Warton Lecture on English Poetry, delivered by Professor Robert Crawford, 20 October 2009 (venue: The Royal Society), as part of the British Academy's 2009 Literature Week.
Though T S Eliot had no children, he stated that paternity was the theme of his poem ‘Marina’. Robert Crawford’s lecture re-examines Eliot’s importance, and concentrates on ‘Marina’ as one of his finest poems. The lecture listens closely to the poem’s sound-textures, and argues that this work in which a man invokes his daughter can be read as part of Eliot’s wider engagement with children and with childlessness.
About the lecturer:
Robert Crawford’s sixth collection of poems, Full Volume (2008) was shortlisted for the T S Eliot Prize. His first book, The Savage and the City in the Work of T S Eliot, was published in 1987. Among his recent publications are Scotland’s Books: The Penguin History of Scottish Literature (2007) and The Bard (2009), a biography of Robert Burns. He is Professor of Modern Scottish Literature at the University of St Andrews.
Commentator: Professor Marina Warner FBA
Marina Warner is Professor in the Department of Literature, Film and Theatre Studies at the University of Essex, where she teaches courses on Fairy-Tales and other forms of narrative. She is a prize-winning writer of fiction, criticism and history and works include novels and short stories as well as studies of female myths and symbols. Her novels include The Lost Father (shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1988) and The Leto Bundle (2001), and her most recent work is Phantasmagoria (2006). She is currently working on a study of the Arabian Nights.