Postmodernist Biofiction: a one-day conference

Postmodernist Biofiction: a one-day conference in the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading.

 Saturday 25 March 2017, HumSS

Organisers: Dr Bethany Layne and Dr Madeleine Davies (Department of English Literature)

Students and colleagues are warmly invited to attend this one-day conference where key speakers include authors David Lodge, Susan Sellers and Maggie Gee.

Biofiction is a much-debated form blending the traditional genres of ‘biography’ and ‘fiction’ to produce a postmodernist splicing where questions of ‘fact’ and ‘truth’ are held up for scrutiny. In the modern era, biofictions have proliferated and texts such as David Lodge’s Author Author (focused upon Henry James), Susan Sellers’ Vanessa and Virginia (centralising the relationship between Virginia Woolf and her sister Vanessa Bell), Kate Moses’ Wintering (concerning the final months in the life of Sylvia Plath) and Maggie Gee’s Virginia Woolf in Manhatten (imagining a temporarily reborn Woolf exploring contemporary New York)have achieved heightened critical and academic attention.

The Postmodernist Biofiction conference involves a selection of academic panels (including a student panel), keynote addresses and an interview with David Lodge; the discussions throughout the day will investigate a range of issues involved in this curious genre.  Papers will be delivered on the postmodern construction of the subject, the representation of the female ‘artist’ in biofiction, US conspiracy theory presidential biofictions, and there will be debate about the ’ethics’ of a genre where ‘fiction’ connects with biographical ‘fact’ in novels about ‘real people’.

We would like to involve our students in this event so please do join in if you have an interest in this fascinating topic. Colleagues from the University are also invited; come and hear David Lodge, Susan Sellers and Maggie Gee, as well as a range of academics and students, and contribute to the discussion about the intriguing textual hybrid known as biofiction.

For further information, please see our Twitter page and/or contact Dr Bethany Layne (b.layne@reading.ac.uk) or Dr Madeleine Davies (m.k.davies@reading.ac.uk)

 

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Sounds of the Land

DEL-MERL Visiting Speaker Series, Spring 2017

A series of lunchtime talks organized by the Department of English Literature and the Museum of English Rural Life

Steven Matthews ‘Sounds of the Land’ talk at The MERL

Tuesday 28 February 2017

12-1pm, at The Museum of English Rural Life, Redlands Road, RG1 5EX

Admission free, no booking required

http://www.reading.ac.uk/themerl/whats-on/themerl-speakerseries-matthews.aspx

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Medical Humanities Reading Group

The Medical Humanities Reading Group welcome you to our upcoming guest speaker event on Tuesday 21st February,  at 5pm, in HumSS 110.

How to Have Jazz Hands in an Epidemic:
musical theatre as a response to AIDS

Emily Garside completed her PhD on transnational theatre, exploring UK productions of American AIDS-related theatre, in 2015. She is an engaging speaker, having presented her research not only to fellow academics, but also in the West End as an accompaniment to recent productions of ‘AIDS plays’, as they have come to be know, such as Andrew Keates’ recent revival of As Is at the Trafalgar Studios. She is currently working on a book proposal, and preparing a workshop on Angels in America with the National Theatre.

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Professor Debra Shostak gives a talk today

D avid Brauner writes:

Just a quick reminder that Professor Debra Shostak, who is a Visiting Scholar with us this term, will be giving a research seminar entitled ‘Autumn of a patriarch: Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections’  today (Monday, 20th February) at 12 in HumSS127. Professor Shostak is one of the most eminent scholars in the field of contemporary American fiction and a very engaging speaker, so please do come along if you are free.

 

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Research seminar

Professor Debra Shostak, who is a Visiting Scholar with us this term, will be speaking on “Autumn of a patriarch: Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections”  on Monday 20th February at 12. The venue is HumSS127.

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A Ladybird Talk at MERL

On Thursday February 23rd at 5:30 pm, Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein will be giving a talk on a Ladybird Book, British Birds and their Nests, for the MERL Book Club.

The talk is free and there is no need to book: http://www.reading.ac.uk/themerl/whats-on/themerl-bookclub.aspx

After the talk, at 7:30 pm there is also a wider Ladybird Event at MERL, for which one does need to buy a ticket: http://www.reading.ac.uk/themerl/whats-on/themerl_ladybirdeveningforgrownups.aspx

 

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EMRC seminar

The next EMRC seminar will be held on Monday 20 February at 1 pm in HUMSS 124:

 

Dr. Kathryn Woods (Warwick),

 

“Sweat and Toil: The Skin and Pores of the Eighteenth-Century Labouring Body”

 

All welcome

 

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International Women’s Day Talk and Debate

Wednesday 8th March, 6-8pm, Palmer 102.

Human rights matter to everyone and the principle of equal rights is key to its definition. International Women’s Day is an annual opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women across the world, but it’s also an opportunity to reflect on the inequalities that stubbornly persist.

With the election of Donald Trump, International Women’s Day has particular resonance this year. On Wednesday 8th March, senior academics from across the University will be giving talks in Palmer 102 on a range of issues connected with equality. Dr Madeleine Davies is hosting the evening, and she will be introducing Professor Clare Furneaux who will be discussing women and language, Dr Orla Kennedy who will be talking about women and weight, Dr Brian Feltham, discussing the internalisation of harassment and discrimination, Professor Rachel McCrindle, discussing women in male dominated industries such as Engineering, and Dr Mary Morrissey who will analyse the construction of Hillary Clinton in the recent US election campaign.

Following the talks there will be a debate led by members of the audience. This has been lively and fascinating in previous years and staff members have enjoyed talking through the issues with our students.

You don’t need to be female or to identify as a feminist to enjoy this event; as we’ve seen on the women’s marches across the US and the UK following President Trump’s inauguration, equal rights is a deeply-felt and fundamental principle held by men and women of all races and faiths. Come and debate the issues with us and celebrate how far women have come and discuss how far we still have to go.

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Medical Humanities Reading Group

The Medical Humanities Reading Group has a Guest Speaker on Tuesday 31st January.

Dr Sasha Garwood-Lloyd will be talking about sexuality, starvation and selfhood in Early Modern England. Sasha’s research focuses on female self-starvation during the early modern period, and its precise differentiation from the contemporary phenomenon of eating disorders. This talk is drawn from her forthcoming monograph Early Modern Noblewomen and Self-Starvation: the skull beneath the skin due out March 2018 from Routledge.

Sasha Garwood talk
This will be a 30 minute presentation, followed by the opportunity for questions, in HumSS 110, starting at 5pm Tuesday 31st Jan. No need to register, and snacks will be provided to prevent modern starvation too!

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EMRC seminar next week

The next EMRC seminar will be held at 1 pm, 30 January, HUMSS 127

Dr. Edmond Smith (Kent),

Cultures of commerce and governing behaviour in early modern England

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