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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

The Persistence of Beauty - The Beauties of Charles Dickens

24th January 2012, 18:15 to 19:15, Room 140, Elvet Riverside Building, New Elvet, Dr Robert Douglas-Fairhurst (University of Oxford)

This is the second lecture in The Persistence of Beauty Public Lecture Series.

For Dickens beauty was both a problem and a solution. Whenever he tried to describe the beautiful, his plots shuddered to a halt and his characters turned into waxworks.

Yet this very difficulty also allowed him to investigate some of his most persistent concerns, from his attraction to the Sleeping Beauty myth to the relationship between romance and realism. This lecture explores Dickens's attempts to grapple with beauty across his career, and outlines one of the ways in which he tried to reconcile the demands of fiction with beauty's resistance to narrative: his adoption of the playful, wandering, digressive form defined by Hogarth as 'the line of beauty'.

Contact for more information about this event.