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Creative Writing

Public Plenary Lecture – Celeste Langan

Celeste Langan, Associate Professor in the UC Berkeley Department of English, will be speaking in Wellington at the upcoming RSAA conference “Transporting Romanticism” on Friday 17 February.  Details are below:

Under Arrest: Transport and Security (Excitation and Citation)

Friday 17 February 2017
The Pit 12B09 – Te Ara Hihiko, Massey Wellington

Recent books on the modern revolution in transport enabled by the shipping container remind us that the term “logistics,” now used primarily to signify systems “allowing circulations to take place,” was first used by one of Napoleon’s former generals: a chapter in Jomini’s The Art of War was titled “Logistics; or the Practical Art of Moving Armies.” How might we think of what is after all the continuing project of “transporting Romanticism” in relation to global logistics and the shipping container? Reminded that books of poems are carried on the same ships that transport settlers and soldiers, what changes about our understanding of their power to transport? Recognizing the press as an “information delivery system,” how can we differentiate between the “hackney’d” phrase Byron identifies with cant and those “truths” that “must be recited,” truths “you will not read in the gazette?”  Focusing on the quotation and the capsule as figures of containerized movement in Byron’s Don Juan and Kleist’s Michael Kohlhaas, I’ll explore their attempts to develop a counterlogistics of the word.


Celeste Langan, Associate Professor in the UC Berkeley Department of English, is the author of Romantic Vagrancy: Wordsworth and the Simulation of Freedom, a study of why and how Rousseau and Wordsworth represent political freedom as freedom of movement. More recently, she has helped to develop the subfield of Romantic Media Studies, with essays like “Understanding Media in 1805,” “The Medium of Romantic Poetry” (co-authored with Maureen McLane), and “Pathologies of Communication from Coleridge to Schreber.” Her current book manuscript, Post-Napoleonism: Literature and the Afterlife of Sovereignty, traces the migration of the political concept of sovereignty into the domain of the literature. Drawing on the Freudian concept of “afterwardsness” or the après coup, the book illuminates ways in which the newspaper report of an event is foundational to a new idea of literature as mediated utterance.



This plenary is made possible by the W.H. Oliver Humanities Research Academy, Massey University.  It forms part of Transporting Romanticism, Romantic Studies Association of Australasia Biennial Conference, 16-18 February 2017, co-hosted by Massey University and Victoria University of Wellington. https://rsaa2017.wordpress.com/


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