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Great Writers Inspire

PLEASE NOTE: The 'Great Writers Inspire' project has its own website which features much more extensive, diverse and updated content. Please visit https://writersinspires.orgFrom Dickens to Shakespeare, from Chaucer to Kipling and from Austen to Blake, this significant collection contains inspirational short talks freely available to the public and the education community worldwide. This series is aimed primarily at first year undergraduates but will be of interest to school students preparing for university and anyone who would like to know more about the world's great writers. The talks were produced as part of the Great Writers Inspire Project which makes a significant body of material freely available on the subject of great works of literature and their authors. Visit https://writersinspire.org/ to see how great writers can inspire you.

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Katherine Mansfield and Rhythm Magazine

Dr Faith Binckes explains why modernist short story writer and critic Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) is a great writer, highlighting her involvement with the 1911-1913 periodical Rhythm, edited by her second husband John Middleton Murry. Dr Binckes discusses how three stories from 1912 - 'The Woman at the Store', 'How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped', and 'Sunday Lunch' - illustrate different facets of Mansfield's writing. Though she has in the past been considered a domestic writer of women's and children's concerns, these earlier versions of stories play with a colonial New Zealand setting (later written out), deal with fairytale and race, and poke fun at the London literati, respectively. Katherine Mansfield was originally from New Zealand but came to London in 1903. She was a prolific story writer, whose talent made Virginia Woolf envious. Mansfield's two best known collections are Bliss and Other Stories (1920) and The Garden Party and Other Stories (1922). Mansfield died in January, 1923 of pulmonary tuberculosis. Dr Binckes' podcast focuses on Mansfield's early involvement with Rhythm, which she wrote for under a number of pseudonyms, supported financially, and edited. Dr. Binckes discusses how three stories from 1912 - 'The Woman at the Store', 'How Pearl Button Was Kidnapped', and 'Sunday Lunch' - illustrate different facets of Mansfield's writing. Though she has in the past often been considered a domestic writer of women's and children's concerns, these earlier versions of stories play with a colonial New Zealand setting, deal with fairytale and race, and poke fun at the London literati, respectively. Mansfield's use of New Zealand is especially interesting in these early stories, as these details were often written out when the stories were published in book form. The periodical versions thus allow the reader to experience Mansfield's original intentions for her stories.

20mins

7 Feb 2012

Rank #1

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Jonathan Swift and the Art of Undressing

Dr Abigail Williams gives a talk on Jonathan Swift and the Art of Undressing.

11mins

7 Feb 2012

Rank #2

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What is a Great Writer? An academic panel discusses the question.

In this panel discussion from the Great Writers Inspire Engage Event workshop, Dr Seamus Perry, Dr Margaret Kean, Professor Peter McDonald and Dr Ankhi Mukherjee discuss what we mean when we talk about greatness in writing. Seamus Perry chooses Samuel Taylor Coleridge, inspired as he is by the 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' and its myriad possible interpretations. Margaret Kean chooses John Milton, who used his Paradise Lost to position himself in the canon of great writers during his lifetime. Peter McDonald talks about who decides who is considered to be a great writer, suggesting literary agents, prize judges, editors, reviewers, critics, librarians, and ordinary readers. Finally, Ankhi Mukherjee discusses the greatness of V S Naipul, who was critical of the existing literary canon and so set out to create his own kind of great literature.

48mins

15 May 2012

Rank #3

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Chaucer

Professor Daniel Wakelin discusses the work of Chaucer and explains how he was one of the first to use everyday spoken English as a literary language in the 14th Century.

14mins

17 Apr 2012

Rank #4

Most Popular Podcasts

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Great Writers Inspire- An Introduction to the Project

A short introductory video to the "Great Writers Inspire project.

23 May 2012

Rank #5

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John Milton

Dr Anna Beer shares a few short extracts of Milton's poem Lycidas and discusses what they show about Milton's very special qualities as a writer.

18mins

15 Mar 2012

Rank #6

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Only Collect: An Introduction to the World of the Poetic Miscellany

Dr Abigail Williams, Director of the Digital Miscellanies Index, explains how these popular collections of poetry designed to suit contemporary tastes were used in the 18th Century.

13mins

9 Mar 2012

Rank #7

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William Blake

Dr David Fallon introduces the poetry, painting, and engraving of William Blake, focusing on the imaginative and visionary aspects of Blake's work and his desire to break the publics 'mind-forg'd manacles'. Dr Fallon also highlights Blake's exposure to the political radicalism of the 1780s and 90s through his work as an engraver for the Unitarian publisher Joseph Johnson. Blake's unorthodox Christianity led him to challenge conventional notions of good and evil in his visionary 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell', in which dynamic energy is praised. Blake is best known for his Songs of Innocence and Experience and 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell'. Dr Fallon highlights Blake's exposure to enlightenment thinking and the political radicalism of the 1780s and 90s through his work as an engraver for the Unitarian publisher Joseph Johnson. Johnson published works by Joseph Priestley (Unitarian minister and discoverer of oxygen), ground-breaking feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, and Erasmus Darwin (grandfather to Charles Darwin), among others. Blake's unorthodox Christianity led him to challenge conventional notions of good and evil in his visionary 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell' (1790-93), in which dynamic energy is praised above all else. In the poem, Blake famously wrote 'The reason Milton wrote in fetters when he wrote of Angels and God, and at liberty when of Devils and Hell, is because he was a true Poet and of the Devils party without knowing it.'

12mins

7 Feb 2012

Rank #8

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George Eliot - A Very Large Brain

Dr Catherine Brown gives a talk on George Eliot and her influences.

11mins

7 Feb 2012

Rank #9

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18th Century Labouring Class Poetry

Dr Jennifer Batt gives a talk on Stephen Duck, one of the 18th Century labouring-class poets.

10mins

7 Feb 2012

Rank #10