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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.

Writing the Divide: Literary Culture and Political Engagement in the 1930s

16th June 2017, 09:00 to 17:00, St Chad's College Chapel

This interdisciplinary conference provides a platform for discussion on the relationship between literature, polemics, and politics.

In his 1940 essay, ‘Inside the Whale’, George Orwell characterized the literature of the 1930s as inextricably intertwined with politics:

During the past ten years literature has involved itself more and more deeply in politics…[A]lmost all [texts written during 1930s], right-wing or left-wing, are written from a political angle, by cocksure partisans telling you what to think, whereas the books about the Great War were written by common soldiers or junior officers who did not even pretend to understand what the whole thing was about.

Taking this claim as starting point, this interdisciplinary conference provides a platform for discussion on the relationship between literature, polemics, and politics. The aim is to examine how literature and literary figures attempt to make sense of politics in a period too often read simply as a preamble to the Second World War.

The keynote speaker for this conference will be Professor Valentine Cunningham (Oxford). A full programme is now available.

Registration is free. To register, email writingthedivide@gmail.com.

This event is supported by the Department of English Studies and the Centre for Modern Conflicts and Cultures. The organisers are Rick de Villiers and Mika Vale.

Contact writingthedivide@gmail.com for more information about this event.

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