details can be found here.

Lecture 1:

June 7, 2017. 17:00. Anatomy Lecture Theatre, King’s Building, King’s College London.

Totentanz. Operationaliziong Aby Warburg’s Pathosformel

The object of this study is one of the most ambitious projects of twentieth-century art history: Aby Warburg’s Atlas Mnemosyne, conceived in the summer of 1926 – when the first mention of a Bilderatlas, or “atlas of images”, occurs in his journal – and truncated three years later, unfinished, by his sudden death in October 1929.  Mnemosyne consisted in a series of large black panels, on which were attached about 1,000 black-and-white photographs of paintings, sculptures, book pages, stamps, newspaper clippings, tarot cards, coins, and other types of images. For Warburg, these thousand images were connected by morphological similarity and historical continuity. But the texts that accompany Mnemosyne are few and short, and the logic of his gigantic montage remains unclear. Often compared to Benjamin’s Passagenwerk, Warburg’s work is, in truth, much more elusive. One thread to orient oneself in the maze is however offered by the concept of the Pathosformel, or formula for (the expression of) passion. Turning this concept into a series of quantitative measurements – “operationalising” Pathosformeln – throws a new light on Warburg’s project, and opens the possibility to further develop it.

Registration link: https://kcltotentanz.eventbrite.co.uk/

Lecture 2:

June 21, 2017. 18:00. Edmond J. Safra Lecture Theatre, King’s Building, King’s College London.

Day and Night. On the counterpoint of Western and film noir

A first image: Ford’s stagecoach is in the midst of its journey; we see the uneven terrain, the rocks of Monument Valley, the distant horizon, the clouds in the sky (Stagecoach, 1939). It’s the long shot that is typical of the Western: a landscape so vast, it dwarfs the human beings within it; the remote, “alien” space of the Frontier, “which had been in its time as uncanny a place for pioneers as a moonscape might be”. A second image: Barbara Stanwyck and Fred McMurray are meeting to plan their next moves against the insurance company (Double Indemnity, 1944); the setting is a perfectly familiar supermarket interior; customers walk by, a woman buys some baby formula, a janitor pushes a cart; boxes, cans, shelves; a cramped space, made even more so by the close-up typical of the film noir. But closeness doesn’t bring clarity: Stanwyck’s sunglasses make her expression completely unreadable (and things don’t improve when she later takes them off). In the Western, the opposite state of affairs: distance makes it often difficult to see – all those characters knitting their brows, trying to make sense of the figures moving far away – but it never generates ambiguity; one either sees, or does not. Daylight dominates; High Noon; a genre without shadows, en plein air, whose aesthetic conventions were more than ready to embrace color, as soon as it became technically available. Not so the noir, whose affinity to darkness – NightfallGaslightThe Night of the HunterThe Dark CornerThey Live by Night … – was enhanced by the thousand gradations of black and white film. Outdoor, diurnal, and distant, then; indoor, nightly, and close. Concave to convex. The structural antithesis of these two great post-war genres, and its historical significance, will be the subject of this talk.

Registration link: https://kcldayandnight.eventbrite.co.uk/

‘Convulsion and Enlightenment’, KCL

The 2017 Society for French Studies Annual Lecture: ‘Convulsion and Enlightenment’, Edmond J. Safra Lecture Theatre, Strand Building, King’s College London, 25th May 2017, 17:00.

Professor Anne Vila (University of Wisconsin – Madison), 2017 Visiting Fellow of the Society of French Studies.

The French Enlightenment is classically seen as an age of cool-headed, masterful reason.  So why were convulsions such a common theme not just in this period’s medical discourse, but also in its literature, aesthetic theories, and popular culture? How was convulsion, conceived as a natural propensity of the human body (P. Hequet, Le naturalisme des convulsions, 1733), connected to this period’s ideas about human nature, progress and perfectibility?  And who convulsed, and why? To answer those questions, this talk will survey the complex conceptual landscape that surrounded convulsions in eighteenth-century France, from the vibratory models popular in many fields (aesthetics, physiology, philosophy of mind, medical therapeutics), to the use of convulsions in sentimental literature and art theory, to curious phenomena like religious convulsionism, the vapors, and mesmerism.

Professor Anne Vila received her Ph.D. in French Literature from The Johns Hopkins University in 1990 and joined the faculty of the Department of French and Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison that same year. She has also taught at Emory University and Stanford University. Her academic honours include a Phi Beta Kappa Dissertation Fellowship, an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship, a University of Wisconsin Halverson-Bascom Professorship, and a UW Madison Pickard-Bascom Professorship. During her 27-year career at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she has served as Department Chair (Head of Department), Associate Chair for French, and Director of Graduate Studies for French MA/Ph.D. programmes. She has directed, co-directed, or served as second reader on 31 Ph.D. theses to date, for doctoral students in a wide range of fields (French, Italian, English, Slavic Languages and Literature, History, and History of Science).

Professor Vila’s publications include Enlightenment and Pathology: Sensibility in the Literature and Medicine of Eighteenth-Century France (1998), the co-edited volume Rethinking Cultural Studies 1: A State of the Question. EMF: Studies in Early Modern France, (2000), A Cultural History of the Senses in the Age of Enlightenment, 1650-1800, ed. (2014), three book translations, 32 articles or book chapters, 13 encyclopedia entries, and 13 book reviews. She has recently completed a book manuscript Suffering Scholars: Pathologies of the Intellectual in Enlightenment France (forthcoming in Spring 2018 at University of Pennsylvania Press) and, with Ronan Chalmin, a critical reedition of Tissot’s De la santé des gens de lettres (for Editions Garnier). She is also co-editing, with Florence Vatan, two essay volumes: ‘l’Esprit (dé)réglé: Literature, Science, and the Life of the Mind in France, 1700-1900’, a bilingual special issue of L’Esprit créateur (Winter 2016) and ‘Entre le corps et l’esprit: langages et savoirs concurrents,’ a special issue of Arts et savoirs ((http://aes.revues.org; forthcoming, Winter 2018). Her new book project is entitled ‘The Culture of Convulsions in France, 1730 to 1850.’

Free and open to the public, but attendance is required. To register click here.

Landscapes of a Lyric Empire, SOAS

Landscapes of a Lyric Empire, Dr Fatima Burney (SOAS), Wednesday 8th March 2017, 3.15pm – 5pm, B111, Brunei Gallery, SOAS, London WC1H 0XG.

This talk will present the comparative poetics of Sir William Jones to demonstrate the role of orientalist readings of ghazals in the history of lyricization. Jones was one of the first litterateurs to treat ‘lyrick’ as a universal category and to translate Persian ghazals as ‘lyricks’ – a designation which has remained within ghazal scholarship and comparative models of literary reading to this day. Jones also published several essays on ‘asiatick’ literature that significantly influenced the reception of Persian poetry in English reading publics. This talk highlights the significance of ‘nature’ as a conceptual paradigm in Jones theory of universal poetic form. While Jones’ insistence on the ‘rustic’ genius of ‘asiatick’ poetry was certainly helpful in promoting Persian (and Arabic) poetry to European readers, it entailed converting the products of a cosmopolitan Persianate writing network into objects of a rustic proto-European literary practice.

Dr. Fatima Burney is a Postdoctoral Research fellow at the Centre for Cultural, Literary and Postcolonial Studies at SOAS. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of California Los Angeles in 2017. Fatima’s doctoral dissertation compares Anglophone and Urdu literary romantic movements in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, particularly in their reception and representation of ghazal poetry. At SOAS, Fatima’s research will focus on the North Indian case study of the Multilingual Locals and Significant Geographies research project.

Free event, no registration required. More information can be found here.

Sean O’Brien Lectures, St Anne’s College, Oxford

‘For Dreams are Licensed as they Never Were’5.30pm in the Mary Ogilvie Lecture Theatre, St Anne’s College, University of Oxford. All welcome.

Weidenfeld Visiting Professor in Comparative European Literature, Sean O’Brien. 

Tuesday 7 February 2017 ‘For dreams are licensed as they never were’. What becomes of the history poem?

Tuesday 14 February 2017 Displacement: Irish poetry and poets of Irish descent in Britain.

Tuesday 21 February 2017 ‘I only am escaped alone to tell thee’ or ‘The Faster We Go the Rounder We Get’.

Tuesday 28 February 2017 In Conversation with Patrick McGuinness.