by Clare Pettitt, Professor of Nineteenth Century Literature and Culture, King’s College London
Domestic violence, alcoholism, child abuse, neglect, sexual obsession and torture: Emily Brontë’s 1847 novel Wuthering Heights is nothing if not graphic in its depiction of the messy, frightening and chaotic lives of unhappy families. No wonder critics at the time were repelled by its “shocking pictures of the worst forms of humanity” and its “details of cruelty, inhumanity, and the most diabolical hate and vengeance.” But the women in the novel, trapped in these toxic, inter-generational cycles of abuse, are not passive but remain resolute and resistant.
“Whether it is right or advisable to create things like Heathcliff, I do not know,” wrote Charlotte Brontë in her apologetic preface to the 1850 posthumous edition of her sister’s novel. But despite her misgivings, Heathcliff remains one of the most memorable and enduring characters in Victorian literature.
Continue reading Emily Brontë’s fierce, flawed women
by Fran Allfrey, LAHP-AHRC PhD candidate, and Beth Whalley, Rick Trainor Scholarship and Canal & River Trust PhD candidate.
This year’s theme for International Women’s Day was ‘Press for Progress’. The campaign focused on the reality that gender parity – which the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report projects as being over 200 years away – cannot happen without organised and inclusive collective action. The theme got us thinking about the ways that our own discipline, medieval studies, intersects with feminist activism, and the ways that medievalists might be able to participate meaningfully in these conversations. And so, on the 28th March, supported by LAHP and King’s Centre for Late Antique and Medieval Studies, we held a two-part event to celebrate medieval women and women in medieval studies.
Part 1: The Wikithon
The first part of our event was a ‘Medieval Women, Modern Readers’ Wikithon, which aimed to improve references to scholarly work by women and non-binary people in articles related to medieval studies, and to create and improve pages for women and non-binary medieval scholars and artists who study or remake medieval texts, objects, or themes.
Continue reading The long read: Medieval Women, Modern Readers
By Diya Gupta, PhD researcher, Department of English – find her here.
“Choti yeh hai teri saanp ki hi lehar Dogana
Khati hun tere vaste main zahar Dogana
(This plait of yours is the wave of a serpent, Dogana
I take poison because of you, Dogana)”
– Lines from nineteenth-century Urdu Rekhti poet Insha Allah Khan
What do we know about the representation of same-sex romantic and sexual relations in early nineteenth-century north India? And how does this relate to the transnational realm of early twentieth-century democratic thought? A postcolonial conversation on recent publications by two outstanding postcolonial scholars revealed how love and desire, revolutionary ethics and aesthetics, connect these two worlds in the final King’s in Conversation with series for 2015/16.
Continue reading Loving, Living and Resisting: a Postcolonial Conversation
St James’s Square in 1753
Coloured engraving by T Bowles
(Mayson Beaton Collection, English Heritage)
Continue reading The Political Day in Georgian London
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
By Catriona Livingstone, PhD student in English Literature.
One of KCL’s most famous alumni has returned to the college, taking up ‘a room of her own’ in the lobby of the building named in her honour.
‘Wax Virginia’, a work by sculptor Eleanor Crook, was unveiled – or ‘unleashed’ – on Wednesday evening, at an exciting event organised by Professor Clare Brant, co-director of the Centre for Life-Writing Research at King’s, and well-attended by staff, students, and other Woolfish enthusiasts. The sculpture is the result of over 120 hours of work and careful research – Crook studied photographs of Woolf in order to trace the changes in her face over time and to select the particular moment – and emotion – which she wanted her sculpture of Woolf to occupy. Continue reading Wax Virginia