Buried Treasure (or not) at Sutton Hoo

By Fran Allfrey, LAHP/AHRC-funded PhD student in the English Department

‘The traveller to Sutton Hoo must make two kinds of journey: one in reality and one in the imagination. The destination of the real journey is a small group of grassy mounds lying beside the River Deben in south-east England. The imaginative journey visits a world of warrior-kings, large open boats, jewelled weapons, ritual killing and the politics of independence’

Martin Carver, Sutton Hoo: Burial Ground of Kings?

The travel gods were against us. The trip to Sutton Hoo, Suffolk, usually takes about two hours from London. But on this day in March, our journey took over three hours and involved a ride to the end of the London Underground, a coach, two trains, and a twenty-minute trudge uphill.

Continue reading Buried Treasure (or not) at Sutton Hoo

Currents of Intimacy: Performance Lab

By Sylvia Solakidi, student on the MA in Theatre and Performance

On November 30th 2015, performance projects developed by the students of Performance Lab – an MA module run in the English Department during the autumn term – were presented in the Anatomy Museum, Strand Campus. The module was taught by Dr Harriet Curtis as a workshop comprising performance-based activities, student-led practice and seminar discussions on, among other topics, aspects of intimacy in the work of influential performance artists that have attracted vivid scholarship during the last decade.

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The Wild Court Poetry Magazine

By Declan Ryan, Visiting Lecture in Poetry and Creative Writing

The idea for setting up the website which became wildcourt.co.uk was knocking around almost as soon as I came to teach at King’s in 2014.

I had previously run a reading series called Days of Roses out of which two anthologies and a supporting blog had developed. The hope was to bring Days of Roses in a new form into King’s, then develop it into a more international, wide-ranging magazine and, in time, imprint. Continue reading The Wild Court Poetry Magazine

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.

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

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.

Continue reading Ruth Padel drafts ‘Capoeira Boy’

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.

Continue reading Research Hour: Refugees and Migrants

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.

Continue reading Awash with colour in Western Norway

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.

Echoes in Wax of Virginia Woolf

Introduction by Max Saunders, Professor of English and Director of the Arts and Humanities Research Institute (AHRI)

The idea for Wax Virginia was developed by Prof. Clare Brant, Co-Director of the Centre for Life-Writing Research, and Ruth Richardson, Visiting Research Fellow of the Centre, who both worked closely with the artist Eleanor Crook, on the design of the installation. The project is characteristic of the creativity and imagination they have brought to the Centre. At the unveiling during the Arts & Humanities Festival people were astounded by the way the sculpture transformed the lobby space. It was just what was needed to realise the presence of Arts & Humanities at 22 Kingsway.

Watch a time-lapse video of the artist Eleanor Crook producing the work,  then read more about the project in a post from Catriona Livingstone.

Sitting at a table in Berlin, thinking about Aretha Franklin

By Penny Newell, PhD student in the English Department

Ever since I attended one of Lois Weaver’s Long Tables on Live Art and Feminism, I have been paying a special attention to tables. Tables structure conversations. Tables anchor discoveries. Tables form communities. Tables ground critique.

In Weaver’s Long Table, the table is a centrepiece of a performed conversation, in which you can choose whether or not to participate. It’s an amazingly simple yet effective performance work. It makes you re-think your critical relationship with tables. It makes you ask: Who sits at my table? Who can sit at my table? Who listens? Who speaks? Continue reading Sitting at a table in Berlin, thinking about Aretha Franklin

From the Department of English at King's College London