Reimagining the Witness in the Eternal City: Who is the Last of the Cencis?

By Ioli Andreadi, theatre director and Visiting Research Fellow

A group of Italian journalists enter the rehearsal room, interrupting the rehearsal in order to have a look at the space. The three actors – Miltiadis Fiorentzis, Eleana Kafkala and Maria Proistaki – the set designer, Dimitra Liakoura, and I stop because the reading of the play requires quiet and solitude. One of the journalists asks us what play we are working on and we reply. He says: “Ah! The Cenci family is Italian and I happen to know the family’s last descendant. Franco Cenci is my friend. He is an artist whose work is inspired by his family.” I ask him whether he could introduce me to him. I write down my e-mail address on a piece of paper, using big letters, to make sure there’s no misunderstanding. He promises to introduce us. The group leaves. The rehearsal continues.

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Ruth Padel drafts ‘Capoeira Boy’

An open drafting process of ‘Capoeira Boy’ from Ruth Padel’s collection, Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth (Chatto, 2014).

Introduction

by Penny Newell

Sometimes poetry mutters, sometimes it sings, oftentimes it catches our eye and looks. There’s a line from a poem of Ruth Padel’s collection, Learning to Make an Oud in Nazareth (Chatto, 2014), which manages all three. It runs: ‘I am looking too hard, or this scene is looking too hard/ at me.’

You need only read the commentary below to realise that here we overhear the poet muttering to herself, pen and notebook in hand. Yet we also hear a clue to the song that Padel plays on the oud. The oud is both the instrument, and perhaps a Middle Eastern homonym of the ode (from the Greek αοίδη [aoide], ‘a song’). The oud is a solemn song, sung by a chorus of CNN, Youtube and eBay, refugee camps and tanks. Last week, Jo McDonagh and Rowan Boyson asked ‘How might the humanities contribute to an understanding of the current refugee ‘crisis’?’ Padel’s poetry is alive to this question. The poems of this collection catch our eye with it, and let it look at us hard.

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Research Hour: Refugees and Migrants

By Prof. Josephine McDonagh, Professor of Nineteenth Century Literature and Dr Rowan Boyson, Lecturer in English Literature

How might the humanities contribute to an understanding of the current refugee ‘crisis’?   That was the general question that generated the informal session of staff and researchers in the English Department held on 10th February, 2016.

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Awash with colour in Western Norway

By Frances Carey, Visiting Senior Research Fellow, English Department, and co-curator of Painting Norway. Nikolai Astrup 1880-1928, Dulwich Picture Gallery 5 February to 15 May 2016.

An elephant’s gestation is ‘but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night’ compared with that required for most museum exhibitions. The one just opened at Dulwich Picture Gallery was not even a twinkle in anyone’s eye at the seminar I was invited to join four years ago in Bergen, to consider how to raise the international profile of Nikolai Astrup.

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King’s Shakespeare Festival: What You Will

February 13-14th saw the launch of a festival celebrating 400 years of Shakespeare’s legacy. King’s College London are part of this year-long series of cultural events called Shakespeare 400.

In this video director of the London Shakespeare Centre, Professor Gordon McMullan and English department scholars Dr Emma Whipday and Dr Elizabeth Scott-Baumann talk about the festival and their involvement.

Click here to book tickets.