Study Abroad at SCSU: Southern’s English Programme

Study Abroad at SCSU: Southern’s English Programme

What (and how) will you be studying on Southern Connecticut State University's English modules? Rupert French investigates... During our time at Southern we were fortunate enough to meet up with several Professors of the English department, who helped us understand the differences in their learning strategies for students. Professor Charles Baraw teaches a module on comic books, 'Comics and the American Experience'. He gets his students to learn how to read comics differently from standard fiction. As well as studying from a diverse set of texts such as Maus (and hopefully We:3, all about the Grant Morrison love), certain classes also learn how to create their own storyboards based around topics of their choice. Professor Melissa Talhelm teaches a module titled 'Lyrics as Literature' that looks at lyric composition as a form, but is primarily a creative writing course. Professor Talhelm is also a singer-songwriter and a Richard Thompson fan. You should definitely, definitely take these classes if they're on offer when you arrive. What becomes apparent through...
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Clearing: Come and study English with us!

Clearing: Come and study English with us!

If you think LJMU's English course might be for you, we still have a limited number of places available. Remember, though, that the Clearing process is very competitive. Here's our advice for securing a place on our course for September 2016: Make sure you've checked all the information on our entry requirements and the course itself via the LJMU website (and that you meet those requirements). Have a look at LJMU's Essential Guide to Clearing, here, to make sure you understand the process. Stay calm and be positive: we're a friendly bunch here at LJMU English. We make Clearing offers to candidates who are open and articulate, committed to their studies, who love reading and discussing ideas, and are aware of what LJMU English, the university, and the city have to offer - be ready to convince us that this means you! We make sure that all Clearing applicants talk to an academic - a lecturer on the English programme - and they'll want...
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Welcome Freshers 2016!

Welcome Freshers 2016!

Welcome to LJMU English! This tab along with the T.E.A tab are your first stops for all the information you'll need for your first few weeks. Beyond Freshers, us lot over at T.E.A (check out our actual faces under 'Student Interns' down the side there ----->) will be providing you with lots of helpful tips and insights into studying at LJMU. To get you started here's some very helpful stuff: Induction Week:     The Blackboard Community Site is where all of your course-related info and induction timetables will appear, and you'll receive details of how to gain access when you receive your official Welcome Pack from the University towards the end of August. Don't worry if you are struggling to understand Blackboard, we all are, it's a complicated beast and you will soon be able to just about tolerate it (that's as good as it gets with Blackboard, sorry). Once you are an enrolled, inducted, official LJMU student we can tell you all our deepest, darkest secrets (probably). By then you will undoubtedly...
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An Introduction to World, Time and Text

An Introduction to World, Time and Text

World, Time and Text is an expansive module, incorporating texts from across the centuries so you are bound to enjoy something and if not everything. You'll be exposed to such a plethora of literature that you're at least learning a lesson in diversifying from your normal reading list. Starting with Paradise Lost you're dropped somewhere near the deep end but fear not, we've already compiled a list of hints and tips with how best to stay afloat and enjoy the epic poetry of John Milton! World, Time and Text focuses on intertextuality, how literature across generations is linked and what questions this brings about authorship. What you learn about intertextuality in this module will be applicable for all modules across the course and brings about all sorts of debates about who retains the authority on a piece of writing. From Paradise Lost you will look at Northern Lights by Phillip Pullman, edging towards the shallow end, unfortunately filled with a talking polar bear refusing to give up any...
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Reading English Module.

Reading English Module.

This is quite a fast-paced module, structured in three parts - focussing in turn on poetry (including 'V' by Tony Harrison - amazing, and Shakespeare's Sonnets), prose (Wuthering Heights - see T.E.A's separate post for this) and drama (Endgame by Samuel Beckett). This module, for me, felt quite different from the others, due to the varied material. Kate Walchester says: "The aim of 'Reading English' is to ease your transition into the undergraduate study of English Literature by introducing you to a wide range of texts from different periods, refreshing your knowledge of literary terms and techniques, and supporting you as you write your first research essay". This module may feel like a bit of a rollercoaster, unnerving at times, but it is exactly because of this feeling that the module is so enjoyable. It allows you the opportunity to explore the variations in literature. When it comes to choosing your modules for level 5, you will have a good idea of the different areas of study - for...
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Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë.

This is one of the texts you will study on the Reading English module. First of all let me just say that this novel is NOT a typical 'chick love story' (as one person put it in my seminar group). Heathcliff is far from the romantic hero, if he can be considered that at all! This is a far more complex story about greed, class, conflict and consequences. Please do not assume that you can watch a TV or film adaptation and know the story. The novel is far more complex, with intricately woven plot and character relationships. These things are never, in my opinion, portrayed correctly on screen and the novel's gothic atmosphere is usually either overlooked or over-done. I admit that Wuthering Heights is sometimes difficult to get into, I had to go back and start again, as I found I had not taken in the first few chapters, but perseverance with this novel is rewarding. There is so...
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Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

'Lo-lee-ta'. It is hard to pick a favourite book from the first year of the course, but when people ask me which book I enjoyed the most, Lolita always pops into my head first. Now I know that most will have heard of the book purely for its notoriety and controversial themes, but there is a lot more to this novel. Nabokov has an aesthetic quality hard to beat. Little descriptions that are both simple and stunning. In one line he can create an image that stays with you, 'She was Lo, plain Lo, in the morning, standing four feet ten in one sock.' [In normal circumstances you will need to Harvard reference here]. Try not to be put off by the theme of the novel, although hard to stomach. Humbert Humbert is frequently shown as a monster or something strangely alien and grotesque. But the novel is not a sympathetic portrayal of a paedophile, rather a unique perspective on a...
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Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara

Lunch Poems by Frank O’Hara

Lunch Poems was easily my favourite text of 1st year. I fell deeply in love with O'Hara and am married to his poems in my heart. I'm not a weirdo. Reading poetry is very different to reading a novel, and this often puts students off but if you stick with it the pay off is great and you'll never want to read anything but poetry again (except for what's on your reading list of course). The first thing to do with Lunch Poems is to give it a kiss because it's such a sexy little book. If you don't feel these urges to begin with then, trust me, you will by the time you're done (I reckon). Then just read through them all in one go. Don't worry about "getting" them or understanding all the references, because there are loads and you can look stuff up later, just read them. Get a feel for the language by reading aloud. Take your time, but not...
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Literary and Cultural Theory

Literary and Cultural Theory

This module will introduce you to the main areas of literary and cultural theory and teach you how to apply them to literary texts as well as teaching you to think critically about just about everything: films, TV, current events, family dinners, you think of it and by the end of this module you'll be able to crticially analyse it. You'll learn about Psychoanalysis, Marxism, Postcolonial Theory, and Feminism. You'll have two sessions on each approach, which will mean you'll get to grips with the main concepts of the theory, and then work on applying them 'in practice'. The assessment for this module is in two parts, a presentation and an essay. For the presentation you'll be asked to prepare, in small groups, about 10 minutes on one of the theories, demonstrating how you would apply it to a text, film, music video, song, etc, of your choice. For example, you might do a feminist reading of a Shakespeare play, or take a...
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Being a Commuting Student

Being a Commuting Student

Commuting to uni can sometimes be a challenge, especially if you live a bit of a distance away, and have a 9am lecture. It’s not rocket science – you have to get up early. However, you really need to make sure you give yourself enough time to eat and drink first. There is nothing worse than sitting in a lecture and your stomach rumbling! Thankfully if you are in a rush there is The Amazing Georgina – the toast lady in the student zone, who makes the best tea and toast ever . You will also need to get yourself sorted out with a train or bus pass. On a more personal note: It can be a worry that because you're not living in halls you won't meet people. This is not the case, there are ways you can get involved through the LSU, different societies you may be interested in and so on. The LSU have a lot of social events taking...
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Being a Mature Student

Being a Mature Student

I came to university after completing an Access course at college. I had done my A-Levels when I was younger, at which time I decided to take a year out to save money before university. That year turned into many as life took over and bills had to be paid. Many people have asked me, since returning to education, whether I regret not going to uni when I was younger. I can honestly say that I don’t. At 18 years old I was not confident or assertive in anyway, I was not sure what I wanted to do and certainly not prepared for the amount of work involved in university life – if you want to put your all into it. As a mature student I am not distracted by the nightlife (I did all of that in my 20’s) although I do enjoy meals out in Liverpool's many fantastic restaurants! I’m more aware of why I am here (at...
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Being a Student Parent

Being a Student Parent

I dropped out of university when I was 20 and moved back home to have my son. I knew it was the best option because my student life at the time consisted of getting up for a 9am lecture, pouring myself a mug of wine, and going back to bed until it was time to hit the clubs of Lancaster again (there are clubs in Lancaster, honest). Needless to say, becoming a parent changed my schedule a fair bit. For a while I was content with having  swapped booze for a balanced diet and night life for, well - still night life - but of a different sort. Then I started to wonder if I'd ever be able to go back to university. I wanted to, but I had a lot of doubts. Sometimes making it through the day without putting the telephone in the dishwasher or the kettle in the fridge seems like the greatest thing you'll ever achieve as a parent. It's a...
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Liverpool For Literature Lovers

Liverpool For Literature Lovers

If you can manage to put down your books and get out of bed every now and again, there is a lot for a literature lover to do in this here Liverpool. Here are some good things: The Bluecoat: Located here, The Bluecoat is the city's hotspot for contemporary arts of all kinds. If you check out their events page and tick 'Literature' it will bring up a list of exciting literary happenings. Often they are free, or charge a very small fee. If you are a poetry fan like me then look out for their (usually free) poetry readings and groups. If you are in Liverpool this month then there is an exciting sounding Literary Walks event called Visiting Victorians on Sunday 24th July, 2-4pm. The event "evokes 19th century Liverpool and discovers how writers explored the struggles and triumphs of the town that Dickens called the ‘Copperfield stronghold'"- click the link to book tickets. The events are updated every few weeks so keep checking back to see what's on. There is...
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Feeling daunted? Ineffectual? Inadequate? Don’t panic it’s all fine!

Feeling daunted? Ineffectual? Inadequate? Don’t panic it’s all fine!

My first two weeks at uni were spent walking aimlessly round, lost most of the time and hoping I could find someone I could follow - obviously not in a weird stalker way. I think everyone feels a little out of their depth at times, and you're not alone if you do, it's a common feeling. There have been moments when I have asked myself if I chose the right course, whether I was good enough to be on the course and generally whether I would do well. The truth is you're here on your own merit, you've earned your place: so you are in the right place. Self-doubt is something you simply have to get over in your own time. If you receive a mark on your assignment that you're disappointed with don't be disheartened, the tutors give constructive feedback that you can take on board and use to improve your work next time. The tutors are always happy to talk through...
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How To Dress and Accessorise Like A Literature Student: Our ESSENTIAL Picks

How To Dress and Accessorise Like A Literature Student: Our ESSENTIAL Picks

‘No, I haven’t done the reading for this week’ t-shirt. Dark sunglasses for avoiding eye contact with tutors in seminars when you haven’t done the reading for that week. Knitwear. Lots of knitwear. Chunky knits with pockets big enough to put books in. Fancy bookmarks. If you turn up to uni with sub-par bookmarks you’ll regret it for the rest of your life. This is the big leagues. A large, practical bag. Fashion has no place here, OK? You’ll probably always need to carry at least 15 books at any given time….. Lots of pendant necklaces with literary quotes on them. Everyone’s wearing ‘em. Anything you can find that has a literary quote on it. Just go mad and cover yourself in words, this is who you are now. A pile of books to arrange by your side at all times: 1 dog-eared and very stained to prove you love the classics like a proper literature student, 1 annotated...
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Eating Your Reading List

Eating Your Reading List

Everyone loves a bowl of plain pasta and a pot noodle butty, but a few decent meals here and there can make a huge difference to your life, let alone your ability to study. There’s tons of food advice for students around, but can you use the books on your reading list as a cooking aids? Yes: yes you can. How much fun would it be to eat along with your favourite characters? (The answer is: SO MUCH FUN!) Here’s what culinary delights some of your first year texts have to offer, along with helpful links to simple recipes from the World Wide Web: Wuthering Heights fans can treat themselves to ‘boiled milk or tea’ and a delicious ‘basin of milk porridge’. If you’re feeling very hungry try ‘a plateful of cakes’. Hopefully your accommodation doesn’t make you feel like you’re living on the set of A Taste of Honey, but some ‘biscuits and a flask of coffee’ may brighten your early...
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Erasmus Opportunities: Naples, anyone?

Erasmus Opportunities: Naples, anyone?

Dr Filippo Menozzi, our (Italian) English lecturer, has been working to establish a new Erasmus opportunity for future students on the programme (like you, if you're a Fresher in 2016!). This will allow future level 5 students (who enter their second year from 2017/2018 onwards) the chance to spend a term studying in Naples at the University of Naples L'Orientale! I'm so jealous I almost don't want to write this post... The programme (in Naples! Did I mention that?) will be taught in English and you will choose modules from their existing English literature programme. You will be assessed by them, which will obviously go toward your degree in England (unfortunately you will have to return). The assessment styles may differ slightly from those at home, but this will be clarified before you go. As students you will receive help with regard to your accommodation and travel plans, and you'll receive plenty of other information to help you whilst you're there. This opportunity will enable students to...
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Reading Is Good For You

Reading Is Good For You

"Until I feared I would lose it, I never loved to read. One does not love breathing." - Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird. We all have our own stories of how we became readers, whether you were introduced to reading as a child, or came to it of your own free will. The most important thing is that you found books, or did they find you? I have always felt a need to read and have always been surrounded by books. I was always read to as a child, and I can still remember the first book I bought with my own money, Roald Dahl's The Witches. It was not just the ability to disappear into other lands, and to partake in adventures, but something far more intrinsic to my general being. I always have a book on the go and I always have anthologies of poems around me, so that I can pick something up and put it down...
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Your Massive Reading List

Your Massive Reading List

Have you read the book for this week? Have you? Have you read all of the books IN THE WORLD? Because you need to - immediately! You are an English student now and the most important thing about being an English student is making sure that you never do anything other than read, read, read, and read some more. If you haven’t read and made extensive notes on every text on your reading list before the first week of teaching then you have already failed your degree and might as well throw the lot of them in the Mersey right now. Or maybe that’s not true. Maybe everything will be alright. Maybe you don’t need to read anything at all. Just sit back, make a cuppa, and spend the next 72 hours watching Netflix. Or maybe, just maybe, we can find a healthy and reasonable balance here. Getting to grips with the amount of reading you are required to do at degree...
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Film/TV Adaptations.

Film/TV Adaptations.

I have mentioned in my Wuthering Heights post that it is not good to rely on the film or TV version of a book. I stand by this. Reading the book is essential. Films and TV just don't have the time or the scope to convey everything that a book can. I'm sure you already know this as you've chosen English, but it's surprising how many students will try to dodge the reading. During group work on Lolita I was amazed to find that I'd missed a whole scene in the book, as had four others in my group. Whilst one student talked very excitedly about the significance of the scene the rest of us looked at each other, puzzled. The question was then asked, "Where in the book is that?" The student looked sheepish, "I've not read the book, I watched the film" (Groan!). But if you avoid this potential shame, watching a film or TV version can be...
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Worried? Afraid? Made the Wrong Choice?

Worried? Afraid? Made the Wrong Choice?

Now that a few weeks have passed, you're probably fed up of being told to read books. You might even be feeling daunted by the amount of books you have to get through, but the best way to deal with this is simple, just take it one book at a time. The tutors aren't (just) trying to torture you, you DO have to read the books to pass. Remember, you chose English as your degree, so just suck it up. If you're thinking 'OMG I chose the wrong course', and the thought of turning another page fills you with dread, then you probably did. All is not lost - you can probably still change it - but you need to do this ASAP so you don't fall too far behind. If you genuinely want to change courses, go and see your Personal Tutor to sort it straight away. There's no point hanging about and thinking it'll all just work out: be...
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Seminar Survival

Seminar Survival

If you are a good student (and I know you are) then you'll have read your English Style Guide from cover to cover at least five times and will be very familiar with the section titled: 'Seminars and What to Do in Them'. If you haven't read it (Shock! Horror!), then go and read it now because it is very helpful and tells you everything you need to know about what to do in seminars. That said, I’m sure you want to know even more about what to do in seminars, which is why I’ve written even more about what to do in seminars. Being in a seminar is just like being at a house party, but you have to navigate it completely sober. That may sound awful, but at this party, learning is your drink of choice (stay with me), and if you take it one sip at a time your inhibitions will fade and you’ll soon be the life...
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The Independent Scene: Food and Drink pt. 2

The Independent Scene: Food and Drink pt. 2

I am predominantly vegetarian although I am actually a pescatarian. So, I am writing part two of where is good to eat and drink from a slightly different perspective. Liverpool has so many great places to eat and drink it's hard to choose, thus I am breaking them down a little... My Favourites Breakfast/Brunch: My favourite has got to be Moose Coffee. Situated on Dale Street, it's not too far to walk but far enough from the John Foster building to work up a bit of an appetite: you'll need it as the portions aren't stingy. The New Jersey Moose is my personal fave. It is a plateful of amazing flavour-packed potato hash and oozing runny eggs. They do a wide range of breakfasts, sandwiches, pancakes and waffles. There are a lot of veggie options and you can add extras like smoked salmon and bacon. Be sure to get there with plenty of time to spare though, this place gets full very quick! Dinner/Lunch (depending where you're from):...
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The Library is Your Friend

The Library is Your Friend

The library really is your friend but like all friends you need to give it love and attention. It's just like that one friend you have who is clever and beautiful but also like, totally deep and complicated and if you don't make an effort to really understand, they'll walk off in a huff and hide the books you need. We all have a friend like that right? So here's some top tips about hanging out with your new mate and getting what you need. FINDING BOOKS WHEN YOU KNOW EXACTLY WHAT YOU WANT: This always seems like it's going to be so easy but we've all found ourselves wandering aimlessly up and down the aisles on the verge of tears because the book you need should be RIGHT HERE but it's not and it's all a conspiracy against you and you alone. The library services home page (https://www2.ljmu.ac.uk/lea/index.asp) is the starting point for all my tips so acquaint yourself with it now. Click 'Search Library Catalogue' under Quick...
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Tips on Secondary Sources

Tips on Secondary Sources

Here are some tips and help in finding those pesky secondary sources! I know that most of you will already know all of this, but just in case you don't, here is some (hopefully helpful) advice. Firstly, never ask yourself "how many sources can I get away with?". The more secondary reading you do, the better, but that doesn't mean you have to read the whole book every time. Begin by checking the index for relative key words, and choose chapters that relate to your essay or your primary reading. Secondly, if you read a book or essay and that author mentions another author, it might be worth checking out the referenced author. This can actually create an interesting argument in your own essay (but don't plagiarise whatever you do!!). Thirdly, those lectures you attend every week, that are on BlackBoard, they usually contain references and quotes, some lecturers even put their bibliographies at the end. Check them out, I'd advise you not to pilfer the contents...
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The Library Archives

The Library Archives

By now you will probably be experts in using the library (if not you can consult our helpful post and/or get in touch with the nice library folk), but have you ever used the archives in Aldham Robarts? Perhaps you have heard talk of The Lower Ground Floor and wondered what happens down there...? Well, wonder no more for the mysteries of LG are about to be revealed. If you look up the Archives and Special Collections on the LJMU website you can find out about their impressive and exciting collections. If you have an interest in researching something particular that's the place to look. You can find all the information regarding when you can visit and who you should contact via that website. If you get in touch with them, I can guarantee you will be welcomed by someone lovely, knowledgeable, and very willing to help. There is a lot of really exciting stuff down there, from the Willy Russell Archive to The Punch...
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The Winter’s Tale: LJMU English Fieldtrip

The Winter’s Tale: LJMU English Fieldtrip

LJMU Level 5 Shakespeare student, Hugh Adam, writes about the 18th November production of The Winter's Tale. The Winter’s Tale Performed at the Liverpool Playhouse, the Northern Broadsides’ production of The Winter’s Tale captures all the vital emotional elements of the text (jealousy, betrayal, abandonment, acceptance, comedy, redemption), while adding a modern twist sure to please all theatre goers, not just Shakespeare enthusiasts. Beginning in Sicily, transposed from the time of its writing to New Year’s Eve 1999, The Winter’s Tale opens with the celebrations of old friends Leontes, the King of Sicily, and Polixenes, the King of Bohemia. In accordance with the play’s complexity of tone, the celebrations are bittersweet for Polixenes, who longs to return to Bohemia and his family. His eventual decision to remain in Sicily (convinced by Leontes’ wife, Hermione) gives the insecure Leontes grounds to suppose an affair between the two, leading the King of Sicily (and those around him) into a vicious, jealousy-fuelled turmoil. The first three acts...
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LJMU English Hosts Inaugural Event of the Northern Postcolonial Network

LJMU English Hosts Inaugural Event of the Northern Postcolonial Network

Members of the Northern Postcolonial Network (founded by the Universities of Sheffield, Salford and Manchester) are pleased to announce the network's inaugural event will take place on Wednesday 25th March at Liverpool John Moores University, 1-8pm. The network aims to support knowledge exchange and networking amongst scholars and other individuals and groups working on postcolonial topics in the North of the UK. The day itself will involve a mixture of discussion about the aims and priorities of the network, a postgraduate panel, a keynote address from Professor John McLeod of Leeds University and an evening event. We would welcome attendees from diverse contexts and fields, so as to further the discussion about postcolonial studies in the region. Further details to follow including a CFP for postgraduate papers. Please contact Dr. Kate Houlden on k.m.houlden@ljmu.ac.uk for further information or see the website at http://northernpostcolonialnetwork.com/. Alternatively, follow us on www.facebook.com/northernpostcolonialnetwork or on Twitter at @Northernpoco....
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Writing Lives

Writing Lives

Writing Lives is a final-year undergraduate module on the LJMU English programmes, taught by Helen Rogers. Autobiographies are one of the most important resources we have for learning about the experiences and identities of ordinary – and extraordinary – people in the past. Memoirs have also been one of the most common forms of writing undertaken by working-class authors but many memoirs are never published and few remain in print. The aim of the Writing Lives Blog is to make some of this literature publicly available and to explore its significance for understanding working-class culture and identity. ...
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Alice Ferrebe, Literature of the 1950s: Good Brave Causes

Alice Ferrebe, Literature of the 1950s: Good Brave Causes

Alice Ferrebe's study rereads the decade and its literature as crucial in twentieth-century British history for its emergent and increasingly complicated politics of difference, as ideas about identity, authority and belonging were tested and contested. By placing a diverse selection of texts alongside those of the established canon of Movement and 'Angry' writing, a literary culture of true diversity and depth is brought into view. The volume characterises the 1950s as a time of confrontation with a range of concerns still avidly debated today, including immigration, education, the challenging behaviour of youth, nuclear threat, the post-industrial and post-imperial legacy, a consumerist economy and a feminist movement hampered by the perceivedly comprehensive nature of its recent success. Contrary to Jimmy Porter's defeatist judgement on his era in John Osborne's 1956 play Look Back in Anger, the volume upholds such concerns as 'good, brave causes' indeed. Literature of the 1950s: Good Brave Causes was published by Edinburgh University Press in 2012....
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Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

The Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies at Liverpool John Moores University is offering up to 10 full time Graduate Teaching / Research Assistant Studentships in a range of disciplines to start in October 2014. This studentship scheme offers a valuable opportunity to study for a PhD while teaching in subjects broadly related to your PhD research. The studentship covers full tuition fees and a bursary of £13,863 for three years, based on successful PhD progression. GTAs work with academic staff in a range of teaching, learning and assessment activities to support student learning for up to 180 hours in each academic year. These activities include supporting lectures, leading seminars, providing tutorial support, demonstrating in practical classes, marking student assessments and exam invigilation. GTAs will undertake a programme of teaching and learning skills development during the first year, and will be encouraged to attend a range of researcher development sessions in line with the Vitae Researcher Development Framework throughout their...
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Research Seminar: Professor Margaret Topping (QUB), ‘A Sense of Place in Travel Narratives, or Travelling in 4D’ (10 December 2013)

Research Seminar: Professor Margaret Topping (QUB), ‘A Sense of Place in Travel Narratives, or Travelling in 4D’ (10 December 2013)

Professor Margaret Topping, Queen's University Belfast ‘A Sense of Place in Travel Narratives, or Travelling in 4D’ LJMU English Research Seminar 10 December 2013 Professor Margaret Topping presented an involving and thematically transitory lecture on travel writing and its place in an increasingly digitised society. Through outlining where Francophone travel writing has come from and where it stands, Topping then looked at how themes and sensitivity within travel writing as a text are explored through installation art – almost the flip side of the coin, where instead of people seeking out the text to explore other worlds, the other worlds are brought to them. Topping deftly brought wo supposedly polar art forms together in an encompassing and thoroughly convincing argument that considered the possibilities and plasticities of negotiating debates on intercultural mobility. Looking at the written works of Flaubert, Maspero, Proust and Sebar, and the visual works of Kader Attia, Mounir Fatmi and Majida Khattari, Topping selected and entwined already moving and powerful works...
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Research Seminar: Dr David Tyrer (LJMU) – “The Politics of Phobia”

Research Seminar: Dr David Tyrer (LJMU) – “The Politics of Phobia”

Why we fear what we fear is a question that has long fascinated LJMU’s own David Tyrer. Coming from an interdisciplinary background, David studies the phenomenon of phobias from a cultural, historical, and sociological perspective.  His studies range from the depiction of phobias in pieces of art, to the sociological use of the word as a byword for hatred- such as homophobia and xenophobia. David opened his talk with a discussion of the history of phobias.  Coming from the Greek for “fear”, the term was popularised during the 19th century with many being intrinsically connected to historical events.  For example, the concept of claustrophobia and agoraphobia first materialise during the Franco-Prussian War – claustrophobia during the siege of Paris, and agoraphobia following the relief of the city. As well as their relationship to historical events, David also detailed how phobias were used as political tools.  With the modern classification of phobia occurring in 1871, the concepts then went under a medicalization during...
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Hamlet Blog by Sam Caddick

Hamlet Blog by Sam Caddick

Hamlet Blog   When considering the different characters in the works of Shakespeare, one may instantly think of the traditional monarchs, patricians, and the fools that are found in the majority of his plays.  Eric Heinze, Professor of Law at Queen Mary, University of London, however, chooses instead to focus on a less obvious type of character – that of the lawyer. Beginning his lecture, Eric drew our attention to Act 5 Scene 1 of Hamlet where the titular character comes across two skulls and muses on the possible lives of their owners.  The first he considers to have belonged to either a ‘politician’ or a ‘courtier’, upon which he delivers conventional remarks about each of the professions.  When finding the second skull Hamlet breaks into a curious lecture about the role of the lawyer in his time, which Eric suggests may link to the increasing dominance of legal power over the more martial power which is seen to be exercised in Shakespeare’s...
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Research Seminar: Beauty, Ugliness, & the Psychology of Aesthetics

Research Seminar: Beauty, Ugliness, & the Psychology of Aesthetics

Research Seminar, November 15th, 2011: Dr Carolynn Burdett, ‘Miming, Breathing, Balancing: the art of empathy and the Victorian fin de siècle’. I’ll begin at the end, if you will allow.  Dr Carolynn Burdett’s intriguing seminar had finished.  In it, she had discussed the research of Vernon Lee.  In a radical enterprise exploring aesthetics, Lee travelled Europe with her cohort (which seems a reasonable descriptor after hearing of their experiences; companion or lover doesn’t seem appropriate somehow) Kit Anstruther-Thomson, recording physical responses to art.  My mind was racing.  The question of how we react to art, or beauty and ugliness, was central to both Dr Burdett’s paper and Lee’s research, and something in particular Dr Burdett said played on my mind: ‘interacting with art should be hard work’ (I’m paraphrasing here).  It would be easy, wouldn’t it, to stroll around a gallery muttering ‘that’s nice’ or ‘I don’t get that’, but what if we really looked.  Stopped.  And looked.  With intent.  How...
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