DOWN TO EARTH: THE FALL IN MODERN LITERATURE
February 22, 2009
Corpus Christi Garden
CLSG Day Conference
Autumn conference 2009
Down to Earth: The Fall in Modern Literature
Saturday 7 November
Corpus Christi College, Oxford
‘Is there a shadowy presence behind tragic heroes, in the person of “Adam”, the first and greatest man? Adam is certainly their archetype, as Chaucer’s Monk implies by beginning his “tragedies” with Adam’s story.’ Michael Edwards, Towards a Christian Poetics, 1984, p. 15.
‘Our beginning is neither at the creation of the world, which could make of us God’s continuers, nor in Eden, where our art would be the Word of the universe, the voice of creation responding to its Creator, but rather in the Fall of man, whether that also be an event in history or simply a manifest fact of the human condition. For us, it is the cherubim with flaming swords that have invented art.’ Michael Edwards, ‘Lunar Shadows: Reflections on Literary Creation’ (from Ombres de lune: réflexions sur la création littéraire, Paris, 2001) in The Glass No 19, p. 6.
‘Without the Fall, or some other explanation which we must suppose for our unhappiness, we would not continuously have this desire to re-invent the earth, to invent times and places, narratives, events, characters other than those of life outside literature, to prize the difference writing makes between the world and the book.’ Ibid., p. 11
The Fall motif is found widely in modern literature; the idea is a middle term: there’s better before and after, actual or suggested.
After the Garden: Re-imagining the Fall in Contemporary Fiction
Dr Andrew Tate
Department of English and Creative Writing
Andrew Tate will consider David Maine’s novels The Flood (2004) and Fallen (2005), Philip Pullman’s re-writing of Paradise Lost in His Dark Materials and other recent fiction against the background of discussions by (amongst others) Michael Edwards (Towards a Christian Poetics) and Valentine Cunningham (Reading After Theory).
Ana M Acosta, Reading Genesis in the Long Eighteenth Century: From Milton to Mary Shelley, 2006
Theo Hobson, ‘Strange Calling: A Theological Approach to Larkin’, Literature &Theology, 2006 20(3):301-320
Alan Jacobs, Original Sin: a Cultural History, 2008
Eric Smith, Some Versions of the Fall: The Myth of the Fall of Man in English Literature, 1973
Hugh White, ‘Langland, Milton, and the Felix Culpa’ Review of English Studies, 1994, xlv:336-356
Call for Papers
Offers of papers to be read at the conference (and subsequently printed in The Glass) are invited before the deadline 30 April 2009 Papers should have a reading length of 25 minutes. Please send a provisional title and short paragraph stating how you will approach your topic, adding some information about your background