Belinda Jack--Rhetoric - The Mysteries of Writing Novels and Poems (2014-15)

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source: GreshamCollege         2014年10月22日
Literature of any merit has its ambiguities and this allows for different readings, giving rise to different interpretations and so, literary critical debate. This series of lectures will focus on four novels and two poems in order to focus on these ‘Mysteries of Writing’. Works have been selected for their popularity or, contrariwise, their relative obscurity, to offer historical range, and to include both English and non-English texts. In analysing a few works in detail, methods of reading will be identified which can be used to unlock from all texts some of their abiding and powerful relevance to human life.
The transcript and downloadable versions of the lectures are available from the Gresham College Website: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and...
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56:30 The Novel & Morality: Samuel Johnson's 'Rasselas' 
The first in a series of of lecture unpinning the mysteries of Novels and Poetry:http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and...
The Morality of Samuel Johnson’s Rasselas. Dr Johnson was one of the most vigorous intellectuals of the eighteenth century. He was also exceptionally kind, humble and constantly battling against self-doubt. For anyone feeling fed up with life, Rasselas may be the answer.
54:05 The Novel as Political History: Stendhal's 'Le rouge et le Noir'  
An Examination of the possibilities and problems in using novels to inform our understanding of history: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and...
Can a novel tell us something about political history that can’t be gleaned from other sources? Stendhal’s famous Le rouge et le noir (The Red and the Black) provides vivid insights into both the secret and overt machinations of the aristocracy and clergy of his day. How historically accurate can a novel be?
51:56 The Novel & Idealism: George Sand's 'Francois le champi'
An examination of gender, idealism and social commentary in the work of George Sand: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and...
The eighteenth and nineteenth centuries saw the rapid ascendancy of the novel over all other genres. The other marked change was the sudden rise of women novelists. George Sand, like other ‘Georges’ was a woman, the most famous woman novelist of her age. Was her idealism peculiarly feminine?
54:17 The Novel and Psychology: Edith Wharton's 'Age of Innocence' 
A critical examination of the Pulitzer prize winning work of Edith Wharton: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and...
Written between the two World Wars, Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence is in part about a peculiarly modern phenomenon - the experience of outliving the age that formed us. As life expectancy continues to rise, how do we live feeling somewhat out of kilter? What does the novel tell us about the psychology of ageing?
47:13 Poetry & Remembrance: Thomas Gray's Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard
A critical examination of one of the greatest works of British Poetry: http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and...
There are two versions of Gray’s famous ‘Elegy written in a Country Churchyard’. They are both about how we may be remembered, a thought that often comes to us when we’re in a graveyard reading gravestones. But the poem is also about more common experiences, of isolation, of family, of ambition. Why did Gray write two versions?
49:45 Poetry and Immortality: John Keats' 'Ode to a Nightingale'
What is Keats' poem about, and why is it one of the greatest poems ever written? http://www.gresham.ac.uk/lectures-and...
‘Thou wast not born for Death! immortal bird/ No hungry generations tread thee down.’
Keats’ ‘Ode to a Nightingale’ contains these curious lines. How can a bird be ‘immortal’? The poem is partly about immortality, but how does its complex poetic web work?

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