Christmas, John Clare and Christine Corton: ECW’s Seasonal Celebrations

Dr Christine L. Corton

Thursday the 15th of December saw ECW at Northampton host their annual John Clare memorial lecture. The speaker for 2016 was Dr Christine L. Corton, who spoke on her book London Fog: The Biography published by Belknap Press (an imprint of Harvard University Press) in 2015.

Corton tracked the literary representation of London fog, as she does in her book, and discussed its various meanings and cultural appropriations. The event was engaging and intriguing as Corton’s analysis resulted in a personification of London fog, evident in it being subject to a biography, as it is put through lens of literary, theoretical and literal exploration.

The lecture resulted in a great appreciation from the audience of the intricacies in the variety of representations and meanings attached to the representations that London fog has come to signify. Corton tracked the parallels between the literal fog and its eerie presence, the way it has been utilized to create this effect in film and literature and furthermore the spectral presence it has in the way it has been represented across the centuries.

Dr Christine L.Corton as she delivers her fascinating lecture into London fog.

After the lecture, Corton, a senior member of Wolfson College at Cambridge, sat down with ECW subject leader, Professor Richard Canning, for a discussion on her book London Fog: The Biography and then took part in a lively Q&A with the audience which included ECW staff and students as well as staff and visitors from other departments.

Overall the Annual John Clare Memorial Lecture was a great success to bring the term to a fitting end for all the hardworking students and staff.

Dr Corton’s lecture had been preceded the week before by ECW’s annual Christmas social. Attended by all ECW staff and students both from undergraduate and postgraduate levels, the event was a great opportunity to meet, greet and mingle with colleagues and fellow students in the same subject area.

Surrounded by good food and great company there was a a evident festive mood about the social as everyone relaxed after a busy and rewarding start to the academic year.

English and Creative Writing undergraduates getting into the festive spirit

Following a generous lunch, students — postgraduate and undergraduate alike — staff and guests found a rare moment to converse in a less formal setting. This, especially for the new level 4 students who started in September, provided a great opportunity to get invaluable advice from those who have experienced more of the BA and MA degree programmes and also enables more experienced students to meet the new intake — all resulting in a strengthening of the community feel within ECW at Northampton. This sense of community was further extended to the social’s special guests: the English and Creative Writing team from Northampton College.

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