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Journeys in weatherland

Dr Alexandra Harris, Senior Lecturer in English Literature, University of Liverpool

Date/Time: 29th October 2015

Poets, novelists, playwrights and painters across the centuries, looking up at the same skies and walking in the same brisk air, have felt very different things. 'Bloody cold', says Jonathan Swift in the 'slobbery' January of 1713. Percy Shelley wanted to become a cloud and John Ruskin wanted to bottle one.

In this lecture, accompanied by atmospheric slides, Alexandra Harris introduces her new book Weatherland, giving glimpses of weather-art from the Anglo-Saxon elegies to Wyndham Lewis’s Vorticism.

She will argue that the story of English culture over a thousand years can be told as the story of changing ideas about the weather. There have been times when the numbers on a rain gauge count for more than a pantheon of aerial gods. There have been times for meteoric marvels and times for gentle breeze.

This talk is a celebration of English air and the lives of those who have lived in it.

Speaker biography

Alexandra Harris teaches English at the University of Liverpool. She won the Guardian First Book Award and a Somerset Maugham Award for Romantic Moderns in 2010. She published an acclaimed introduction to Virginia Woolf in 2011, and her series of journeys with Woolf, A Walk of One’s Own, was broadcast on Radio 4 this summer.

Weatherland is published by Thames & Hudson, and has been welcomed as ‘a brilliant, beautiful and sensual book’ (Sunday Times), ‘literary scholarship at its life-enhancing best’ (Independent).