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Evening Lecture Series 2020:
Becoming Nature: Animals, Places and People in Literature


This photograph of a zookeeper and gibbon in Dublin Zoo in the early 20th century appears in an album kept by the Zoological Society of Ireland from 1845-1932. The keeper’s name was Supple, and the photo is captioned ‘Gibbon and Supple’. Their evident bond of companionship across the species line is one of the phenomena addressed by this lecture series. The lectures will explore some of the ways in which literature has served as a site where ideas about the relationships between animals, places and people have been developed, but also where reassuring concepts about human exceptionalism, selfhood, culture, rationality and authority, have long been dismantled. From the 16th to the 20th centuries, from rural Leitrim to the canyon country of southern Utah, we will encounter birds, worms, serpents and beasts of all kinds, and explore the shifting relationships between animals, places and people through a range of compelling texts.

Course Director 
Dr Julie Bates

Time and Place:
All lectures will take place from 7-8pm in the Jonathan Swift Theatre, Arts Building (Nassau Street entrance), Trinity College Dublin.

21 Jan. 2020        ‘Beckett’s Birds’ and introduction to lecture series (Julie Bates) Click Here To Download Presentation

28 Jan. 2020        ‘Rewilding the Child: Nature, Wilderness, and Children's Literature’ (Jane Carroll)

04 Feb. 2020        ‘“The Worms Are Coming Up the Stairs!”: Eco-Horror in 1970s American Cinema’ (Bernice Murphy)

11 Feb. 2020        ‘Climate and the Emergency: the wartime flood narrative in T.H. White’s The Elephant and the Kangaroo’ (Eve Patten)

18 Feb. 2020        ‘Creatures great and small in Edward Topsell’s Histories of Serpents and Four-Footed Beasts’ (Ema Vyroubalová)

25 Feb. 2020        ‘Nature, Knowledge, and the Fall in Donne's Anniversaries’ (Mark Sweetnam)

10 Mar. 2020       ‘The Sublime: Edmund Burke, Cork, and God’ (Jarlath Killeen)

24 Mar. 2020       ‘John McGahern and the alternative life of the farm’ (Nicholas Grene)

31 Mar. 2020       ‘Environmental Picturebooks for Children' (Sinéad Moriarty)

07 Apr. 2020        ‘Canyons and Native-American Traces in Zane Gray’s Riders on the Purple Sage’ (Dara Downey)

Reading List: Click Here To Download Presentation

€60 for the entire series. Indivdual lectures are €7 each.

Concessionary Fee:
Concessionary rates for the full series will be €45 or an individual lecture will be €6 each. Concessionary rates apply to: students, OAPs, unemployed, groups of 20+, TCD staff & graduates, Teachers bringing groups of students receive a free Teacher Pass.

How to Apply

Online Application:
Please apply and pay online using this link to Eventbrite: Eventbrite Link

Pay at the Door:
It is possible to pay on the door at the night, however only those who have purchased tickets can be guaranteed admission.

Postal Application:
Return this application form with the fee to: English Literature Evening Lectures, Oscar Wilde Centre School of English, Trinity College Dublin the University of Dublin, 21 Westland Row Dublin 2. Cheques/Bank Drafts/Postal Orders should be made payable to TCD No. 1 Account. Please click the following link for the application form: Application Form

Contact Details:

Ms Sophia Ni Sheoin
Centre Executive Officer
Oscar Wilde Centre for Irish Writing
School of English
Trinity College Dublin
21 Westland Row
Dublin 2
Telephone: 353-1-8962885