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.
T.S. Eliot and the Anxious Body
Since mental health has obtained as much attention and priority as physical health in recent years, this lecture will evaluate the anxious bodies seen in T.S. Eliot's poems and his reaction to their tension.
By Cécile Varry (Université de Paris)
The bodies in T. S. Eliot’s poetry need to calm down. They twist, clutch, cling, wriggle, sprout, and burn. In a word, Eliot’s bodies are anxious.
How do you soothe the anxious body? The drastic solution suggested at the start of Eliot’s first collection of poems (1917) is to put it to sleep artificially (‘Like a patient etherized upon a table’). This is followed by more violent approaches: head chopping, impaling, flattening; and finally, at the end of an irresistible seaward movement, drowning. But the body always comes back, it always clings on.
This paper explores Eliotic tension as something of the body, giving rise to a conflicted, overpowering desire for physical loosening.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information about this event.
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.
- 20th January 2021
- Sensory Experiments in Nineteenth-Century Literature
- Online (Zoom)
- Dr Erica Fretwell (University of Albany) and Dr Shannon Draucker (Siena College)