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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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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 #1

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What is a Classic? English Graduate Conference 2012 Panel Debate, Talk 3

Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, draws on her experience as a trustee of the Booker Prize and as a judge for many other literary prizes to offer a response to the question, 'What is a Classic?'.

13mins

19 Jul 2012

Rank #2

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What is a Classic? English Graduate Conference 2012 Panel Debate, Talk 2

Judith Luna, the Senior Commissioning Editor at Oxford World's Classics, draws on her practical involvement in re-launching the Oxford World's Classics series in 2008 to give a publisher's take on the question, 'What is a Classic?'.

6mins

19 Jul 2012

Rank #3

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What is a Classic? English Graduate Conference 2012 Panel Debate, Talk 1

Dr Ankhi Mukherjee, Wadham college, Oxford, speaks to the question 'What is a Classic?' by examining the residual influence of the Eurocentric literary canon in the age of world literature and emergent formations of canons and classics.

19mins

19 Jul 2012

Rank #4

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J.M. Coetzee

Professor Peter McDonald gives a talk on the work of South African Nobel Laureate, J.M. Coetzee. Professor McDonald sets out the various less-than-great guises of the writer in Coetzee's fiction. He goes on to consider passages from Foe (1986) and Disgrace (1999) to highlight Coetzee's linguistic disruptiveness that might be considered traits of postmodern or post-colonial writing. In these close readings, Professor McDonald demonstrates how in just a few words, we can see that J.M. Coetzee is a great writer.

12mins

7 Feb 2012

Rank #5

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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 #6

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Dickens's Points of View

Professor Jon Mee, University of Warwick, discusses how Dickens's fiction can be considered 'cinematic' by drawing attention to the shifting points of view in Oliver Twist, Our Mutual Friend, and other novels. He relates this to work done in recent and historical adaptations of Dickens's work.

30mins

14 Jun 2012

Rank #7

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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 #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