We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

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.

Alchemy and Exemplary Narratives in Middle English Poetry

5th December 2016, 18:00 to 19:00, Durham World Heritage Site Visitor Centre, Curtis Runstedler

Part of the MEMSA seminar series.

In this seminar, I will look at how alchemy is used within exemplary narratives in Middle English poetry of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, including Chaucer's Canon's Yeoman's Tale, John Gower's Confessio amantis, and an alchemical version of John Lydgate's The Churl and the Bird. Although these authors write with different intentions, they are united through their use of alchemical content to make moral points about society and human fallibility. I hope to illustrate not only the value of the fusion of science and literature, but also show that medieval science, far from being set in the 'Dark Ages', was enlightening in social, moral, and ethical ways.

Contact for more information about this event.

Related Links


Research in English At Durham (READ) blog showcasing the the literary research emerging from the Department of English Studies


We host a large number of conferences, lectures and seminars each year, many of them open to the public. Find out more on our Events page.


Many of our public lectures, seminars and conferences are recorded, and can be listened to as podcasts.

Follow English Studies on Social Media

Research English At Durham Facebook Twitter Mixcloud

Next Event