Dear Bilkent faculty and students,
The Department of English Language and Literature is to hold two lectures on March 24, Friday, in G-160 at 2 pm and 4 pm. From 3:00 to 4:00, there will be a reception in front of G-160.
Dr. Richard Cole (Postdoctoral research fellow, University of Notre Dame): “William of Norwich/Vilhjálmr í Norðvík: Anti-Jewish Legends from England to Iceland” (2 pm)
Dr. Ruth McAdams (Visiting Assistant Professor, Humanities Program, Boğaziçi University): “Napoleon in Parts: Counterfactualism and the Historical Effigy in Nineteenth-Century British Literature” (4 pm)
Abstract for Dr. Cole’s lecture:
In 1144, the body of a young boy named William was found in the woods outside the city of Norwich. The local Jewish community was blamed for the boy’s murder. Although the authorities quickly came to the Jews’ defence, the accusation that William had been murdered by the Jews formed the basis for the ‘blood libel’ myth: the enduring belief that Jews ritually murder Christian children for occult purposes. In Norwich and its immediate environs, William was revered as a saint, but the cult of William of Norwich was not particularly successful elsewhere. Strangely, of the two references to William found outside of Eastern England, one is from a medieval Icelandic legend. How did a regional saint from East Anglia arrive in Iceland? And how did medieval Icelanders relate to gruesome stories about Jews, when their own country had a complete absence of Jewish settlement?
Abstract for Dr. McAdams’s lecture:
This presentation traces the implicit counterfactualism of representations of Napoleon effigies in British literature. In readings of the broken busts and burning effigies of Napoleon Bonaparte that appear in Thomas Hardy’s The Dynasts (1903-1908) and Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Adventure of the Six Napoleons” (1905), I argue that these fictional objects depict his body as a composite of separate parts that never quite resolve into a single whole. This structure suggests a vision of history that locates never-actualized possibilities in body parts and articles of clothing, and it allows the figure of Napoleon to evoke contingency and the optative in ways that ultimately exceed the world-historical. The presentation stems from my book project, tentatively entitled How the Victorians Invented the Regency: Historicizing the Recent Past.
We welcome all of you to this event.