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Durham University

Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Venice Public Lecture - 'Who clipped the lion's wings/ And flea'd his rump and pared his claws?': The myth of Venice in the decline of Eliot and Pound

8th March 2010, 18:15 to 19:30, Room 201, Elvet Riverside, Dr Jason Harding

This is the ninth and final lecture in the 'Venice and Cultural Imagination' public lecture series.

Venice figures in the poetry of T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound as a dynamic yet controversial topos for their literary imaginations. In these two poets, Venice is encountered as a labyrinth of memories - both from literature and from life - and of scenery intensely felt rather than drawn from precise historical knowledge. Both seek to perpetuate a myth of Venice's moral and cultural fall into decline, which serves as a powerful rebuke to the perceived decadence of modern civilization. 

This lecture series focuses on the city's representation in painting, music and literature since 1800. The period is one in which Venice's trading heyday had long since vanished; a byword for lost liberty under Austrian rule, it becomes the subject of elegiac broodings on fallen greatness, but also a place in which masqued revelry, carnival, licence, and dissolutions of normal perspectives still abide as possibilities. In the period, Venice becomes a playground for the imagination, but one in which the playful and the serious, aesthetics and history, entwine.

For more information about the series please visit:

This public lecture is free and open to all to attend.

Contact m.s.o';; for more information about this event.