A Scratch ‘n’ sniff Ulysses

by Dr Jon Day

One of the loneliest things about life online, I’ve found, is that it denies us the full sensory range of human interaction. In lockdown I realised how much I missed not only seeing and hearing other people (sensory modes which Zoom can just about convey, even if unsatisfyingly) but how much I missed touching and even smelling other people.

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Insight: #AbolitionistCurriculum

Jon Ward and Rafael Lubner will be discussing #AbolitionistCurriculum at the English Department Virtual Research Hour on November 11th, 12.30 – 1.30. In this blog post the pair reflect on how the curriculum embraces Blackness and resists the structures of exclusion within ‘The University’ environment.

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Thinking in Crisis Times

Thinking in Crisis Times: A Collective Exploration by the English Department 2020-21
 
The shift to online learning this year, however partial or temporary, presents a tremendous change in teaching and learning in our department. Because these changes are both profound and at the moment unavoidable, they have raised countless urgent and pragmatic questions for everyone involved. Staff have spent months in the lead up to September 2020 thinking about the best way to use the online systems provided by KCL, and students will have spent time grappling with their own questions about online learning, not least the way it will affect their university experience and long-term future.

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Serial Forms

By Clare Pettitt, Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture at King’s College London

The 5th of June 1846 was a boiling hot day. It was so hot that Elizabeth Barrett, soon to become Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ‘could do nothing but lie on the sofa and drink lemonade and read Monte Cristo’. She wrote to Robert Browning that she had started ‘“Le Comte de Monte Cristo,” the new book by Dumas, (observe how I waste my time . . .) & really he amuses me . . . six volumes I am glad to see.’ She was not alone: Dumas’s newspaper novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, was everywhere that year. It was running in various languages in serial magazines and abridged in the cheap penny papers across Europe and America. Ralph Waldo Emerson remembered “falling back” on long serial novels by Dumas and Dickens on his voyage to Europe from America in 1847. Dickens’s new novel Dombey and Son was coming out between October 1846 and April 1848 and was eagerly consumed by the literate and semi-literate alike. In the 1840s, then, the print serial had begun to cross languages, countries, classes, and genders. The form was creating new international readerships and a new rhythm of reading.

Alexandre Dumas photographed in 1855 by Nadar. His proto-revolutionary The Count of Monte Cristo showed how seriality could be put to revolutionary use and proved remarkably prophetic.

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