Oliver Smithies Lecture

23 November 2017, 5.15pm
Old Archives Room, Balliol

Professor Claire Jarvis (Oliver Smithies Lecturer and Visiting Fellow) will give an Oliver Smithies Lecture entitled ‘ “Oh my beloved Victoriana:” Barbara Pym’s Forms of Critique’.

This lecture considers the ways Barbara Pym’s novels recapitulate an early 20th-century Victorianism. Pymmian disinterestedness absorbs the modernist material world - the mundane, the advertised, the everyday, the dreary - while also retaining a stance of Arnoldian disinterestedness, devoid of troubling personal contingency. In this lecture, Claire Jarvis will describe the ways Pym’s Oxford education in English literature (a Victorian invention) references to Victorian texts (particularly Matthew Arnold’s), and the insertion of recognisably Victorian books into her novel’s frames all work to shape her fictions.

Professor Claire Jarvis is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Stanford University, where she teaches Victorian and Modernist literature and culture.

To be followed by a drinks reception.

The Oliver Smithies Lectures are funded by a generous benefaction from Professor Oliver Smithies (Balliol 1943 and Honorary Fellow 2004-2017), which enables Balliol to bring distinguished visitors to the University of Oxford.