8 January 2012

First Epiphany Term talk!

Reading Barmaids
 Dr Katy Mullin
University of Leeds
25th January 2012
5:00 – 6:30 pm
Department of English Studies, 
Hallgarth House Seminar Room

'Reading Barmaids' will show how the barmaid became defined as a new sexual persona in the closing decades of the nineteenth century. It will argue that barmaids became key signifiers of modernity, and that their status informed a number of canonical novels which contributed to debates around the art of fiction. These are George Gissing's The Nether World (1889), George Moore's Esther Waters (1894), Thomas Hardy's Jude the Obscure (1895) and, a generation later, James Joyce's Ulysses (1922).
I will argue that barmaid characters in these novels respond, in oblique and intriguing ways, to the challenges of censorship.

Katy Mullin teaches Victorian and Modern literature at the University of Leeds. Her book, James Joyce, Sexuality and Social Purity, came out from Cambridge University Press in 2003. She is currently working towards her second book, Working Girls: Literature, Labour and Sexuality, which explores literary and cultural representations of barmaids, shop-girls, typists and telegraphists between 1880 and 1920.

Forthcoming seminars in the series will feature talks by Professor Laura Marcus (University of Oxford), Dr Sarah Wasson (Edinburgh Napier University), Professor Rachel Bowlby (UCL) and Dr Peter Howarth (Queen Mary, University of London).

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