The Professor Glyn Turton Lecture

This series of high-profile public lectures honours Professor Glyn Turton, the respected scholar and former Head of English, Dean of Arts and Humanities, and Senior Pro Vice-Chancellor at the University.

The next lecture:


Dr Michael Davies (University of Liverpool), ‘Something and Nothing: Shakespeare’s King Lear

6.00-7.00 p.m. 14 May 2015. Beswick Lecture Theatre (017), Chester Campus.

Free entry. No tickets; no booking. All welcome.

About the speaker:

Michael Davies is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Liverpool. His research lies in the Renaissance and Restoration periods. Having worked extensively on theology and narrative in the writings of John Bunyan, he is now exploring literature and religion in the seventeenth century more broadly, with an emphasis on early modern Protestant poetics and polemics. His current research projects concern Calvinism in Elizabethan and Jacobean drama, particularly Shakespeare, as well as the relationship between literature and religion, and politics in the Restoration, centring on the issue of ‘liberty of conscience’. He is also interested in literature of the English Revolution, and of eighteenth-century authors of the Dissenting or Calvinist traditions – such as Daniel Defoe and William Cowper – as well as in John Bunyan’s ‘afterlife’ in the twentieth century.

Michael’s publications include: Graceful Reading: Theology and Narrative in the Works of John Bunyan (Oxford University Press, 2002); ‘Falstaff’s Lateness: Calvinism and the Protestant Hero in Henry IV’ (2005); ‘The Transubstantial Bard: Shakespeare and Catholicism’ (2005); Hamlet: Character Studies (Continuum, 2008); ‘Bunyan’s Bawdy: Sex and Sexual Wordplay in the Writings of John Bunyan’ (2008); Literature and Authenticity, 1780-1900 (co-editor; Ashgate, 2011); ‘Enter the Book: Reading the Bible on the Early Modern Stage’ (2012).



Previous lectures:

Professor Glyn Turton, ‘“Yorkssshhhire”: Some Reflections on Common Speech and Literary Language in the Verse of One County’ (29 April 2010).

About the speaker:

Glyn Turton is Professor Emeritus of the University of Chester, from which he retired as Senior Pro-Vice-Chancellor in 2005. His principal areas of academic interest are comparative literature and English poetry. He is the author of Turgenev and the Context of English Literature (1992) and was a contributor to the Open University’s course reader The Realist Novel (1995). He collaborated with Dr Sara Haslam on the production of a CD-Rom-based study of the poetry of Thomas Hardy and contributed a chapter on how to study poetry to the University of Chester English Department’s book Studying Literature: A Practical Introduction (1995). He has also written on the comic novelists Howard Jacobson and Peter Tinniswood. Since retiring he has given talks on: the imaginative interpretation of the works of Turgenev and Chekov by the Irish playwright Brain Friel; the Sussex writers’ circle around James, Conrad and Ford Madox Ford (for the BBC World Service Russian Section); and Samuel Johnson and New Labour (for the ‘Distinguished Visiting Speaker Lecture on the Enlightenment’ at Essex University). His current interest is in poetry written in and about Yorkshire.

He is a Sheffield Wednesday season-ticket holder and consequently an authority on both tragedy and farce.

Dr Juliet John (University of Liverpool), ‘Dickens Worlds: Culture, Commerce and the Heritage Industry’ (9 December 2010).

About the speaker:

Dr Juliet John is Reader in English at the University of Liverpool. She is the Director of The Gladstone Centre for Victorian Studies in Wales and the North West of England. Her research interests include the work of Charles Dickens, Victorian literature (including theatre), popular culture, melodrama, film, heritage and neo-Victorianism.

Her latest book, Dickens and Mass Culture, will be published by Oxford University Press in January 2011. Juliet is the author of the widely acclaimed book, Dickens’s Villains: Melodrama, Character, Popular Culture (Oxford University Press, 2001). Current projects include editing The Oxford Handbook of Victorian Literary Culture (Oxford University Press, 2013) and acting as Editor-in-Chief for The Oxford (Online) Bibliography of Victorian Literature (launched January 2011).

Professor Michael Green (Northumbria University), ‘For the Sake of Silence: History, Fiction, and the Spaces In Between’ (12 May 2011).

About the speaker:

Michael Green is Professor in Creative Writing at Northumbria University, and a distinguished Fellow of the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where he was Head of the School of Literary Studies, Media, and Creative Arts. His research interests include the uses of history in fiction, which is the subject of his influential monograph Novel Histories: Past, Present, and Future in South African Fiction (Witwatersrand University Press, 1997). He has published around forty journal articles and book chapters, and recently contributed a chapter on ‘The “Experimental Line” in Fiction’ to The Cambridge History of South African Literature (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming).

As Michael Cawood Green, he is author of two acclaimed works of historical fiction, Sinking: A Verse Novella (Penguin, 1997) and For the Sake of Silence (Umuzi, 2008; Quartet, 2010). For the Sake of Silence, which reconstructs the life of a charismatic Trappist leader who transforms a monastery in nineteenth-century South Africa into one of the largest abbeys in the world, was awarded the prestigious Olive Schreiner Prize. It has been described by the English Academy of Southern Africa as ‘a wonderful history and spell-binding drama’ and by Nobel Laureate J. M. Coetzee as ‘a work of history cum fiction that will grip and sometimes amaze the reader’.

Michael’s lecture on the theory and practice of writing historical fiction will include a reading from his novel

Michael Green Photo

Michael Green Poster

Professor Martin Stannard (University of Leicester), ‘Meeting Muriel Spark’ (8 December 2011).

About the speaker:

Martin Stannard is Professor of Modern English Literature at the University of Leicester. He has published extensively on Evelyn Waugh, following The Critical Heritage (1984) with a major biography in two volumes (1986 and 1992). The first volume was selected by the New York Times as one of the twelve best books of the year; the second was chosen by Frank Kermode, Jonathan Raban, William Trevor, and Muriel Spark as one of their ‘Books of the Year’, and in the year 2000 by William Boyd as one of his Times Literary Supplement ‘Books of the Millennium’.

In 1995, he published the Norton Critical Edition of Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier, an experiment in textual editing which includes material engaging with the challenge of literary theory to traditional editorial practice, and with the phenomenon of ‘literary impressionism’. He recently completed work on the second edition.

In 2009, Martin’s biography of Muriel Spark was published to great critical acclaim from, among others, Frank Kermode, Jonathan Bate, John Carey, Ferdinand Mount, Ian Rankin, Frances Wilson, and David Lodge. He has also published essays and review-essays on Kingsley Amis, Michael Arlen, Dickens, Ford, David Garnett, Graham Greene, William Gerhardie, Christopher Isherwood, and Philip Larkin, and on the subjects of textual criticism, biography, autobiography and letters.

Martin is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and of the English Association, and until recently was President of the Leicester Literary and Philosophical Society.

Meeting Muriel Spark

Professor Will Kaufman (University of Central Lancashire), ‘Woody Guthrie: Hard Times and Hard Travelin’: A Live Musical Documentary’ (26 April 2012).

About the speaker:

Will Kaufman is Professor of American Literature and Culture at the University of Central Lancashire. His areas of expertise include American comedy, the culture of the American Civil War, transatlantic studies, the American 1970s, and American protest music. One of the UK’s senior scholars in American Studies, he has served on the executive committee of the British Association for American Studies and has been Vice-Chair of the Association. He is also a co-founder of the Maastricht (now Middelburg) Centre for Transatlantic Studies in the Netherlands.

Will’s critically acclaimed publications include The Comedian As Confidence Man (1997), The Civil War in American Culture (2006), and American Culture in the 1970s (2009). As a recipient of a Woody Guthrie Research Fellowship from the Broadcast Music Industry Foundation and the Woody Guthrie Foundation, he has written the first political biography of America’s national balladeer: Woody Guthrie, American Radical (2011).

Will is a professional folksinger and multi-instrumentalist, with a life-long passion for American folk music. He has toured Europe and the United States with a pair of live musical documentaries: ‘Woody Guthrie: Hard Times and Hard Travelin’’ and ‘All You Jim Crow Fascists! Woody Guthrie’s Freedom Songs’. Performed at the Glastonbury Festival, the Bath International Music Festival, the Whitby Folk Festival, and the Chester Literature Festival, as well as hundreds of music venues on both sides of the Atlantic, the documentaries have attracted the praise of Pete Seeger, Tom Paxton, Ry Cooder, Ralph McTell, Martin Carthy, and Christy Moore.

Will Kaufman Glyn Turton Lecture - Wil Kaufman Poster

Professor John Bowen (University of York), ‘Diabolical Dickens’ (6 December 2013).

About the speaker:

John Bowen is Professor of Nineteenth-Century Literature at the University of York. His main research area is nineteenth-century fiction, in particular the work of Charles Dickens, but he has also written on modern poetry and fiction, as well as essays on literary theory.

His Other Dickens: Pickwick to Chuzzlewit (Oxford University Press, 2000) appeared in paperback in 2003, as did his edition of Dickens’s Barnaby Rudge for Penguin. 2005 saw the publication of Palgrave Advances in Charles Dickens Studies, co-edited with Professor Robert L. Patten. He has also contributed to the Oxford Reader’s Companion to Dickens, the Cambridge Companion to Wilkie Collins and has written about Victorian comic and satiric writing for the forthcoming Cambridge History of English Literature.

John reviews regularly for the Times Literary Supplement and has contributed to a number of television documentaries and radio programmes, including BBC Radio 4’s Front Row, In Our Time, Open Book, PM, Today, Woman’s Hour and, most recently, BBC1’s Inside Out and the 2008 Channel 4 documentary Dickens’s Secret Lover.

Professor John Bowen John Bowen poster

Dr Andrew Tate (Lancaster University), ‘Margaret Atwood’s Apocalypse: A Contemporary Novelist at the End of the World’ (27 March 2014).

About the speaker:

Andrew Tate is Senior Lecturer in English at Lancaster University. His research focuses on the intersections between literature, theology and aesthetics, and he has two primary historical interests: nineteenth-century writing and its relationship with theological debates; and contemporary fiction in relation to the sacred. Recent publications include journal articles on Ruskin and the Psalms and a chapter on Decadence and the Bible.

Two books, Contemporary Fiction and Christianity (Continuum, 2008) and, co-authored with Arthur Bradley, The New Atheist Novel: Fiction, Philosophy and Polemic After 9/11 (Continuum, 2010), focus on late twentieth-century and early twenty-first-century narratives. Andrew has edited a special double issue of The Year Book of English Studies on religion and literature (2009) and co-edited Literature and the Bible: A Reader (Routledge, 2013). Other publications include Douglas Coupland (Manchester University Press, 2007) and, edited with Jo Carruthers, Spiritual Identities: Literature and the Post-Secular Imagination (Peter Lang, 2010).

Andrew is currently working on two book-length projects: one on twenty-first-century apocalyptic fiction, the other on the figure of Jesus/Christ in post-millennial narratives.