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English and Comparative Literature

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The Lecturer

Rachel Long

‘I Blame my Mother, she blames me’ is a creative work of extended poetic prose by emerging poet, spoken word artist and Goldsmith’s Creative & Life Writing MA student, Rachel Long. It explores in verse a mother-daughter relationship strained by an absent father, a social, cultural and religious disparity in relation to sex and the men that have left them, between a single black African mother and her mixed raced daughter. It deals with the ways in which the daughter attempts to resolve her ‘Daddy issues’ by seeking him in other men, often finding herself in empty cycles and vulnerable to abuse, when her mother is working nights, or at church; her own coping mechanism for her depression and failures.

Sun, 27 Apr 14 2

Sexual Hearsay In The Discourse Around Malcolm X

Khary Polk

Khary Polk writes about race, sexuality, and the movement of African American soldiers around the world. He is Assistant Professor of Black Studies & Sexuality, Women’s and Gender Studies at Amherst College. Polk received his PhD in American Studies from New York University, and has published in Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots?: Flaming Challenges to Masculinity Objectification, and the Desire to Conform,Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, Women’s Studies Quarterly,The Studio Museum in Harlem, If We Have To Take Tomorrow, Corpus,The Journal of Negro History, and Think Again. His current book project is Subaltern Soldiers: Race, Sexuality, and American Militarism, 1898-1948.

Sun, 27 Apr 14 2

The Erotic Imagination

Michele Roberts

MICHÈLE ROBERTS is the author of twelve highly acclaimed novels, including The Looking Glass and Daughters of the House which won the WH Smith Literary Award and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. Her memoir Paper Houses was BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week in June 2007. She has also published poetry and short stories, most recently collected in Mud-stories of sex and love (2010). Half-English and half-French, Michèle Roberts lives in London and in the Mayenne, France. She is Emeritus Professor of Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.

Sun, 13 Apr 14 2

‘ A Lamp of Moorish Workmanship’: Illuminating Sexual Otherness through Orientalism in The Picture of Dorian Gray

Winnie M Li

From the perfumed verse of Baudelaire to the ‘fleshly’ poetry of Swinburne, from the extravagant and perverse sensory experiences of Des Esseintes in A rebours to the refined visual aesthetics of Dorian Gray, we encounter corresponding senses (synaesthesia) and extreme sensations, intensified by nervous or pathological psychological states. Reading Decadence, from ancient times to the present day, is to indulge in voluptuous pleasures (and pain), to sample exotic tastes and sounds, and to envisage states of mind in highly visual terms. ‘For each emotion’, as Oscar Wilde imagined for his drama, Salomé (1894), ‘a new perfume’. This interdisciplinary conference explores the relationship of Decadence and the senses, and the ways in which Decadent writers attempt to capture fleeting sensations. It is an opportunity to trace common visual, aural and ‘perfumed’ motifs in Decadent works, and to reflect on the extent to which the senses are important to our understanding of the tradition.

Sun, 13 Apr 14 2

‘A Dead Art’: Oscar Wilde, Agha Shahid Ali, and the Dacc a Gauzes

Robert Stilling

From the perfumed verse of Baudelaire to the ‘fleshly’ poetry of Swinburne, from the extravagant and perverse sensory experiences of Des Esseintes in A rebours to the refined visual aesthetics of Dorian Gray, we encounter corresponding senses (synaesthesia) and extreme sensations, intensified by nervous or pathological psychological states. Reading Decadence, from ancient times to the present day, is to indulge in voluptuous pleasures (and pain), to sample exotic tastes and sounds, and to envisage states of mind in highly visual terms. ‘For each emotion’, as Oscar Wilde imagined for his drama, Salomé (1894), ‘a new perfume’. This interdisciplinary conference explores the relationship of Decadence and the senses, and the ways in which Decadent writers attempt to capture fleeting sensations. It is an opportunity to trace common visual, aural and ‘perfumed’ motifs in Decadent works, and to reflect on the extent to which the senses are important to our understanding of the tradition.

Sun, 13 Apr 14 2