English seminar: Will Christie (ANU), ‘Public Lecturing on Literature and the Origins of “English”’
The first ‘University Professor of English’, so titled, was Thomas Dale, who took up his chair at the newly established University College of London in 1828. Prior to his appointment, the Rev. Thomas Dale had joined a long line of knowledge entrepreneurs offering public lectures on literature at the Royal Institution – the first of them having been the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This paper looks at public lecturing on Shakespeare and other writers during the eighteenth century and the Romantic period, and at the influence this had on the new discipline of ‘English’ as it was being formed in the nineteenth century.
Emeritus Professor Will Christie was Head of the Humanities Research Centre at the Australian National University from 2015 to 2021 and, before that, Professor of English Literature and Pro-Dean for Research in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney. The author of Samuel Taylor Coleridge: A Literary Life (awarded the NSW Premier’s Biennial Prize for Literary Scholarship in 2008), The Letters of Francis Jeffrey to Thomas and Jane Welsh Carlyle (2008), The Edinburgh Review in the Literary Culture of Romantic Britain (2009), Dylan Thomas: A Literary Life (2014), and The Two Romanticisms and Other Essays (2016), Will was founding President of the Romantic Studies Association of Australasia (2010-2015) and, until recently, Director of the Australasian Consortium of Humanities Researchers and Centres (2017-2021). He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and was Head of its English Section from 2015 to 2017.
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