Tuesday, 14 April 2015, 6:00PM
Museum of London

Poetry & Remembrance: Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard

Professor Belinda Jack

There are two versions of Gray’s famous ‘Elegy written in a Country Churchyard’. They are both about how we may be remembered, a thought that often comes to us when we’re in a graveyard reading gravestones. But the poem is also about more common experiences, of isolation, of family, of ambition. Why did Gray write two versions?

 

speaker_belindajack2.jpg.crop_display.jpg

Belinda Jack is Fellow and Tutor in French at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She features regularly in the press and media thanks to the popularity and insight of her published works, including books such as The Woman Reader, George Sand: A Woman’s Life Writ Large and Negritude and Literary Criticism: The History and Theory of "Negro-African" Literature in French.

Professor Jack obtained her D.Phil. in Negritude and Literary Criticism at St John’s College, University of Oxford in 1989, having earlier obtained a degree in French with African and Caribbean Studies from the University of Kent. Her academic career over the past twenty years has been at Christ Church, University of Oxford, where she is an ‘Official Student’ (Fellow and Member of the Governing Body) and Tutor in French. Her main interest lies in French literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

As well as her five books, Professor Jack is widely published through her many articles, essays, chapters and reviews. Her recent articles and reviews have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Literary Review, Times Literary Supplement, Times Higher Education Supplement, BBC History Magazine and Littérature. She is a regular on the BBC and international radio and television, as well as a frequent speaker at literary festivals throughout the British Isles and beyond.

In 2013 Professor Jack was appointed the Gresham Professor of Rhetoric. In her first year of appointment, her Gresham College lectures were on The Mysteries of Reading and Writing. She writes of her appointment and the series:

“Reading is a subject which has long fascinated me, not least because of my role in teaching undergraduate students to read ‘difficult’ literature with the greatest attention to detail, structure and internal connections. My most recent book, The Woman Reader, is a history of women’s reading from ancient times to the present day, and the writing of it deepened my interest in the subject of reading more generally. My Gresham lectures will draw on some of the material on which I based my book, including material that I didn’t have space to treat, and on the research I am currently undertaking. My primary aim will be to encourage informed reading of a wide range of material, which will make us reconsider literature, ourselves and the society in which we live.”

In 2015/16, Professor Jack continues her professorship with her third lecture series entitled The Mysteries of Writing Poems and Plays.

Professor Jack's previous lecture series' are as follows:

2014/15 The Mysteries of Writing Novels and Poems
2013/14 The Mysteries of Reading and Writing

All of Professor Jack's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

Current Gresham Professor of Rhetoric

Read More
Read Less

Transcript

14 April 2015

Poetry & Remembrance: Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
Professor Belinda Jack

View PDF
Print
Related Past Lectures
WATCHED

From Mr Pickwick to Tiny Tim - Charles Dickens and Medicine

Dr Nicholas Cambridge
Tuesday, 30 May 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson, Metaphor and its Philosophical Mysteries

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 9 May 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Poetry of Robert Frost, The Power and Intrigue of Simile

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 11 April 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Value of Heritage and the Heritage of Value

Simon Thurley CBE
Wednesday, 8 March 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and Poetic Technique

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Affairs of the Heart: An Exploration of the Symbolism of the Heart in Art

Professor Martin Elliott
Tuesday, 14 February 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson, Metaphor and its Philosophical Mysteries

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 9 May 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Poetry of Robert Frost, The Power and Intrigue of Simile

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 11 April 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Samuel Taylor Coleridge's 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and Poetic Technique

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 21 February 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Shakespeare's Sonnets and the Use of Personification

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 24 January 2017 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Charles Dickens, 'Hard Times' and Hyperbole

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 15 November 2016 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Jane Austen, 'Persuasion': Irony and the Mysterious Vagaries of Narrative

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 11 October 2016 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

Poetry & Immortality: John Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale'

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 12 May 2015 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Novel & Psychology: Edith Wharton's 'The Age of Innocence'

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 24 February 2015 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Novel & Idealism: George Sand's 'Francois le champi' (The Country Waif)

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 27 January 2015 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Novel as Political History: Stendhal's 'Le rouge et le noir'

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 25 November 2014 - 6:00PM
WATCHED
Part of a series

The Novel & Morality: Samuel Johnson's 'Rasselas'

Professor Belinda Jack
Tuesday, 14 October 2014 - 6:00PM
WATCHED

Why Is Sir Walter Scott Not In Popular Culture Today?

Dr Juliet Shields
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 1:59PM
WATCHED

The English Image of Scotland Prior to Sir Walter Scott's Writing

Dr Juliet Shields
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 1:58PM
WATCHED

Sir Walter Scott's Involvement In King George IV Visiting Scotland

Dr Juliet Shields
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 1:56PM
WATCHED

Was Your View Of Scotland Different Depending On Where You Were From?

Dr Juliet Shields
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 - 1:55PM
WATCHED

What Do You Think More's Intention Was In Writing 'Utopia'?

Dr Richard Serjeantson
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 - 6:59PM
WATCHED

Was There A Reaction From The Crown And Aristocracy In Response to 'Utopia'?

Dr Richard Serjeantson
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 - 6:57PM