Previous Talks


8 October 2016 Dr. Tamara Follini, Clare College, Cambridge: “Organizing an ado: Writing The Portrait of a Lady”

12 November 2016 Michael Billington, OBE, drama critic of The Guardian:  “What Makes a Great Play?”

3 December 2016 Dr Joe Brooker, Birkbeck College: “The Living and the Dead: Reading Joyce’s Dubliners”

14 January 2017 Professor Warren Chernaik: “God’s Just Yoke: Justice in Paradise Lost”

4 March 2017 Charles Peake Memorial Lecture – Sue Underwood (Charles Peake’s daughter):  “Excellent i ’faith – The Life of Charles Peake”

22 April 2017 Professor Christopher Bigsby, University of East Anglia: “Informal talk on Arthur Miller and  Edward Albee”

10 June 2017 Dr Priscilla Martin: “‘Unquiet Slumbers’; Jane Eyre and Rebecca”


10 October Roderick Swanston on “Remembering the First World War through poetry, prose, music and pictures”

14 November Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie on “Mad or Bad: unreliable narrators in James’s The Turn of the Screw and Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles”,

5 December Michael Symes on  “Poetry Realised:  William Shenstone’s 18th Century Paradise of The Leasowes”

23 January Judith Hawley on “Gothic Fiction and Gothic Form”

5 March Sandra Clark on “Editing Shakespeare: The Case of Macbeth

16 April Ian Keable on “Charles Dickens – Magician”

11 June Kevin McCarron on “Tilting at Windmills:  Don Quixote’s Romantic Extravagance”.


1th October Dr. Kevin McCarron, University of Roehampton, “Dylan Thomas:  ‘Sound and More Sound and Some Fury

15th November Kate Parkin, Fiction Publisher at Hodder and Stoughton, “Publishing Futures”.

6th December T.F. Evans Memorial Lecture:  Emerita Professor Leonee Ormond, “Victorian Theatre and the rise of Melodrama”

21st February Charles Peake Memorial Lecture: ULEMLA President, Emeritus Professor Warren Chernaik, King’s College, London, “Samuel Pepys and the Restoration Theatre”.

25th April Linda Hart, “The English Years of Robert Frost”.

13th June Professor Max Saunders, Director of the Arts & Humanities Research Institute, King’s College, London, “Autobiografiction: the case of Ford Madox Ford and Joseph Conrad”.


5 October Professor John Mullan, University College London What Matters in Jane Austen? Crucial Puzzles Solved

2 November    Jane and Robert Carr, Quince Tree Press J L Carr: A Day, a Month, a Season, a Life

14 December  ULEMLA President’s 5th T F Evans Memorial Lecture Warren Chernaik, Emeritus Professor, London Mark Twain & America: a Study in Contradiction

15 February    Emeritus Professor Mike Irwin, University of Kent The 27th Charles Peak Memorial Lecture: Fitting Words to Music

12 April  Michael Symes, formerly gardens historian, Birkbeck College Invitation to Vauxhall Gardens in the 18th Century

7 June  Dr Angus Wrenn, London School of Economics“The passionate, the headlong, and the too truthful”: Ford Madox Ford and The Good Soldier.


6th October – Professor Emerita Angela Smith: Katherine Mansfield, J D Fergusson & ‘Rhythm’
3rd November – Dr Angus Wrenn: Henry James, The Aspern Papers – ‘the Answer to the Riddle of the Universe’
15th DecemberEmeritus Professor Warren Chernaik, ULEMLA President: ‘Instruments of Darkness’: Witches and the Supernatural in Four Versions of Macbeth (T F Evans Memorial Lecture 4)
19th January – Dr Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie: Saints or Sinners? Hardy’s Complex Heroines
2nd March – Professor David Bradshaw: Aldous Huxley, Censorship and ‘the smut-hounds’ (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 26)
20th April – Dr Judith Chernaik: Keats and Shelley, Friends and Rivals
1st June – ULEMLA Chair, Ruth Webb: ‘L’Affaire Ford’ -Jean Rhys, Ford Madox Ford and ‘Editing’


8th October – Roderick Swanston: Venice Through the Eyes and Ears of Others
5th November – Professor Dan Rebellato: Terence Rattigan and the Curious Case of Aunt Edna
10th DecemberEmeritus Professor Warren Chernaik, ULEMLA President: “I can’t give you anything but love”: Popular Song and American Culture (T F Evans Memorial Lecture 3)
14th January – Dr Priscilla Martin: T S Eliot: Time & Places in the Four Quartets
3rd March – Andrew Davies: Writing the TV series, A Very Peculiar Practice (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 25)
21st April – Michael Symes: Lyrics of the Great American Musical: 1927-1957
2nd June – Professor Emerita, Leonee Ormond: Dickens and the Painters


2nd October – Professor Emerita, Sandra Clark: “The Woman to the Plow and the Man to the Hen-roost”; Women and family economy in early modern popular literature
6th November – Professor Emerita, Leonee Ormond: Words and Pictures – Linley Sambourne and Literary London
11th DecemberEmeritus Professor Warren Chernaik, ULEMLA President: Political Shakespeare (T F Evans Memorial Lecture 2)
15th January – Professor Tim Armstrong: Debt and the Foreclosed Future in Faulkner
5th March – Dr Vicky Greenaway: William Morris and the Aims of Art (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 24)
16th April – Janet Watts: Hot Metal, Cold Computers and The Spike: My Life in Newspapers
4th June – Dr Kevin McCarron: “Sweet dreams are made of this”: opium addiction in Dickens’s The Mystery of Edwin Drood, Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray and Conan Doyle’s The Man with the Twisted Lip


3rd October – Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie: “Crime considered as one of the fine arts”: The Detective in 19th-Century Fiction
7th November – Dr Chris Campbell: The Ground Beneath Their Feet: contracts with the land in Caribbean writing
5th DecemberEmeritus Professor Warren Chernaik, ULEMLA President: “Let slip the dogs of war”: Julius Caesar – text and film (T F Evans Memorial Lecture 1)
16th January – Dr Matthew Rubery: Newspapers and 19th-Century Literature
6th March – Andrew Davies: Adapting the Classics for Television and Film (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 23)
17th April – Ruth Webb: Virginia Woolf and London
5th June – Emeritus Professor Mike Irwin: Thomas Hardy – a pageful of poems


4th October – Professor Warren Chernaik: “I am myself alone”: Richard III on Stage and Screen
8th November – Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie: How Subversive is The Woman in White?
13th December – Vanessa Underwood: A E Housman and Poesy
10th January – Christine Rees: John Milton, Dr Johnson and Paradise Lost – a view from the 21st century
7th March – Professor Sandra Clark – Macbeth and the Weird Sisters (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 22)
18th AprilThe T F Evans Memorial Meeting
6th June – Professor Andrew Gibson: “Dreamy Jimmy” and the Idea of a University: A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Chapter V


6th October – John Simpson: Behind the Scenes at the OED
10th November– Dr Kevin McCarron: “I’m only kidding, folks”: Comedy and Criticism in the Novels of Kurt Vonnegut
8th December – Vanessa Harley, Christine Gritt, Janet Home: Members’ Christmas Literary Entertainment
12th January – Professor Leonee Ormond: Daphne Du Maurier: Landscape and Narrative
1st March – Professor Peter Mudford: “Oysters”: Chekhov as Writer and Dramatist (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 21)
12th April – Professor Christopher Reid: Poetry Reading
7th June – Dr Jean Moorcroft Wilson: Isaac Rosenberg: the Making of a Great War Poet


30th September – Dr Joe Brooker: Modern Writing: Samuel Beckett
11th November – Colin Thubron: The Travel Writer Today: a figure in his own landscape
9th December – Geoff Hales: A Wander Round Wodehouse
30th January – Professor Norma Clarke: Punk: the Story of the Last Female Wit
10th March – Professor Tom Healy: Treachery and the English Religious Lyric (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 20)
14th April – Dr Carol Watts: The Life and Work of Frances Burney
2nd June – Professor Stan Smith: “Commemoration.  What does it mean to us, here, now?”: On Not Audaining Auden


8th October – Professor Sandra Clark: Shakespeare on Stage
12th November – Michael Symes: Lord Berners: Master of Arts and the Last Great Eccentric
10th December – John Aston, Vanessa Harley, Janet Home and Marion Robertson: Serendipidy: Members’ Readings for Christmas
21st January – Dr Cathia Jenainati: Margaret Atwood: irony, creativity and subversion
11th March – Mike Peake: Cockney Pride: the London Music Hall Song and the Literary Tradition (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 19)
8th April – Barnaby Rogerson: “Poacher turned gamekeeper” – or travel-writer turned publisher
3rd June – Professor Philip Horne: Edith Wharton: The Age of Innocence – novel and film


9th October – Dr Kevin McCarron: Graham Greene: A Catholic in Greeneland
13th November – Professor Warren Chernaik: Strangers & Venetians: The Merchant of Venice
11th DecemberT F and Frances Evans: A Medley for the New Year
22nd January – Professor Valerie Minogue: Zola: Realism and Poetic Myth
12th March – Professor Leonee Ormond: The Bard Revisited: Victorian Painters and Shakespeare (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 18)
9th April – Sharad & Jane Keskar: “Rudyard Kipling: his Life and Works” and The Kipling Society
11th June – Dr Chris Campbell: Epic Echoes: Derek Walcott’s Artistic Odyssey


11th October – Dame Antonia Byatt: An interview and opportunity for questions and discussion
22nd November – Dr Kevin McCarron: Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited revisited
13th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: Christmas: Taste and See
10th January – Professor Inga-Stina Ewbank: Beckett and the Theatre
13th March – Ros Allen: Women Against Authority: 15th-century heretics (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 17)
17th April – Professor Maggie Humm: The Same Pair of Eyes, Only Different Spectacles: the domestic photographs of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell
5th June – Ulrike Horstmann-Guthrie: Elizabeth Gaskell’s Wives & Daughters: Variations on “The Angel in the House”


5th October – Dr Caroline Blinder: Oakie Dreams: Photography and Documentation in The Grapes of Wrath
9th November – Brian Spittles: Conrad: Man of his Time
7th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: But Once a Year: Christmas Readings
11th January – Dr Sandra Clark: The Duchess of Malfi as a Tragedy of Revenge
1st March – Professor Peter Mudford: “To live your life is not as simple as to cross a field”: Dr Zhivago and Hamlet (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 16)
12th April – Professor Philip Horne: Henry James Among the Poets
7th June – Dr Roderick Swanston: Thomas Hardy Understood Through Music


6th October – Professor Mike Irwin: Eighteenth-Century New Directions: the literature of everyday life
3rd November – Professor Barbara Hardy: Creativity & Criticism
8th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: Greetings, Gaiety and Gravy
26th January – Professor John Sutherland: The Great Trollope Mystery: why do we read him?
9th March – Dr Judith Chernaik: Poems on the Underground: 15 Years of a Populist Dream (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 15)
13th April – Roy Booth: “Follow Your Calling”: An Introduction to John Bunyan
1st June – Dr Ann Turner: The Metaphysical Chill


7th October – Dr Chris Reid: The Wooden Sodom: Bartholomew Fair in the Eighteenth Century
4th November – Professor Inga-Stina Ewbank: Re-writing Literary Classics
9th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: The Theatre at Christmas
27th January – Professor John Sutherland: Mysteries, Puzzles and Enigmas in English Literature
3rd March – Julia Boffey: “Go Litel Bok”: From Writer to Reader in the Age of Chaucer (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 14)
7th April – Dr Rosemary Sumner: The Poetry of Place in Thomas Hardy
2nd June – Colin Stinton: Acting with Playwrights


2nd October – Edward Petherbridge: Finding an Authentic Voice
6th November – Dr. Jean Wilson: Sigfreid Sassoon; Oh What a Lovely Subject!
11th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: George Bernard Shaw and Christmas
21st January – Dr. Sandra Clark: Popular Writing about Women & Crime in Shakespeare’s England
11th March – Joyce Gowing: The Art of Bloomsbury (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 13)
17th April – Professor Warwick Gould: Yeats, Young & Old
10th June – Dr. Kevin McCarron: Iris Murdoch and the English Novel of Ideas


3rd October – Professor Steve Connor: Ted Hughes, the Inhuman
21st November – Professor Richard Hoggart: The Lady Chatterley’s Lover Trial Re-Considered
12th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: A Garland for Christmas: Then and Now
30th January – Susannah Clapp: With Chatwin: A Portrait of a Writer
13th March – Andrew Davies: Adapting Vanity Fair for Television (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 12)
17th April – Dr. Derek Alsop: Samuel Johnson in the Age of Satire
19th June – Dr. Ann Turner: Beneath Another Sky: Robert Louis Stevenson’s Islands


27th September – Dr. Rosemary Sumner: A Route to Modernism: Hardy, Lawrence, & Woolf
25th October – Michael Meyer: Ibsen & the Theatre of Today
13th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: History and Drama: The Same Only Different
17th January – Dr. Jem Poster: Seamus Heaney & the Weight of History
14th February – Professor Peter Dixon: The Making of a Poet: the Life and Work of E Malley (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 11)
4th April – Dr. John Madell: An Introduction to Measure for Measure
13th June – Dr. Kevin McCarron: Thoreau’s Walden: the American Pastoral


5th October – Dr. Roy Booth: Marlowe, New Historicism and Hell on Earth Re-Visited
16th November – Dr. Kevin McCarron: Alcoholism in Literature
7th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: Coward on Comedy
11th January – Professor Richard Hoggart:
Why Should Reading Survive?
13th February – Professor Warren Chernaik: “I Can’t Give You Anything But Love”: Popular Song and American Culture (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 10)
12th April – Dr. Sandra Kemp:
Kipling in the ’90s: Artist, Archive, Artefact?
14th June – Dr. Clive Bush:
Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying


30th September – Dr. Ian Small: The Professionalism of Oscar Wilde
4th November – Richard Pestell: Georgian Sensibility in Literature and Painting
9th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: Novel into Play
13th January – Peter Street: William Morris: Poet-Upholsterer
9th March – Dr. Paul Kirschner: The Literary Survival of Animal Farm (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 9)
13th April – Jane Hill: Carrington: Fact & Fiction
8th June – Professor Inga-Stina Ewbank:
Re-Writing Shakespeare: Adaptations and Translations of his Plays


8th October – Dr. David Bradshaw: Aldous Huxley’s Horrible Dilemma
12th NovemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: What Joe Orton Saw
10th December – Roderick Swanston: Here We Come A-Wassailing
14th January – Dr. Ann Ward: How the Greeks Produced Plays
4th March – Christopher Rolfe: James Joyce and London (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 8)
8th April – Dr. Sandra Clarke: Shakespeare in the Restoration
10th June – Andrew Gibson: Writing Children’s Literature


9th OctoberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: A Sense of Style
13th November – Dr. Kevin McCarron: William Golding: Bored of the Flies
4th December – Irving Wardle: William Archer
15th January – Peter Meade: Middlemarch
19th February – Katie Wales: Flowers in the Dirt: The Poetry of Philip Larkin (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 7)
16th April – Dr. Graham Handley: The Presentation of Women in Jane Austen’s Novels
11th June – Dr. Janet Bottoms: Women Novelists Before Jane Austen


10th October – Roderick Swanston: From Bible to Boudoir: a Comparison of the Samson Story in Milton, Handel, and Saint-Saens
14th November – Dr. Warren Chernaik: The Poems of Aphra Behn
5th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: Old Critics and New Plays
16th January – Paul Edwards: Wyndham Lewis: Painter and Writer
27th February – Dr. Chris Reid: Authenticity and Authority in Boswell’s Life of Johnson (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 6)
17th April – Michael Foot: Byron the Revolutionary
12th June – Henry Claridge: The Great Gatsby: Nick Carraway’s Story?


12th October – Dr. Peter Brown: To Be a Pilgrim: Chaucer and the After-Life of the Canterbury Tales
9th November – Jack Herbert: Landscapes into Literature: Pope to Wordsworth
7th December – Michael Symes: Magic, and Writers Interested in Magic – followed by a demonstration
18th JanuaryT F Evans, ULEMLA President: Hardy 1892 – the End of a Novelist?
7th March – Andrew Gibson: An Introduction to Literary Theory (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 5)
11th April – Peter Meade: A Seminar Based on Selections from Poems on the Underground
13th June – Professor Michael Irwin: In Praise of Plot


6th October – Michael Symes: Literary Gardens
3rd NovemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: What Became of Kinglsey Amis?
8th December – Geoff Doel: The Mummers Play followed by a performance of The Bearstead Mummers Play
19th January – Michael Holroyd: The Theory and Practice of Literary Biography
2nd March – Andrew Davies – Mr. Darcy in the Bath: Adapting Novels for Television (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 4)
13th April – Ruth Webb, Doreen Wainwright, and Angela Scollay: A Poetry Seminar
8th June – Dr. Thomas Healy: Holding the Centre: Spenser, Ireland, and Civilisation As We Know It


7th October – John Lahr: Comedy and Revenge
11th November – Inga-Stina Eewbank: Reading the Brontes in the 1980s
9th DecemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: Christmas: Enigmatic Variations
20th January – Dr. Dermot Curley: Joe Orton: from Infamy to Fame
3rd March – Dr. Warren Chernaik: The Earl of Rochester – The Libertine’s Recantation (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 3)
21st April – Dr. Isobel Grundy: Dr. Johnson and Grub Street
9th June – Dr. David Daniell: The Englishing of the Bible


8th October – Doreen Wainwright: Huckleberry Finn
5th NovemberT F Evans, ULEMLA President: The Trees and the Wood
10th December – Geoff Doel: The Traditions of Christmas
21st January – Henry Claridge: The Composition of Huckleberry Finn
4th March – Michael Peake: A Lecture Concert: Eighteenth Century Literature and Music (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 2)
15th April – Peter Meade: Seamus Heaney: Poet and Critic
10th June – Dr. Steven Connor: Philip Larkin’s The Whitsun Weddings


3rd October – Alan Sillitoe: A Writer’s Life
7th November – Professor Michael Irwin: The Beast in Man – Animal Imagery in Shakespeare
5th December – Dr. Keith Carabine: Conrad’s Vision of Life
23rd January – Dr. Christopher Reid: Recording Despotism: Radical Fiction in the 1790s
5th March – Professor John Chalker: Graham Swift: Pattern and Contingency (Charles Peake Memorial Lecture 1)
16th April – Dr. Steven Connor: Modernism and Feminism in Virginia Woolf, with especial reference to To The Lighthouse
11th June – Edward Petherbridge: An Actor’s Life


4th October – Dr. Sylvia Sklar: The Metaphysical Poets
11th November – Andrew Sanders: Tolstoy
6th December – James Gibson: A Dickens Christmas
17th January – CANCELLED and re-scheduled for 7th November
28th February – Dr. Michael Slater: Byron
25th AprilProfessor Charles Peake: Pinter’s Plays
6th June – Peter Meade: Jane Austen


5th October – Keith Carabine: Wuthering Heights: a Corrupt Book
2nd November – Dr. Michael Slater: Shakespeare’s Use of Farce in his Comedies
7th December – Dr. Rosemary Sumner: The Rainbow – a novel in a foreign language that I don’t know very well
18th January – Professor Barbara Hardy: The Presiding Narrator in Middlemarch
1st MarchProfessor Charles Peake: Henry James’s Theory of Fiction, with particular reference to The Spoils of Poynton
26th April – Professor Michael Irwin: Why I Hate D H Lawrence
7th June – Ronald Hayman: T S Eliot: a Re-Assessment


22nd September – Dr. Brian Finney: Autobiography as a Literary Genre
10th October – Dr. Michael Slater: The Poetry of Dickens
17th November – Professor Barbara Hardy: Narration in King Lear
2nd February – Dr. Warren Chernaik: Modern American Fiction
30th MarchT F Evans: George Bernard Shaw: Life and Letters
15th June – Dr. Steven Connor: Ted Hughes


21st May – Dr. Trevor Dodd: In the Beginning: James Joyce
8th October – Dr. Rosemary Sumner: Heart and Head in Hardy’s Fiction
18th November – Professor Inga-Stina Ewbank: Ibsen as a Feminist
17th January – Dr. Sylvia Sklar: D H Lawrence: the Moderns
10th MarchProfessor Charles Peake: Beckett’s Plays
9th June – Professor Inga-Stina Ewbank: Shakespeare and the Feminists