Date: Wednesday 14th April 2021
Time: 6:00 – 7:00pm
This virtual talk will introduce the poetry of Thomas Chatterton to a contemporary audience. While Chatterton’s obsessive invention of mediaeval Bristol certainly makes his writing unique, it also risks alienating readers. Why should we bother reading him today, unless we have a particular interest in eighteenth-century literature that describes the past? In fact, not only does Chatterton’s phenomenally imaginative recreation of the Middle Ages have striking significance today, it is in any case only one aspect of his writing. Chatterton’s multi-facetted work runs from scathing satire to some of the earliest anti-slavery poetry ever written, and among his extraordinarily diverse writing are moments of insight that can help us think through the challenges and dilemmas of the twenty-first century.
Dr Nick Groom has published on a wide range of literary and cultural topics, from national identities to cultural environmentalism to the Gothic – the latter earning him the sobriquet of the ‘Prof of Goth’ in the media. His environmental writing includes the book The Seasons: A Celebration of the English Year (2013), runner-up for the BBC Countryfile Book of the Year, while his extensive work on the Gothic has helped to redefine the field through books including The Gothic (2012) and editions of The Castle of Otranto, The Monk, The Italian, and Frankenstein (2014-19). The Vampire: A New History, described by the New Yorker as ‘colossally smart’, was first published in 2018 and has been translated into Italian and Spanish. He has also published extensively on Thomas Chatterton in many essays and articles, has edited Chatterton’s poetry for a selected edition, and his book The Forger’s Shadow (2003) focuses on Chatterton’s life and work. Nick Groom is currently Professor in English at the University of Macau, having previously held positions at the universities of Bristol, Chicago, Stanford, and Exeter.
This event is presented in partnership with Lyra the Bristol Poetry Festival, Bristol Ideas, and supported by the National Heritage Lottery Fund. It is part of A Poetic City, a multi-partner, city-wide programme that explores the legacy of Thomas Chatterton.
To reserve your free ticket, visit our partners at Lyra.