The Middle Modernity Group is pleased to announce Professor David Brewer’s upcoming talk, “The Importance of Being Inhuman.” We hope to see you on Thursday, March 6th at 4:00 p.m. in Helen C. White 7191 for this exciting event. Below, you will find a more detailed description of Professor Brewer’s lecture:
This talk will explore the ways in which, in the eighteenth century, authors were routinely and widely treated as if they were something other than fully human, and how this treatment, far from being a moral outrage, was what enabled the literary world to function. I propose that these attempts to impute alternate forms of personhood to writers can serve as a sort of vernacular theory which lays bare the underlying presumptions, structures, and proclivities of eighteenth-century literary culture as a whole.
The Middle Modernity Group is pleased to announce Professor Elsie Michie’s upcoming talk, “The Trollopes’ Serial Family Plots.” We hope to see you on Thursday, November 14 at 4:00 p.m. in Helen C. White 7191 for this exciting event. Below, you will find a more detailed description of Professor Michie’s lecture:
|This lecture argues that when read as a series Frances Trollope’s One Fault (1840) and Anthony Trollope’s He Knew He Was Right (1869) allow us to grasp key shifts in the conception of human relations and identity that took place in the middle decades of the nineteenth-century. Both novels depict the collapse of a marriage, where questions of dominance and submission fracture the possibility of harmonious relations between husband and wife. Both also reference Reform Acts, Frances’s that of 1832, Anthony’s that of 1864. If we read these novels serially, rather than through the more familiar model of influence, we see the terms that appear in one reflected and transformed in the other. As the titles of the two suggest, Frances’s novel makes visible the emphasis on faults in Anthony’s, and his makes visible the emphasis on rights in hers. Read as iterations of each other, the two allow us to trace the shifts that took place in legal thinking about matrimonial cruelty and psychological responsibility over the middle decades of the nineteenth century and to link that narrative about marriage, so central to the Victorian novel, to the evolving discourse about human rights associated with reform.
The Middle Modernity Group is looking forward to the exciting year ahead of us! Our plans include a faculty panel on the impact of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century studies in various public debates. In addition, we have a wonderful lineup of speakers who will visit our campus in the fall and spring semesters. Check back in the near future for news about these and other events.
And please join us on Wednesday, September 11 for our kickoff meet-and-greet! (Details can be found on our Events Calendar.)