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Lectures and Seminars

At Durham University you'll find an extensive programme of public lectures and seminars. With an impressive line up of experts and renowned academics speaking on a myriad of topics, the aim is to share knowledge and encourage debate. Lectures on thought provoking subjects as diverse as history and astro-physics are aimed at a general audience and delivered at various locations across the University. Lectures in the Castle Public Lecture Series take place within the Great Hall of historic Durham Castle, while the Institute of Advanced Study hosts a year round programme of inter-disciplinary lectures. Our Museums offer public lectures to accompany exhibitions and events and our Colleges celebrate that they are scholary communities with series' such as Cafe Politique, Cafe Scientifique and Cafe des Arts.

Public lectures are free of charge and open to all.

Walpole, Burney, and the Tragedy of Incest

21st November 2017, 18:15 to 19:15, Elvet Riverside Room 141
Tercentenary Lectures: Horace Walpole and His Legacies
Find out how Horace Walpole's 'truly dreadful' drama inspired the work of the later writer, Frances Burney, at this free public lecture in our Walpole and His Legacies series. Join the conversation via #WalpoleLegacies.

When Frances Burney spotted Walpole’s Mysterious Mother among the Queen’s books in November 1786, she was delighted to be allowed to borrow it: ‘I had long desired to read it, from so well knowing, & so much liking the Author’ (The Court Journals and Letters of Frances Burney, Vol. 1: 1786). Having read it aloud, with a group of fellow courtiers, she professed herself disgusted, however: ‘Dreadful was the whole! truly dreadful! a story of so much horror, from attrocious and voluntary guilt, never did I hear!’ (CJL, 270). Yet despite her protestations, incest casts its shadow over Burney’s own works, and is key in the plot of her own first tragedy, Edwy and Elgiva. This lecture will explore Walpole’s and Burney’s differing approaches to this recurrent theme in eighteenth-century drama, suggesting its importance for the period’s shifting understanding of the purpose and impact of tragedy as a genre.

Image credit: Fanny Burney, by Edward Francisco Burney. National Portrait Gallery 2634. Reproduced under CC BY NC ND licence.

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