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English PGR Seminar Series: Herbert Tucker – Thursday 23 March 2017

23rd March 2017 @ 5:15 pm - 7:15 pm


You are warmly invited to the English Postgraduate Research Seminar with Professor Herbert Tucker (University of Virginia) on Thursday 23rd March at 5.15pm in the Lock Keeper’s Cottage, Mile End campus. All are welcome.


‘After Magic: Modern Charm in History, Theory, and Practice’, Herbert F. Tucker, John C. Coleman Professor of English, University of Virginia

 What charm is we, by definition, can’t quite say: it notoriously eludes the language that would fix it analytically into semantic place. But its ineffability or discursive resistance occupies a theoretically complex and historically informative relation to the antique or outlandish quality – call it irreference – of the language of magic charms, whereby a sorcerer uses the words of a spell not to mean something but to do something. This conjunction offers fresh ways of approaching the designs of modern literature, for the past half millennium, to enchant its readers. Even as magic has endured stages of persecution, ridicule, and apparent neglect, writers have with great and steady versatility continued to practice charm through modes of more or less frankly deployed incantation. In dramatic performance, fictional illusion, and above all the versification of poetry (e.g., Coleridge’s “Kubla Khan”) modern literature has cultivated species of the charm that still comes and goes after magic.

Herbert F. Tucker is the John C. Coleman Professor of English at the University of Virginia. His books include Epic: Britain’s Heroic Muse 1790-1910, Tennyson and the Doom of Romanticism, and Browning’s Beginnings. Tucker’s interactive scansion tutorial For Better for Verse is freely available at prosody.lib.virginia.edu/; prospective participants in his seminar at QM on 27 March, 5pm may want to visit the site in advance and should bring laptops.

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23rd March 2017
5:15 pm - 7:15 pm
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English PGRS


Lock-Keeper’s Cottage
Queen Mary University of London
Mile End Road, E1 4NS
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