Clearing Day 2018

It’s clearing day at Northumbria. Several colleagues are helping answer calls from applicants for our BA courses in English Language, Literature and Creative Writing and also our Foundation Year in Humanities.

The clearing hotline number here is 0800 085 1085

If you’re not involved in clearing and/or would like to read some thoughts from colleagues in English at Northumbria, here are some recent articles which appeared in The Conversation:

Tony Williams on the story Cat Person and #metoo

Claire Nally on graphic novels

Katy Shaw on why the novel is not dead

Sarah Duffy on how we think about time

Claudine van Hensbergen on Hamilton

Here also is a piece by colleagues at Bradford and Swansea on how students use social media in making decisions about university applications

Studying English at University

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I’m looking forward to visiting Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College in Darlington this afternoon to talk about studying English at university.

One thing we’ll be looking at is Jorge Luis Borges’s story Pierre Menard, author of the Quixote

I’m looking forward to seeing what the students think about it.

I’m also planning to show them this undergraduate essay:

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That’s the video essay. There’s also a written essay to accompany it here

Colleagues at Northumbria love visiting schools and working with students and teachers.

Do get in touch if you’e like to visit us or for us to visit you.

Remember also that we have an exciting event coming up next Wednesday when Lynne Murphy will be talking about differences between British and American English in our Annual Linguistics Lecture

There are still places available for Lynne’s talk but do book if you’d like to come

English Colleagues in The Conversation

We’ve had several pieces by colleagues in English in The Conversation over the years. Here are three recent examples.

Sarah Duffy’s piece on how our minds construct time appeared in January

Katy Shaw argued against Will Self’s views on the future of the novel in March

Most recently, Billy Clark, Sarah Duffy and Graham Hall wrote a piece on how to talk about politics with your family

Billy appeared on CJAD 800 in Montreal yesterday to talk about the ideas in the piece he wrote with Sarah and Graham.

All of these pieces relate to ideas we discuss in classroom work and in our own research.

We’d be happy to join in further conversations on these here or elsewhere!

 

 

 

Writers and Intellectuals on Britain and Europe, 1918-2018

We are very much looking forward to this international conference which will be hosted by Northumbria University on the 1st and 2nd of November 2018.

The conference will bring together creative writers and researcher in literary and cultural studies with an interest in Britain and Europe to explore questions about Britain’s relationship with Europe and the place of writers and intellectuals in defining it.

There is already an impressive list of confirmed speakers:

  • Professor Tanja BUELTMANN (Northumbria University)
  • Dr Katie COOPER (University of East Anglia)
  • Professor Robert EAGLESTONE (Royal Holloway, University of London), editor of Brexit and Literature: Critical and Cultural Responses(2018)
  • Professor Ina HABERMANN (Universität Basel)
  • Professor Jason HARDING (University of Durham)
  • Professor Barbara KORTE (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)
  • Professor Christian MAIR (Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)
  • Professor Gill PLAIN (University of St Andrews)
  • Dr Petra RAU (University of East Anglia)
  • Dr Laura LOJO RODRIGUEZ (Universidade de Santiago de Compostela)
  • Dr Fiona SHAW (Northumbria University), author of young-adult ‘BrexLit’ novel Outwalkers(2018)

You can find the call for papers and further information here:

https://europeanconversations.com/call-for-papers/

Pragmatics, Literature and ‘half-formed things’

agirlisahalfformedcover       Billy Trondheim wee

Our next English Language research seminar will be given by me (Billy Clark). I’ll be talking about Eimear McBride’s novel A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing and how recent developments in pragmatics can help to account for varying responses to it. There’s an abstract below.

The talk will take place at 2-3.30pm on Tuesday 20th March in Room 303 of the Lipman Building on our City Campus.

You can find directions to the campus here:

Directions to Northumbria University

And a City Campus map here:

Northumbria University City Campus map

All welcome.

Contact me if you have any queries: billy.clark@northumbria.ac.uk

Abstract:

This talk explores some of the ways in which ideas from pragmatics can help us to understand the production, interpretation and evaluation of literary texts. It presents some recent developments in work on (relevance-theoretic) pragmatics and considers some ways in which these can contribute to fuller accounts of literary texts. focusing in particular on Eimear McBride’s novel A Girl Is A Half-formed Thing.

 The recent developments discussed here aim to take fuller account of the extensiveness, complexity, open-endedness and indeterminacy of interpretation processes. They also take fuller account of the role of nonverbal phenomena in communication. For example, a one-word utterance ‘yeah’ is often unlikely to be taken to indicate agreement if uttered with falling intonation and if the speaker does not also nod her head. The paper argues that these ideas help us to understand varying responses to Eimear McBride’s novel.

Some responses to McBride’s novel have been very positive. Some have been quite negative. Many readers report an initial negative response being replaced by a positive one. Caitlin Moran, one of the judges who awarded the book the 2014 Bailey’s prize, and the novelist Elizabeth McCracken have both reported that a negative response as they began reading the book was replaced by a more positive one. Moran said, ‘ten pages in and all the bells start ringing’. McCracken said, ‘. . . about halfway down the second page, my brain figured it out and the book had me.’ This talk considers how the minds of readers with positive and negative evaluations differ as they read the book. It argues that positive responses typically involve readers failing to carry out pragmatic processes which they would usually make when reading. The processes of these readers are simultaneously more complex than and simpler than those of readers who give up on the book and decide the effects they derive from reading it will not justify the effort involved.