Program in British Studies
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Lecture

Friday, December 7, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Campus Club, 25th and Guadalupe


Lecture

Friday, November 30, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

A country gentleman, Sir Stafford Cripps, ascetic, vegetarian, and a devout Christian with a lucrative law career, cut an incongruous figure in British politics of the 1930s. By the time the Second World War broke out, his radical position, radical even among Labour's most radical politicians, made him an outcast. It was only his appointment as Ambassador to Moscow in 1940 that secured for him a prominent position in the War Cabinet and later a key role in Attlee's Labour Government as the powe


Lecture

Friday, November 16, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Prothro Theater, Harry Ransom Center

Brian Moore (1921-1999), the Belfast novelist, immigrated in 1948 to Canada and subsequently moved to the United States. His novels include The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955), the story of a lonely, alcoholic, Belfast spinster, The Managan Inheritance (1979), which deals with an American journalist in search of his Irish heritage, and Black Robe (1985), about a Jesuit missionary in the New World, subsequently made into a film. The HRC holds the Moore papers.

Moore's novels a


Lecture

Friday, November 9, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Follett's Intellectual Property Bookstore, 24th and Guadalupe


Lecture

Friday, November 2, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Jessen Auditorium, Homer Rainey Hall

In recent years the common practice of studying British history as separate from the history of the empire has been vigorously challenged. But this challenge has come from one direction only. Scholars have studied at length the ways that the empire shaped Britain, but few have acknowledged the reciprocal ways that the empire was shaped by its being British. Indeed, if Britain proper was 'imperial', the empire was distinctively 'British'. This talk looks at one important facet of the 'Britishn


Lecture

Friday, October 26, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

This lecture will discuss the approach to the dissolution of the British Empire taken by Harold Macmillan, the Prime Minister who held office during the critical era of decolonization. The theme will be the way in which Britain transformed the empire in South East Asia in the 1960s by helping to create the new state of Malaysia. The talk will also bring to light new evidence concerning British nuclear weapons in the Far East as well as the circumstances of closing the great Singapore naval bas


Lecture

Friday, October 19, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea Rooms, HRC 3.206

The secret history of Penguin Books is mainly the story of Allen Lane, who founded the publishing firm in 1935. The Penguin series became famous before World War II with the publication of red-covered Penguin Specials that alerted the British public to the menace of Hitler. During the war Penguins became soldiers' companions throughout the world. But later Penguin would test the boundaries of propriety with the publication of Lady Chatterley's Lover. The ensuing controversy would land Allen


Lecture

Friday, October 12, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

The 32 love-lyrics, known as the Harley Lyrics, have long been recognized for their excellence. Many scholars regard them as the finest literature in English between Beowulf and the Age of Chaucer. Yet fewer and fewer critics deal with the Harley Lyrics, in part because their language is difficult to render but also because they have proven resistant to the historical practices long dominant in literary medievalism. No one knows how a cosmopolitan school of vernacular poetry came suddenly to f


Lecture

Friday, October 5, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

It seems the special relationship between Britain and the United States requires re-evaluation every time there is a change in leadership in either country or whenever there are major strains over particular political issues-Iraq, for example. Mark Oaten will look back at the evolution of the relationship between America and Britain over the last half century. What have been its characteristics from Roosevelt and Churchill to Bush and Blair? What was its low point? Suez? What was its high po


Lecture

Friday, September 28, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

This year, in early October, The Actors From the London Stage troupe perform Macbeth at UT. It is one of Shakespeare's briefest plays, his shortest tragedy by nearly a thousand lines. It features other peculiarities as well: a tragic hero who is also, unquestionably, a criminal; a tragic heroine whom most audiences don't much like; and a political situation that can be described as murkily and purposely amoral. These features can combine in performance to make Macbeth the most recognizably mo


Lecture

Friday, September 21, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

Lloyd George's love for Frances Stevenson, his mistress and secretary, carried with it unique political advantages. She was a loyal, efficient, and effective political ally in a partnership that endured for three decades. She helped at every stage and was a vital part of his success. The unusual thing about the relationship was not so much its emotional and sexual context as the political advantages it offered to both parties. It gave her a measure of authority in a male world. Her influenc


Lecture

Friday, September 14, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

John Frederick Lewis (1805-76), a British painter, lived in Cairo from 1841 to 1851. His painting, 'An Intercepted Correspondence', however, was executed in 1869, eighteen years after he had returned to England. The painting is an excellent example of the Orientalist genre. But it is also much more. Its various layers-the narrative, the interpretive, and the hidden or personal-will be the subject of the lecture.


Lecture

Friday, September 7, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

Some 200 years before Al Gore and Live Earth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote of the consequences of crime against birds and beasts. In 'The Rime of the Ancient Mariner', the epic of a seafarer who brings disaster upon his ship by killing one of the greatest of all seabirds, the albatross, Coleridge penned some of Western civilization's most enduring lines: 'He prayeth well, who loveth well/Both man and bird and beast./He prayeth best, who loveth best/All things both great and small'.


Lecture

Friday, August 31, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

Born in 1848, Arthur James Balfour was the scion of two great families, the Scottish Balfours and the English Cecils. 'AJB' became Prime Minister in 1902. Despite high hopes, his Government lasted only three years. Subsequently, after a stormy time as leader of the Opposition, Balfour resigned in 1911, thinking his career was near its end.

But he was quite wrong. Ahead lay the war years and a return to government--the Admiralty, the Foreign Office, the Balfour Declaration, the Pa


Lecture

Friday, May 4, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

The reputations of Britain's two great wartime leaders, David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill, have known contrasting fortunes since their deaths, not least because of their attitudes towards France and Germany. Lloyd George saw himself as a pro-French politician: France appealed to the old radical, anti-militarist republican in him. But he was also sympathetic to Germany, seeing it as embodying social welfare and national efficiency. As prime minister during the First World War, he inevita


Lecture

Friday, April 27, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

Lawrence is often lauded for his ability to capture in words the 'spirit of place'. But in fact, to the extent that place embraces people as well as landscape, Lawrence's collection of essays Mornings in Mexico reveals him as earnest but not entirely successful in his attempt at trans-cultural understanding. Mornings in Mexico is a complex blend of acute perception, learned stereotypes, and an imposition of Lawrence's ideology and impatient temperament on the Mexican places and people that he


Lecture

Friday, April 20, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

The British had no wish to partition Ireland or India-or Palestine-and indeed resisted doing so as long as possible. In the end partition, for better or worse, appeared ineluctably to be the only practical answer. The disparate cases of Ireland, India, and Palestine had this in common: none had ever been a politically united territory-except under British rule. Thus the argument of this talk is that partition is not a function of imperialism but of nationalism-which will lead to further refle


Lecture

Friday, April 13, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206


Lecture

Friday, April 6, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206


Lecture

Wednesday, April 4, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206


Lecture

Friday, March 30, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

What was it like to be alive and well in Oxford in 1956, when Khrushchev and Bulganin were greeted by students chanting 'Poor Old Joe' to the tune of the Volga boat song, when Gamal Abdel Nasser nationalized the Suez Canal Company, when Britain, France, and Israel invaded Egypt? Lord Halifax, in the citadel of privilege, learning and influence of All Souls College, remarked that the problem was the Prime Minister's obsession: Anthony Eden had always had 'a thing about dictators'. In view of Ha


Lecture

Friday, March 23, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.207

No figure in twentieth-century Anglo-American history is so enigmatic, intriguing, and charismatic as Thomas Edward Lawrence of Arabia. Although long upheld as a model British hero, his reputation came under furious assault in the 1950s at the hands of biographer Richard Aldington. Aldington's purpose was not only to destroy Lawrence's renown but also to challenge the British ruling class and its code of Edwardian principle and martial honor. Winston Churchill stoutly defended Lawrence as his


Lecture

Friday, March 16, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

There are already lessons to be learned from Iraq. These lessons should be incorporated into the long-term foreign policy goals of both Britain and the United States. While the importance of the Special Relationship should be emphasized when pursuing freedom and democracy in the world, both countries must now reassess the 'New World Order', as it was called following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and enable the United Nations to be more effective in promoting the provisions of its Charter.


Lecture

Friday, March 9, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

Shakespeare is often said to have 'transfigured' his reading, producing A Midsummer Night's Dream, for example, out of fragments borrowed from Plutarch, Ovid, and Chaucer and transported into a new theatrical space. This talk identifies the new space as the garden of English rhetoric, a place where Greek figures of speech are turned into English fairy tales.


Lecture

Friday, March 2, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

The friendship of Wordsworth and Coleridge produced a collaboration generally acknowledged to have inspired the Romantic Movement in England-yet it ended in acrimony and disappointment. This creates an enduring biographical conundrum: interpreting either of the two men sympathetically almost inevitably means showing the other in a bad light.

Though there have been excellent biographies of each, biographical writing has been bedeviled by partisanship. 'Why do people have to like Word


Lecture

Friday, February 23, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

Wentworth Castle, for decades relatively unknown in the world of British Heritage preservation, appeared on the BBC's popular 'Restoration' program and was awarded an unprecedented restoration grant by the Heritage Lottery Fund in 2003. Neglect in the twentieth century left the gardens run down, yet still reflecting the intentions and life of their eighteenth-century designer. After several years of careful and costly work, the gardens will open to the public in Spring 2007.

Sir Tho


Lecture

Friday, February 16, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

In Canterbury Tales, Geoffrey Chaucer offers sharp and surprising insights about human relationships with other animals. While it might appear that a little dog, a cock, and a falcon simply help Chaucer to comment on human society, bonds of sympathy between humans and animals reveal a deeper curiosity about animals themselves, and about what kinds of relationships are possible with them. Rather than seeing animals as sharply different from humans, in line with philosophical thought of his tim


Lecture

Friday, February 9, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

Cecil Beaton's photography during the Second World War is often presented as a repudiation of the privileged and glamorous world, which he had chronicled in the 1930s, in favor of a celebration of the courage and sacrifice of ordinary soldiers and civilians. In reality, the popularity of Beaton's work between 1939 and 1945 represents the continued significance of flamboyantly elitist, individualistic, and imperialist sensibilities uneasily coexisting with the democratic impulses of wartime popu


Round Table Discussion

Friday, February 2, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206


Lecture

Friday, January 26, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

John Garrett was a self-made apostle of high culture. In the late 1930s, as a headmaster, he made his name by bringing the practices of public schools such as Eton and Harrow to a new state school in suburban London. He hired remarkable teachers (Rex Warner for classics, the painter Claude Rogers for art), and capitalized on associations with W. H. Auden and T. S. Eliot to bring distinction to his curriculum. In 1943 his triumphs won for Garrett the headmaster's job at Bristol Grammar School,


Lecture

Friday, January 19, 2007 • 3:00 PM

Tom Lea rooms, HRC 3.206

It is wrong to regard imperialism as an important part of British domestic culture and society. Whatever the British Empire represented to the world at large, a majority of Britons had only vague ideas about empire, if any, for most of the nineteenth century. Around 1900, the Empire burst into the public perception in a way that made many Britons uneasy. Many opposed imperial expansion and the Boer War.

When the British came under serious pressure to decolonize in the mid-twentieth