Peter Robinson’s latest publication: The Draft Will

Much of it composed during Peter’s eighteen years living in Japan, The Draft Will brings together a selection of his experiments with the prose poem and an extended sequence exploring a mystery in the poet’s family background. To these has been added a gathering of memoirs written for various occasions over thirty years. Among these is ‘Lost and Found’, an account of the events surrounding the discovery he was suffering from a brain tumour, and how after its removal he was able to return to Sendai, working there for a further twelve years. Robinson’s unusual attention to the timbre and cadence of English has singled him out as among the distinctive poets of his time. The Draft Will is an essential element in this evolving body of work.

draft-will-web-medium

 

 

 

Click here to read an excerpt from The Draft Will. 

Click here to order from Amazon.co.uk

Click here to order from Amazon.co.jp

Click here to order from Amazon.com

Contact Peter: p.robinson@reading.ac.uk

See his webpages: http://www.reading.ac.uk/english-literature/aboutus/Staff/p-robinson.aspx

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Cole Library article

Verity Burke writes:

I recently wrote a post for the History Vault on Professor Francis J. Cole’s collections (the Cole Library of Early Medicine and Zoology, and the Cole Museum of Zoology) on anatomy and reading and thought it might be of wider interest.

Verity Burke

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Department of English Literature Undergraduate Award Ceremony

 Professor Peter Robinson writes:

It was a great pleasure, one of my final duties as outgoing Head of Department for English Literature in the School of Literature and Languages, to present The Margaret Seymour and Percy Sharman Prize for Literature, awarded to Lorenzo Pagano, the student with the best overall mark in finals, who had a GPA of over 74 and a run of marks at Part 3 all in the first class band. I also presented our Best Dissertation Prize to Benjamin Beach, for a thesis on T. S. Eliot’s earlier poetry and the problems — poetic, philosophical and critical — of emotion in his work. This was awarded an agreed 85 by the two anonymous examiners.

Bridgeman; (c) University of Reading Art Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation
Bridgeman; (c) University of Reading Art Collection; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

It was also a great pleasure to welcome again Paul Ovstedal, son of the novelist, to present The Rosalind Laker Award for Creative Writing to Unah Cader for the best dissertation on our Pathway this year, which consisted of two short stories rewriting fairy tales and an accompanying commentary. All three of the winners were able to be present in person, along with members of their families, and it was a delight to welcome them into the Department for our celebrations.

Laker

 

About Professor Peter Robinson…

Peter’s latest publication is The Draft Will. Much of it composed during Peter Robinson’s eighteen years living in Japan, The Draft Will brings together a selection of his experiments with the prose poem and an extended sequence exploring a mystery in the poet’s family background.      ‘A major English poet’ (Poetry Review)

Contact Peter: p.robinson@reading.ac.uk

See his webpages: http://www.reading.ac.uk/english-literature/aboutus/Staff/p-robinson.aspx

 

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Well done Claire!

Congratulations to Claire Battershill, whose book of short stories, Circus, published last year, was a finalist for the Danuta Gleed Award for best first Canadian short story collection.

It has also won an award for best literary fiction by a new writer in Canada.

Claire Battershill

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SMxCSwwujjI

 

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Letter from America

Nicola Wilson writes:

I was very fortunate to spend some time earlier this month doing research at the Harry Ransom Center (HRC) in Austin, Texas. “Do you still need to travel to see particular items?” friends have asked. Well yes, while many major research libraries now have substantial digitisation programmes – the Harry Ransom Center is one of these, as you can see from their huge online collections http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/ – there is still so much material held in large libraries and archives like this that digitisation can only start to offer a taster of what they contain. In fact, I was working from card catalogues in the reading rooms while I was there – sometimes even archivists and online catalogues cannot keep up with everything that a major archive contains.

The Harry Ransom Center is a key place for research in twentieth-century literature. Since its origins in the late 1950s, when it was founded by Harry Huntt Ransom, a professor of English, the HRC has sought to collect literary manuscripts and “entire working archives” – an unusual collections-policy at mid-century, when rare books were valued more highly than the archives of living writers – reflecting Ransom’s belief that the archival trail an author leaves behind (notes, diaries, drafts, correspondence) should be at the centre of literary research. We still have debates about the validity of this idea or otherwise in our seminar rooms today.

The politics of acquisition should not be ignored of course, and the well-endowed HRC regularly appears in archival controversies as with their recent purchase of the archive of Columbian writer Gabriel García Márquez. http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/nov/24/colombian-writer-gabriel-garcia-marquezs-archive-goes-to-texas

The ‘Diasporic Archives’ network has explored some of the complex, geo-political and international issues involved in major institutions’ collections policies: http://www.diasporicarchives.com/

Austin however was a wonderful place to work in and I had a fabulous time buried in the archives there. I was looking at Hugh Walpole’s diaries – poignant and entertaining – and a variety of correspondence written between him and other members of the Book Society Selection Committee – a mail-order book club set up in 1929, which in many ways had an influence upon popular literature and literary fiction comparable to that of Oprah’s Book Club or Richard & Judy today. All of which will be great material for the next book, and I came away just in time before I got the boots!

 

 

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The latest publication from Professor Karín Lesnik-Oberstein

Professor Karín Lesnik-Oberstein has just published a new, edited, volume, for which she has also written the introduction and first chapter, and which includes contributions from a wide range of colleagues from CIRCL (The Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, Media (CIRCL)), including here at Reading Dr Sue Walsh and Dr Neil Cocks. The book, as with all CIRCL edited volumes, research and teaching, follows through the implications of considering the reading of perspectives and textuality for issues of identity, including questioning underpinning assumptions such as ‘voice’, ‘agency’, ‘affect’ and ‘the body’.

Rethinking Disability Theory and Practice: Challenging Essentialism, edited by Karín Lesnik-Oberstein (Houndmills: Palgrave, 2015).

Rethinking disability theory and practice

 

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Paddy Bullard looks forward to joining us

We are delighted to welcome to the department Paddy Bullard, who is one of several new colleagues joining us this Autumn.

PaddyBullard

Paddy writes:

Enlightenment-period literature and the history of the book are the two great enthusiasms of my professional life, and the University of Reading is a very special place to be pursuing them. For me the Whiteknights campus is haunted by the satirist Alexander Pope, who knew it well as the estate of his friend Anthony Englefield during the first decade of the eighteenth century. Two of my heroes from the end of the century, the inventor and memoirist Richard Lovell Edgeworth and the novelist Thomas Day, met and became firm friends a few miles down the road at Hare Hatch. And, as a book historian, Reading’s unique holdings of publisher’s archives and typographic collections promise many seasons of happy research and teaching at Redlands Road. I can’t wait to get started.

I come to the University of Reading with some baggage – two on-going book projects, and several other long-term plans for research. The main focus of my writing is a monograph, On Knowing More Than You Can Say: An Enlightenment Problem, 1600-1800. It describes how writers in an age of open inquiry dealt with knowledge that cannot be disseminated freely in print (the conventional technology of enlightenment) because it is tacit and unspecifiable, reproducible only by example or personal habituation. It will be my second book – my first, Edmund Burke and the Art of Rhetoric (Cambridge University Press, 2011), traced the origins of Burke’s thinking about political deliberation in seventeenth-century theories of moral psychology, and in the ‘commonwealthsman’ political culture of eighteenth-century Ireland. A second on-going project is The Oxford Handbook of Eighteenth-Century Satire, of which I am editor. My own research in this area is focused on Pope’s friend Jonathan Swift – in 2013 I published a co-edited collection of essays called Jonathan Swift and the Eighteenth-Century Book.

Outside the world of books my enthusiasms coalesce (very loosely) around things rural, folky and earthy. Gardening is my passion, British traditional song is my soundtrack, and an active life in the local community (wherever that may be) is what makes sense of it all. I expect to be hanging out at the Museum of English Rural Life on Redlands Road rather a lot.

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For Simon

The current issue of English: The Journal of the English Association (Vol. 64 No. 245, Summer 2015) contains an obituary for Simon Dentith by Prof. Helen Wilcox, of the University of Bangor.

It is followed by ‘Weather Events‘, a poem in memory of Simon by Peter Robinson.

seagulls and floods

 

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On the rise…

We are delighted to announce that  English at Reading (English Literature, English Language, and Creative Writing) has moved from 27th to 13th in the Guardian League tables:

https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1RTG3Jf6kretwMuFpgo6Nbaq0gM1rvuz0-NB_2Mc1Xq0/edit?pli=1#gid=137705090

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The Institution as a whole has also risen, from 30th to 25th: http://www.reading.ac.uk/news-and-events/releases/PR634231.aspx

 

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Top tips for university life

Rowen Marlow, an English Literature student gives her top tips for first year life at Reading University:

top tips

1) Be yourself – it sounds obvious but simply being true to yourself and your interests will help you to feel comfortable at university. If your flatmates are going on a night out but you want to stay in and chat to your family on skype, then that’s okay!

2) Be willing to try new things – that being said, being yourself to the point of not trying new things will not be helpful to you. University is not just about getting a good degree, it means living with and meeting new people. You will learn more about yourself by keeping an open mind when considering others people’s ideas.

3) Be prepared – after you have finished your exams before coming to university it can be tempting to forget about education for the summer. It is best to try and have a good head start before you get to university so read some books on your reading list and make sure you have a pen and notepad by welcome week.

4) Join a society – maybe there is a sport you love that you would like to continue or a new sport you would like to try. There is bound to be a sports society for you at Reading like hockey, judo, archery or cheerleading. Or if you aren’t into sports there are numerous volunteer and club societies where you can harbour new skills or build on current ones for example: British Sign Language, St John’s Ambulance and the Duke of Edinburgh award.

5) Be money savvy – when faced with a surge of money in the form of your student loan, it can be tempting to buy that phone or pair of sunglasses you have always wanted… but your loan is there for a reason to help you at university. It is best to create a budget based on money needed for rent, bills, food and books before seeing what is left over to use for socialising and other items.

6) Make the most of welcome week – Chat to your flatmates and new friends from your course about what events you all are interested in going to and buy tickets for these. It will be one of your most memorable parts of university life so make it count!

7) Be organised – when welcome week is over, it’s a good idea to try and keep organised. Lectures and seminars won’t stop if you haven’t done the relevant reading or work and it will be harder to tackle if you don’t stay on top of it from the start. Make a timetable to fit in revision or essay time but don’t forget socialising time. First year will fly by so above all enjoy it and have fun!

 

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