An interdisciplinary working paper series incorporating work from creative writing, film, television and literary studies, law and modern languages.
All welcome and encouraged to attend - RSVP to Marni Jackson to attend the seminars.
Presented by PHD Candidate Ben Matthews
Date: Wednesday 03 December
All Welcome! Please RSVP to Marni Jackson, email@example.com
to attend the seminar or receive a copy of the paper.
Past SeminarsHitchcock's Rebecca: Adaptation, Collaboration, and Authorship
Presented by David Boyd
Date: Wednesday 12 November
The great majority of Alfred Hitchcock's films were based on pre-existing works; all of them were produced in collaboration, often uneasy, with other film artists; and many of them were crucially reshaped in response to the demands of producers and censors. And yet most of them somehow end up recognizably, indeed unmistakably, 'Hitchcockian,' the work of the commercial cinema's most widely acknowledged 'auteur.' This paper explores the competing claims of adaptation, collaboration, and directorial authorship in the case of Hitchcock's film version of Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca.
David Boyd retired from the University of Newcastle in 2004 and is currently an Honorary Associate in the School of Humanities and Social Science. He is author of Film and the Interpretive Process, editor of Perspectives on Alfred Hitchcock, and co-editor, with R. Barton Palmer, of After Hitchcock: Influence, Imitation, and Intertextuality and of the forthcoming Hitchcock at the Source, in which this paper will appear.
All welcome! Please RSVP to Marni Jackson to attend the seminar.
Harry Potter and the Pampered Little Princes: Fantasy as the Journey to Reality in the Harry Potter series
Seminar presented by Dr Caroline Webb
Date: Wednesday 29 October
J.K. Rowling’s recently completed sequence of Harry Potter novels ends with the victory of Harry over not only his magical enemy, Lord Voldemort, but over death itself, in an apparent triumph of fantasy as escapism. However, Rowling’s novels read as a sequence do not in fact celebrate escape; rather, they compel the child reader to undergo vicarious suffering and experience moral discovery. The young reader, like Harry, moves through stages of awareness as the sequence progresses.
Rowling’s pedagogy of fantasy encodes this awareness not only through the increasingly confrontational developments within her novels. Rather, the novels themselves take on increasingly complex narrative structures. Familiar elements that readers anticipate in the early novels lose importance and the novels themselves gain troubling shapes, moving from the hyper-conventional mid-twentieth-century-style British school story (with added magic) of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the meandering and death-strewn final novel, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, in which the beloved safe house of Hogwarts features only as the scene for Armageddon. Moreover, in the course of the sequence the idolized figures of the early novels-the venerable Dumbledore, and especially Harry’s father James Potter-are revealed as possessing weaknesses for which they may be forgiven but that the reader must learn to resist. By the end of the sequence a more sophisticated pattern becomes clear: Rowling reveals the symbolic opposition between orphans and neglected boys like Tom Riddle, Severus Snape, and Harry himself, who must learn to develop a sense of self in response to a hostile world, and “pampered little princes” like Dudley Dursley or Harry’s father James, who can be arrogant with the confidence of their parents’ constant admiration. The moral value Rowling ascribes to Harry’s orphan status underlines her own eventual treatment of fantasy in children's literature not as pampering protection but as a stimulus to the moral imagination.
Dr Caroline Webb lectures at the Central Coast Campus of the University of Newcastle, Australia, where she is currently a Senior Lecturer in English. She specialises in study of the Modernist period in English literature and in contemporary fiction by women, and is particularly interested in speculative fiction including fantasy and magic realism. She has published articles on works by Virginia Woolf, James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, A.S. Byatt, Janette Turner Hospital, and Terry Pratchett. She is currently working on a study of the British fantasy tradition and its relationship to British postmodern fiction.
Nature Writing in the U.S. and Japan: A Comparison
Presented by Visiting Professor Mayumi Kurosaki
Date: Wednesday 08 October
What is nature writing? It is a literary genre embracing essays on the wide range of topics related to nature. The literary term nature writing came into use in the beginning of the twentieth century. It has an inclination to turn people's attention toward nature and to awaken their awareness of the ways of living with and in nature. It has three dimensions according to Thomas J. Lyon's well-known taxonomy of it: "natural history information, personal responses to nature, and philosophical interpretation of nature." The present paper purports to be a comparative analysis tracing the respective growth of each and introducing some of the major works of each.
Mayumi Kurosaki received her BA and MA, and completed a doctoral program at Tsuda College, Tokyo, Japan. She has been interested in an interdisciplinary approach to the study of U.S. culture with an emphasis on the nineteenth century fiction (writings of Nathaniel Hawthorne in particular). Recently she has been working on nature writing.
Since joining the faculty of Shohoku College, Sony Institute of Higher Education, in Kanagawa, Japan, she served as Head of Department of Business Administration and Communication from 2002-2006 and is currently Dean of Student Affairs, Director of Global Communication Center and Member of the Board of Trustees. She directed two projects, "Multi-faceted Development of Practical Education on International Exchange Programs" (2004) and “Program to Build a Framework for Facilitating Students' Study Initiative" (2007), both of which were awarded the “commendable research grants” by the Japanese Ministry of Education. The latter project grew out of the close relationship Shohoku College held with the University of Newcastle.
Mayumi Kurosaki is also actively involved in the activities of Atsugi City Goodwill Exchange Committee as Vice-Chairman.
Style, statistics, and the post-Romantic subjectivist author
Presented by Professor Hugh Craig
Wednesday 17 September
In the paper I will tackle the question of whether the fact that computational stylistics can now tell authors' styles apart with a good degree of accuracy and down to reasonably small samples and if this should make us rethink the idea that individuality in authorship is a naively post-Romantic and 'subjectivist' delusion.
In the last couple of decades scholars in early modern English drama have collected evidence that writing in that period was collaborative rather than individual, and truly intertextual rather than any sort of new creation. They have united that evidence with post-structuralist theories about the death of the author, and have concluded that seeking to attribute plays or parts of plays to particular authors is not only impossible but misguided.
The resistance to this view within the discipline has sometimes taken the form of ridicule and a determined return to long-cherished truisms. I will explore the possibilities for a 'progressive' new understanding of authorship which takes into account both the lessons of post-structuralist theory and the findings of computational stylistics.
Hugh Craig is Director of the Centre for Literary and Linguistic Computing at UoN and has been involved with computational stylistics since the late 1980s, when John Burrows' work gave him the idea that stylistics might help with finding an author for some disputed Renaissance drama texts. He has just finished a large collaborative project with Arthur Kinney of UMass at Amherst on Shakespearean authorship.
D. H. Lawrence and the Invasion of Iraq: Lawrence’s Neglected Poems, ‘Bits’, about a Neglected War
Presented by Dr Christopher Pollnitz
Wednesday 03 September
"All of Us" or "Bits" is a sequence of over thirty poems, based on Lawrence's translations of a collection of Egyptian folk songs. During World War I, Lawrence was unable to find a publisher for the sequence, which has never been published in full. His translations have been adapted to refer, more or less obscurely, to a number of the Eastern fronts or more obscure campaigns of the War. The paper discusses the annotating of sequence and the obscurity of the cultural equivalents that Lawrence makes use of in his adaptations.
Christopher Pollnitz lectures in English at the University of Newcastle is preparing the first critical edition of D. H. Lawrence's Poems for the Cambridge University Press series of Lawrence's Works.
Judicial Biography as Cultural Translation?
Presented by Katherine Lindsay
Curriculum Director, School of Law, Newcastle Law School
Wednesday 30 July
In a country like Australia where the tradition of judicial biography of superior court judges is sparse, the role of the biographer as translator of legal culture and shaper of judicial reputation is of great significance. In a broad sense, legal culture may be constructed as the amalgam and relationship between three key institutions and their mores: the legal academy, the legal profession and the courts. In Australia, the role of the second in stimulating (the lack of) judicial biography has far outweighed the role of the other two.
Professions, such as the legal profession, may have an interest in remaining arcane, removed and remote from the general community, but biography has an important role in the edification of the rarefied role in "doing justice according to law". Further, judicial biography has a role to play in both constructing and edifying the "personal dimension" of judging. This is particularly important in Australia where the social role of judging is rarely discussed, and arguably not well understood, in public discourse.
This paper seeks to explore the way in which judicial biographers might serve as translators through the use of three cases studies of former High Court judges, who are the subjects of existing biographies (although not necessarily "judicial biographies", a subject which will also be addressed in the paper).
'somewhere, Australia...': toward a new poetics of regionalism
Presented by Keri Glastonbury
Wednesday 18 June
This paper discusses the work of a young Australian poet, Derek Motion, who lives in the NSW regional city of Wagga Wagga, better known for its disproportionate number of sporting heroes.
Keri Glastonbury is a lecturer in Creative Writing at The University of Newcastle. She completed a Doctorate in Creative Arts at University of Technology, Sydney, in 2005. Her thesis, titled ‘Shut up nobody wants to hear your poems!’, staged a friendly title bout between painter Adam Cullen and poet Ted Nielsen, two grunge auteurs of her generation. She has published two books of poetry, Hygienic Lily (Five Islands Press, 1999) and super-regional (Vagabond, 2001), is an editor of the small publishing company, Local Consumption Publications (www.localconsumption.com) and poetry editor for Overland.
Retrieving the Exiled Reference: Fred Vargas’s Fetishisation of Ancient Legend
Presented by Alistair Rolls
Wednesday 28th May
Most of Dr Rolls' early work was based on the work of the French author of the 1940-50s, Boris Vian, and was primarily intertextual in approach. Dr Rolls' book on Vian - "The Flight of the Angels: Intertextuality in Four Novels by Boris Vian" - was published by Rodopi in 1999. Over the last few years Dr Rolls' analysis has gained recognition in France, and the majority of his work on Vian now is written for special editions of French journals.
More recently Dr Rolls' work has focussed on French noir fiction and its allegorical role in post-war France. This has involved the development of the theory of 'noiring' based on C19th prose poetics and Freudian fetishism; a book on the subject - "Dark Crossings: Repositioning French and American Noir" - is due to be published later this year by Palgrave Macmillan. Dr Rolls' 2006 article expounding this theory as a way of reading Peter Cheyney's impact in Paris in 1945 was awarded the VC's Award for Research Excellence (2007). Other areas of interest include Sartrean Existentialism, and especially the way in which it operates as a form of post-structuralism, and the way texts function as erotic bodies.
Beyond French Studies, Dr Rolls has also published articles on Robert Drewe (Southerly) and Raymond Carver (Literature and Aesthetics).
"A peculiar aesthetic”: Julia Leigh’s The Hunter and Sublime Loss
Presented by Scott Brewer
Wednesday 30 April
The thylacine Julia Leigh re-animates and pursues throughout her novel The Hunter was for some reviewers an inappropriate appropriation of a Tasmanian icon. Of course, strictly speaking, the extinct Tasmanian tiger is no longer Tasmanian at all. Leigh uncovers this metaphorisation of loss through the adoption of a sublime aesthetic, breaking down the circle of appropriations and exposing the radical finitude of extinction.
Scott Brewer is a postgraduate student at the University of Newcastle. He has interests in ecocriticism, literary theory, nature writing and anyone who could explain those things to him. Fittingly, since he has little of it, he is currently researching the problem of experience.
J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis: Religion, Friendship and Fantasy
Presented by Professor Edward James
Wednesday 09 April
Edward James is Professor of Medieval History at University College Dublin where his research interests cover Late Roman and early medieval history, esp. France and Britain; the history of the barbarians, particularly of the Franks, and the invasions of the Roman Empire; the writings of Gregory of Tours; the history of science fiction, fantasy, and utopian literature.
With Farah Mendlesohn, he edited The Cambridge Companion to Science Fiction (eds). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, which won the Hugo Award for the best non-fiction contribution to Science Fiction. He has also written on Terry Pratchett, Arthur C. Clarke and H.G. Wells and is currently researching J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis for the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to Fantasy which he is again editing with Farah Mendlesohn.