2 May 2012

Inventions of the Text: Texts in Progress
Please join us for the second Easter Term seminar in the series:
Parental Stories in Dickens's Great Expectations
Professor Rachel Bowlby

Wednesday, 9th May
5:00 – 6:30 pm
Department of English Studies, Hallgarth House Seminar Room

Parenthood is a neglected topic in comparison with other elemental attachments (the passions of childhood or erotic love). But recent radical changes in typical family forms and in procreative possibilities (new reproductive technologies) expose the mutability and multiplicity of 'parentalities', creating new kinds of parental story and new questions about parenthood. Why do people want (or not want) to be parents? How has the 'choice' enabled by contraception changed the meaning of parenthood? Today, the positive choice to seek and have a child as a matter of personal fulfilment is accepted as valid for men as well as women, individuals as well as couples. But there are also antecedents to the contemporary orientation, sometimes in classical
texts where the parental story has up till now been side-lined. This lecture will look at one example of this phenomenon, Dickens's Great Expectations.

Professor Rachel Bowlby is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Northcliffe Professor of English at UCL. She has been awarded a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship from 2011-13.Since Just Looking, which was about novels about women and the culture of department stores, Rachel Bowlby has written several more books on consumer culture, including Carried Away: The Invention of Modern Shopping, about the history of self-service and supermarkets. Shopping with Freud explored some connections between psychoanalysis and consumer psychology, a field of research that began at the same time as psychoanalysis. Two more books have also looked at changing psychological and literary notions of selfhood: Still Crazy After All These Years: Women, Writing and Psychoanalysis and, most recently, Freudian Mythologies: Greek Tragedy and Modern Identities. She also has a long-standing interest in literary theory, and has translated a number of books by contemporary French philosophers, including Derrida’s Of Hospitality and Paper Machine.
23 May: John Clegg (Durham University) and Kaja Marczewska (Durham University)
30 May: Professor Jonathan Hart (Durham University)
6 June: Dr Sarah Wasson (Edinburgh Napier University)
For more information, find us on facebook, follow us on Twitter (@inventionsSem) or check our blog: inventionsofthetext.blogspot.com

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