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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

IAS Fellow's Seminar - Romanticism and Early Photography: Painting Literature with Light

14th October 2013, 13:00 to 14:00, IAS Seminar Room, Cosin's Hall, Palace Green, Professor Tom Mole

Abstract: For most cultural historians, photography came into being just as Romanticism passed away. But in this seminar Professor Tom Mole will suggest that, even as it represented the cutting edge of new technology, early photography struggled to remediate its Romantic heritage. While Romantic poetry conventionally looked to nature for inspiration, early photography seemed to make nature the agent of its own representation, as the title of William Henry Fox Talbot’s The Pencil of Nature made clear. Light was the vehicle of that agency, and early photographers often spoke in terms of “painting with light”. By examining several examples of the encounter between photography and Romantic literature in the nineteenth century, he will raise questions about the possibility of an intermedial reception history that challenges some of the disciplinary protocols of literary studies and offers new ways of thinking about media change.

Fellows' seminars take place on Monday lunchtimes in the seminar room at Cosin's Hall.

Places are limited and so any academic colleagues interested in attending a seminar should contact the Institute in advance to reserve a place.

The aim of these seminars is to develop new thinking on the big issues that are of current concern/interest for the Fellows . Each Fellow is asked to present a core idea that informs their current work, or a problem that they are tackling, that could benefit from cross-disciplinary thinking. These seminars are informal and designed to encourage discussion.

Contact for more information about this event.