Avid readers of novels know that they often take the perspective of the characters they read about. But just how far does this mental role-playing go? A new paper in the Journal of Memory and Language has provided a clever demonstration of how readily we simulate the thoughts of fictional characters.
Dame Hilary Mantel is roughly half way through her Reith Lectures on BBC Radio 4. Best known for her Tudor novels Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies (both of which won the Man Booker Prize) Mantel reflects on the nature of historical fiction and whether the genre requires special defense.
The podcasts of the lectures and their transcripts can be found here. Students will be unsuprised to learn that this talented author has Irish roots.
Thinking like a scientist is really hard, even for scientists. It requires putting aside your own prior beliefs, evaluating the quality and meaning of the evidence before you, and weighing it in the context of earlier findings. But parking your own agenda and staying objective is not the human way.
One of the things that this article warns about is the seduction of anecdotal evidence. I’ll give some of that now.
It seems to me that some students treat simple texts as if they were simplistic and obvious. A text that offers a quick interpretation is often more poorly analysed than an obviously challenging one. Parts of courses (or instructions) that seem clear are often ignored.
Lilian Tabois, one of our graduates (MA, 2011), but better known to current students for having taught as a docent for part of this academic year, will leave for the University of York in the summer. She has been awarded a PhD scholarship for a dissertation on historiography and travel in British women’s writing between 1780 and 1845. We wish her the best of luck in returning to full-time study.
The Deep Blue Sea by Terence Rattigan
Der Aa Theater, 22-24 June
TICKETS | €7 for students, €9 for non-students
GUTS brings Terence Rattigan’s heart-wrenching and most-celebrated play to the Groningen stage. The Deep Blue Sea, set in England in the 1950s, highlights the struggles and despair of a failed marriage, of infidelity and in particular the question of identity with brutal and raw honesty.
The cast & crew include several current or past members of the English department. Cast: Pleun van Engelen (Hester Collyer), James Robert Lyon (Freddie Page), Emmet Godfrey (William Collyer), Elsemiek Hes (Mrs Elton), Johan Stapert (Mr Miller), Aubrey Williams (Philip Welch), Femke Nagelhout (Ann Welch), and Samuel Stevens (Jackie Jackson). Crew: Melissa Rolink, Jan Hein Dikkers, Marjon Vosmeijer, and Berber Aardema.
Bob Dylan has delivered his Nobel Prize speech just in time to collect the prize money. He has conveniently (for our first year course on literary contexts) demonstrated the ongoing influence of Classical literature in his references to The Odyssey. He also refers to Moby Dick and John Donne.
For coverage of links to a text file or an audio file of the speech see www.nobelprize.org
A photo of Shakespeare’s Globe (with some barely discernable students) from the recent ‘Shakespeare at Stratford’ course run by Dr Jansen. Participants saw the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Antony & Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and a specially commissioned new play, Vice Versa (inspired by Roman comedy) at Stratford-Upon-Avon, before travelling to London to see Twelfth Night at the Globe.
Total sales of print and digital books and journals climbed 7% to £4.8bn last year, the largest growth since 2007 when digital sales were first included.
Looking purely at the book market total sales rose 6% to £3.5bn, as an 8% rise in print sales outweighed the 3% decline in ebook sales.
Overall digital sales grew 6% to £1.7bn, with academic, professional and educational journals outstripping the fall in ebooks, to account for 35% of total revenues.
Thanks to Brian for pointing this out.
Friday saw the launch at the department of Karin Olsen’s Conceptualizing the Enemy in Early Northwest Europe: Metaphors of Conflict and Alterity in Anglo-Saxon, Old Norse, and Early Irish Poetry (Brepols).
This volume provides the first comparative analysis to explore conceptions of conflict and otherness in the literary and cultural contexts of the early North Sea world by investigating the use of metaphor in Old English, Old Norse, and Early Irish poetry. Applying Conceptual Metaphor Theory together with literary and anthropological analysis, the study examines metaphors of conflict and alterity in a range of (pseudo-)mythological, heroic, and occasional poetry, including Beowulf, Old Norse skaldic and eddic verse, and poems from the celebrated ‘Ulster Cycle’. (Publisher)