Mark Nixon at Cheltenham Literature Festival

Mark Nixon, editor of Beckett’s story Echo’s Bones (Faber, 2014), joined actor Lisa Dwan, star of the acclaimed one-woman trilogy of Beckett plays at the Royal Court, and Dan Gunn (co-editor, The Letters of Samuel Beckett 1957 – 1965) at this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival to discuss Beckett’s life and work. There was also a book signing session.

Nixon Blog

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The Tony Watkins Lecture: 30th October 2014

Tony Watkins Annual Lecture on Children’s Literature, Culture, Media 2014

CIRCL is very pleased to announce that the Tony Watkins Annual Lecture for 2014-15 will take place on October 30th 2014, at 6 pm in Palmer Building room 109:

Dr Simon Bailey, University of Manchester

will be speaking on:

“ADHD Mythology”

Dr Bailey is the author of the recent book Exploring ADHD: An ethnography of disorder in early childhood (Routledge, 2013).

Dr Simon Bailey

All welcome!

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Research Seminar – all welcome!


Early Modern Research Centre

Seminar Series, Autumn Term 2014

Wednesday 29th October

Dr Djoeke van Netten, University of Amsterdam

Investigating, not spreading, knowledge. Early Modern cultures of secrecy

EMRC Autumn 2014

1.15 pm HUMSS 127, Whiteknights Campus

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Andrew Mangham at Misericordia University

An extract from the US blog:

Local students will be introduced to BA to MA program with University of Reading in England

English majors at Misericordia University are about to see – and benefit from – a collaboration with some friends across the pond; a seamless transition into the master’s degree program in English literature at a renowned school in England is on the horizon.

From Oct. 22-25, the Department of English at Miseri will host Dr. Andrew Mangham, Ph.D., associate professor of English at the University of Reading in England, for a series of events to celebrate the launch of a BA to MA program that will give Misericordia students the opportunity to study in a top institution overseas. Mangham is the director of Reading’s master’s degree program in 19th century literature and culture, one of five specializations Misericordia students can choose to study for their master’s degree at the British university.

Andrew Mangham

“For me, what’s important is whether an institution pays close attention to the training and research needs of its students,” Mangham said of what makes the University of Reading such a great place to study.

“A good library is important, but so too is the research activities of teaching staff. I’m lucky to work for a university that is dedicated to making the quality of its teaching reflect the quality of its groundbreaking research. We’re lucky to be a short train ride away from some if the best libraries in the world, while having our own unique collections and resources.”

Mangham will appear in several places on campus throughout the week. On Oct. 22 from 8 p.m.-9:30 p.m., he’ll be in the Catherine Evans McGowan Room of the Mary Kintz Bevevino Library to give the talk “The Dickens Effect: Dickensian Values in the 21st Century.”

“The aim of the talk will be to discuss whether the values of [Charles] Dickens‘ works are still relevant today,” Mangham said. “I’ll look across Dickens’ whole career to assess what he had to teach us about the human condition and what the novel can offer us by way of guidance. We live in our own ‘Hard Times,’ and the sorts of enduring messages about knowledge, compassion, and charity to be found in Dickens can only be useful as we continue to battle with modern life.”

In fact, there is much merit to looking to the past for clues to the future.

“I’ve always thought that we can’t have a proper sense of where we’re going without a solid understanding of where we’ve been. The 19th century was crucial to the development of some of our most fundamental values and ideas. In order to understand the world today, we need to be constantly reassessing its ideological, political, and philosophical foundations in the 19th century.”

Mangham has always held an interest in the Victorian era, and many of his works deal in it. He is the author of “Violent Women and Sensation Fiction: Crime, Medicine, and Victorian Popular Fiction,”co-editor with Greta Depledge of “The Female Body in Medicine and Literature,” and editor of “The Cambridge Companion to Sensation Fiction.” He has also published articles on toxicology, crime, literature, sensation fiction, and Dickens, among many other topics. He is currently writing a second monograph on the different negotiations of moral truth that can be seen in forensic textbooks of the Victorian age and Dickens’ narratives.

“I’ve always been fascinated by the Victorian era,” he said. “I was first drawn to the differences with our own times – the costumes, the manners, and methods of writing, etc. – but the more I’ve studied the period, the more I’ve noticed key similarities, including political values, anxieties about the effects of modernity, artistic responses to greed and corruption, and so on.

“We’re not that different, really, and I’ve always felt that looking into the 19th century is like looking into a fairground mirror: we see a slightly distorted version if us, but it is us nevertheless.”

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Archives and Texts Seminar

We are delighted to present the first talk in the Archives and Texts seminar, which will be held in Special Collections  at the Museum of English Rural Life:

 Monday 27th October (wk 5) 5-6pm, MERL

Dr Innes M. Keighren (Geography, Royal Holloway)

‘Travels in a publisher’s archive: John Murray and nineteenth-century travel publishing’

In this talk, Innes will present the findings of an AHRC-funded project which investigated the relationship between exploration and publishing in order better to understand how knowledge acquired in the field became, through a series of material and epistemic translations, knowledge on the page. In examining the transformation of travellers’ en route writing in journals and field notebooks into more-or-less polished print, Innes considers the significant role of editing, revising, and redacting in imposing order and authority on printed works of travel.

John Murray

The lecture considers—with specific reference to accounts of travel in South America, Africa, and the Arctic issued by the leading nineteenth-century publishing house John Murray—how journeys of exploration became published accounts and how travellers sought to demonstrate the faithfulness of their written testimony and to secure their personal credibility.

All welcome – seasonal refreshments provided and we’ll have a drink afterwards.


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Chloe Houston: book launch

On Wednesday 26th November,1.15 pm: Dr Chloe Houston, from the Department of English Literature, University of Reading, is speaking on ‘Too Good to be True: Reforming Utopia in Thomas Nicholls’ A pleasant Dialogue… (1579) and Thomas Lupton’s Sivqila (1580)’, at an event to launch her new book, The Renaissance Utopia: Dialogue, Travel and the Ideal Society.  All welcome.  HUMSS, Room 127, University of Reading.

Chloe Houston book cover

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Thomas Glave reads his work…

The award-winning author Thomas Glave will give a reading of his work in support of LGBT Plus – a network for University of Reading staff on Monday 24th November 2014, at 6.30 pm, in Palmer Building 103, Whiteknights.

 Thomas Glave

For further information please contact Dr Andrew Mangham on 0118 378 6093 or on

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A YouTube first for the department

The department has just published its first British Sign Language interpreted screencast. ‘The Punctuation Pathway’, one of our first ever screencasts, is now available in this format for viewers on our YouTube channel ‘English Literature at the University of Reading’ and can be found here:

punctuation pathway bsl


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Gerald Finzi Memorial Lecture 2014

On Friday 7 November, acclaimed poet Don Paterson will deliver the Gerald Finzi Memorial Lecture 2014, at 6:30 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre (L22) at the London Road campus. The Finzi lecture is one of the major public events in the University diary. Admission is free.

Don Paterson’s title will be ‘Thirteen Ways to Look at a Poet: Michael Donaghy and the Golden Section’. Michael Donaghy, a popular, influential and much-loved figure in the UK poetry scene, died tragically early at the age of fifty in 2004, and Paterson’s lecture will mark the tenth anniversary of his death. It coincides with the reissue of Donaghy’s Collected Poems in paperback, and the publication of Don Paterson’s ‘Smith’: A Reader’s Guide to the Poetry of Michael Donaghy.

The lecture will be followed by the opening reception for Reading Poetry Festival 2014, in the Old Library (London Road campus) at 7:30 p.m., at which there will be readings from the 2014 University of Reading Creative Arts anthology, Origami Warriors.

The Gerald Finzi Memorial Lecture is the opening event of Reading Poetry Festival 2014 which runs from 7-9November and which will bring together many of the most exciting poets from around the UK for three days of readings and discussion. See for full schedule and tickets.

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Start Scribbling!

Emily Upson, a member of our student-led creative writing group, writes:

Start Scribbling! is our biggest event yet – open to everyone, it will be an evening filled with writing advice and information on the opportunities in Reading.

start scribbling

We have guest speakers such as A F Harrold, Morag Joss, Michael Gulliver, and Conor Carville, who will all be talking about their writing experience, and giving you the advice that they wish they had.

There will be refreshments available, as generously funded by the O2 Think Big! scheme.

It’s in the big lecture theatre, Palmer G10, on Whiteknights campus, on Monday the 20th of October from 7 – 10pm.

I hope to see you all there!

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