"Life-Writing in Poetry": A guest lecture by British poet and author Ruth Padel


A report about welcoming Ruth Padel in the context of the "Celebrity & Memory: Victorian & Neo-Victorian Perspectives" lecture series on 14 January 2021

This winter term, the Department of English and American Studies offered a distinguished lecture series as part of the Cultural Studies MA curriculum, entitled "Celebrity & Memory: Victorian & Neo-Victorian Perspectives" and organised by Dr. Sandra Mayer, Univ.-Prof. Dr. Sylvia Mieszkowski and Univ.-Prof. Dr. Monika Pietrzak-Franger. Every Thursday evening, international Victorian and Neo-Victorian scholars and writers of (bio-)fiction and/or poetry have shared their expertise on a broad range of subjects, in the form of online lectures as well as live Q&A sessions.

Among the many scholars who agreed to take part in this lecture series were a few authors of fiction too, such as Patricia Duncker, and on January 14th, the organisers were thrilled and honoured to welcome critically-acclaimed British poet and author Ruth Padel as a speaker in this lecture series. Her lecture, "Life-Writing in Poetry – Two Biographies of the Nineteenth Century", focussed on two of her volumes of biographical poetry: the renowned Darwin: A Life in Poems (2009) and the recently published Beethoven Variations: Poems on a Life (2020). A lively and dynamic Q&A session then took place online, live with the author, for enthusiastic students and colleagues alike.

Ruth Padel's picture © Ruth Padel