The Matthew Caygill Lecture 2019
We are excited to announce that Mary Eagleton will be delivering the 2019 Matthew Caygill lecture on ‘Clever Girls and the Literature of Women's Upward Mobility’.
Mary Eagleton’s 2019 Matthew Caygill lecture will be based around her recent book ‘Clever Girls and the Literature of Women's Upward Mobility’. Following the figure of ‘the clever girl’ from the post-war to the present Eagleton will focus on the fiction, plays and memoirs of contemporary British women writers. Spurred on by an ethic of meritocracy, the clever girl is now facing austerity and declining social mobility. Though suggesting optimism, a public discourse of ‘opportunity’, ‘aspiration’ and ‘choice’ is often experienced as an anxious and chancy process. The talk will also explore the struggle to move away from home and traditional notions of femininity; the persistent problems associated with women’s embodiment; the pressures of class and racial divisions; the new subjectivities of the neoliberal era; and the generational conflict underpinning austerity.
Mary Eagleton was, formerly, Professor of Contemporary Women’s Writing at Leeds Beckett University. She has published widely on contemporary women authors, feminist literary theory and feminist literary history. Publications include Figuring the Woman Author in Contemporary Fiction (2005), Feminist Literary Theory: A Reader (3rd revised edition, 2011) and, with Emma Parker, The History of British Women’s Writing, 1970 – the Present (2015).
This annual lecture series is dedicated to the memory of Matthew Caygill (1955-2016), who taught in the School of Cultural Studies & Humanities for many years and was a well-liked, respected and inspiring colleague and lecturer.