Essays and Talks

Over the years I have made a dozen contributions to edited collections and published more than thirty essays in what are chiefly academic journals. Itemizing them would make me sound like Sir Walter Elliot at the beginning of Persuasion. But I do like to recall an essay that appeared in D. H. Lawrence in Italy and England, edited by George Donaldson and Mara Kalnins, because it describes how, in faithfully following in the footsteps of Lawrence, I was robbed in a manner almost identical to his own description in Aaron's Rod of how he was deprived of his wallet. This essay was called 'Lawrence, Florence and Theft: Petites misères of Biographical Enquiry'. Much more recently I wrote a piece called 'Byron's sense of humour' which appeared in Romanticism.

There is an essay of mine on 'D. H. Lawrence and snobbery' in the October 2017 number of Essays in Criticism, and one on 'T. S. Eliot and modernism' which will appear in the March 2018 number of the Cambridge Quarterly. In this I argue that a number of ideas put forward by Eliot in the 1920s, and enthusiastically endorsed by the avant-garde critics of the day, do not in fact hold water and that it is only because he wrote great poetry that they have since been taken so seriously, and had such a catastrophic effect on our culture. I gave a talk on Stendhal and autobiography in Oxford in 2016 and another last year in my own university entitled 'Britain’s first stand-up?'. This was about Launce in Two Gentlemen of Verona and the scandalous way he was mis-represented in that popular film of some years ago, Shakespeare in Love.