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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

Reading Barmaids

25th January 2012, 17:00 to 18:30, Seminar Room, Hallgarth House, Katy Mullin (University of Leeds)

An Inventions of the Text seminar.

'Reading Barmaids' will show how the barmaid became defined as a new sexual persona in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. It will argue that barmaids became key signifiers of modernity, and that their status informed a number of canonical novels which contributed to debates around the art of fiction. These are George Gissing's The Nether World (1889), George Moore's Esther Waters (1894), Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure (1895) and, a generation later, James Joyce's Ulysses (1922).

I will argue that barmaid characters in these novels respond, in oblique and intriguing ways, to the challenges of censorship.

About the Speaker

Katy Mullin teaches Victorian and Modern literature at the University of Leeds. Her book, James Joyce, Sexuality and Social Purity, came out from Cambridge University Press in 2003. She is currently working towards her second book, Working Girls: Literature, Labour and Sexuality, which explores literary and cultural representations of barmaids, shop-girls, typists and telegraphists between 1880 and 1920.

Contact for more information about this event.

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