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Hail and farewell

Anna Stebbing (University of Worcester) was the guest speaker at the final seminar hosted by the Centre for Writing, Place and History today. She demonstrated how the poet Edward Thomas’s ‘poetic evocation of the weather world’ can be read within the framework of ecocriticism, including Heideggerian analysis of nature. As usual, the conversation was richly diverse, although the event was rather poignant, as organiser and chair Professor John Hughes remarked. For more than five years the CWPH has brought guest speakers to the University of Gloucestershire and offered scholarly dialogue to staff and students, as well as opportunities for colleagues to contribute. Never is this intellectual activity more welcome than when we are all buried under heavy marking and admin loads, or revising for exams.

The Centre has presented research seminars on topics ranging from Thomas Hardy, Richard Jefferies, F.W. Harvey, Ivor Gurney, and nineteenth-century illustration, to Baudrillard and 9/11 literature, and British Communist culture. Speakers have included (among many) Rebecca Welshman, Brian Maidment, Roger Ebbatson, Simon Dentith, and Roger Deeks. The Centre also organised a symposium, ‘The (Dis) United Kingdom’ on English and Scottish cultural identity and history.

The CWPH’s scholarly work, like that of its fellow Humanities research group the Centre for the Bible and Spirituality, will be subsumed into the ‘Being Human’ project, established recently as a University Research Priority. With its discussion of weather, human consciousness and globalization, Anna’s paper bridges the two research areas and looks to future projects.

Our thanks go to John for running the Centre and organising its activities. We will miss those Wednesday afternoons.

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