There is perhaps no greater comfort nor reward granted by reading than resonance. It is an indescribable liberation to have our feelings corroborated; to sift through the works of writers centuries past and happen upon an unassuming strand of words that instantly articulates the inarticulable, that echoes an acute emotion lying dormant within. These discoveries serve as whispers through time, as a consoling hand-squeeze in the ether. In my first year studying on the Strand, Virginia Woolf’s 1930 essay Street Haunting: A London Adventure offered me this solace.
It’s been called one of the greatest literary discoveries of a generation: a hugely significant and previously unknown manuscript of John Donne’s poetry which was lost for years and found in a Suffolk country house in 2018 by Sotheby’s expert Gabriel Heaton. After disappearing from public view during all the confusion of 2020, the ‘Melford manuscript’ has now officially found a home at the British Library.
By Fran Allfrey, Strandlines assistant editor, English Dept alumna and Teaching Assistant
Strandlines is a life-writing and community history project, which takes the form of a website and linked Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. The project was set up by Professor Clare Brant, with a board of editors made up of colleagues inside and beyond King’s. I joined as Assistant Editor in spring 2019. With the new term just starting, Clare and I thought now was a good time to reflect on where Strandlines has been, and where it may go next! Continue reading Strandlines: lives on the Strand, past, present and creative
Six members of the King’s English Department have pulled together a list of the books, poems, and writing that have been inspiring them during lockdown.
This post was originally posted on Between the Acts, a space for writing by students of the Faculty of Arts & Humanities, and shared via the Offer Holder Hub by Ellen Englefield and Hannah Hungerford.
by Charlotte Jones, Teaching Fellow in Victorian and Modern Literature at King’s College London
“Going where it is possible to go would not be a displacement or a decision, it would be the irresponsible unfolding of a program. The sole decision possible passes through the madness of the undecidable and the impossible: to go where (wo, Ort, Wort) it is impossible to go.”
Derrida, On the Name (Stanford UP, 1995), 50.
In one of the most durably useful of all modernist expressions of the value of novelty, Ezra Pound called on art to “make it new”. Putting aside the fact that Pound’s slogan was itself the product of historical recycling – the source is probably an anecdote about Ch’eng T’ang (Tching-thang, Tching Tang), first king of the Shang dynasty (1766–1753 BC), who was said to have a washbasin inscribed with this inspirational motto – these three words are commonly recited as the epitome of what modernism stands for: rupture, revolution, innovation, defamiliarisation, the logic of creativity-in-destruction that fortifies the avant-garde.