In the last ten years of his life Charles Dickens related to his adoring public in a number of different ways; as novelist, as journalist, as public speaker, and in public readings of his own work. This lecture explores the contrast between the public image and the private life, considering what his writings reveal to us about his deepest preoccupations, both as man and as artist, during this period.
This illustrated lecture marks 150 years since Dickens’s death by reflecting on the nature of his creative genius and his legacy. It examines the theatrical performance of Dickens’s public readings in relation to his writing practices, and suggests how this gives us an insight into his creative processes as well as the close relationship he forged with his public -- a relationship which, as he said, was ‘personally affectionate and like no other man’s’.
A Christmas Carol (1843) is the most filmed and televised of Dickens' works. Many will warmly remember the 1951 Alastair Sim version, but how many are aware of A Carol for Another Christmas (1964), a propaganda film produced in support of the UN, or The Passions of Carol (1975), which attempted to highlight the evil of the pornography industry? How do the different versions reflect the politics and culture of their own particular times? What makes a good Carol movie? Is it truth to the original or is it something else?
Download the lecture video hereFULBRIGHT LECTURE What’s in a shadow? Danger and death? Or the vital life-force of whatever object casts it? Are shadows seductive nothings or truth-telling images of repressed sexuality and violence? Starting with literary examples from Dickens, this lecture will untangle the complexity of shadow-meaning by exploring how artists have used shadows since ancient times. Works by Van Eyck, Masaccio, Leonardo, Munch, Picasso, Sargent, Hopper, and many others will be discussed.
Download the lecture video hereCharles Dickens's expert eye for detail enabled him to describe many medical conditions in his writings. He supported hospitals, children's welfare, public health and the rehabilitation of prostitutes. Through his Journals and lectures he was able to reach out to the population at large and campaign on all of these issues. Dickens also suffered with a number of medical conditions which will be discussed in detail during the lecture.
Download the lecture video here'When well-appareled April on the heel/ Of limping winter treads'. A calendar month cannot dress, nor can a season walk.This lecture will explore the magic of personification in Shakespeare's poetry.
Download the lecture video hereWalter Scott’s phenomenally popular novels and poems created an image of Scotland as a land of sublime scenery and heroic chivalry. Why is it Scott’s version rather than any of the many other nineteenth-century literary representations of Scotland that has endured in the popular imagination? This lecture will explain why Scott’s romanticised representations of Scotland were such a hit, and how his enduring legacy has helped or hindered Scotland as it seeks to define its place in Britain today.FULBRIGHT LECTURE
Download the lecture video hereDickens is often credited with virtually inventing Christmas as we now know it and is in any case strongly identified with this festival. This is primarily owing to the immense and enduring popularity of his first ‘Christmas Book’, A Christmas Carol. In Prose (1843), but his subsequent seasonal offerings during the following quarter-century also contributed to this result. In this lecture I shall be looking at both contemporary and later responses to Dickens’s Christmas writings, and considering the extent to which he can be seen as the creator of the modern Christmas.
Download the lecture video hereDickens' use of exaggeration is key to his style. But its use has myriad effects from making a character's disposition unmissable, to adding whimsy and humour.
Download the lecture video hereLondon at one time was the largest port and industrial city in the world. Bermondsey, Deptford, Blackwall and Greenwich were all major centres for shipbuilding. This lecture will look at the industrial river and consider the changing needs of shipping with the transition from sail to steam and its impact on London as a port.