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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.

Late Summer Lectures 2020

Romantic Wellbeing

19th August 2020, 17:30 to 19:00, Online (Zoom), Dr Amanda Blake Davis (University of Sheffield) and Alex Hobday (University of Cambridge)

To kick off the theme of 'Body and Mind' for this year's Late Summer Lecture series, our first two papers will be discussing physical and mental wellbeing as seen through the lens of 18th century writers such as Percy Shelley, John Keats, and Mary Wollstonecraft.

'Unbodied Joy': Birds and Embodiment in Shelley and Keats

Dr Amanda Blake Davis (University of Sheffield)

The bodies of living birds in Keats and Shelley’s poetry are cast off in favour of ethereal song in poems such as ‘Ode to a Nightingale’, composed in the presence of a living nightingale outside Keats’ Hampstead home, and ‘To a Skylark’, in which Shelley glides between the ethereal and the material. This lecture will explore the Platonic implications of Keats and Shelley’s vacillations between body and mind through their depictions of birds.

The Happiness of the High-Wrought Mind: The Autobiographical Pursuit of Happiness in Eighteenth-Century Literature

Alex Hobday (University of Cambridge)

‘And, considering the question of human happiness, where, oh where does it reside? Has it taken up its abode with unconscious ignorance or with the high-wrought mind?’ Broken-hearted and soon to be deserted by the father of her child, Mary Wollstonecraft writes these words in her autobiographical travelogue Short Residence. Such questions echoed throughout eighteenth-century culture. What is happiness? And how can we achieve it?

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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.


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