Leeds Beckett talk to explore the inspiration for Charles Dickens's Fagin
Dr Heather Shore, Senior Lecturer in Cultural Studies and Humanities at Leeds Beckett, will be exploring how William Sheen may well have been the inspiration for not one, but two of the most famous characters in Charles Dickens's literary canon in the next instalment of the Leeds Cultural Conversations (LCC) series, a collaborative venture by the Centre for Culture and the Arts (CCA) at Leeds Beckett and Leeds City Council, and sponsored by academic publisher, Palgrave Macmillan.
The talk, which is free and open to the public, will take place at 12.30pm on Wednesday 13 January at Leeds Town Hall. Places are limited and must be booked at http://bit.ly/1Qm6bKY.
An expert in the history of crime in Britain in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, and author of several books detailing the history of juvenile crime and the cultural and social representation of the criminal underworld, Dr Shore said: “This talk focuses on my historical research in crime and policing, which I've most recently explored in my book, London's Criminal Underworlds, c. 1720-c.1930: A Social and Cultural History (Palgrave Macmillan). More particularly, this talk blends history and literature by looking at the life of William Sheen.
“I will examine Sheen's life and crimes in parallel with the career of the young Charles Dickens, whose serialised novel Oliver Twist, was published between 1837 and 1839. Whilst Sheen’s career as a ‘public’ criminal was undoubtedly known and written about in the spheres which Dickens moved: parliament, journalism, criminal justice and the philanthropic sector, it was events described in The Times which may have influenced Dickens to introduce Nancy, the young prostitute, in July 1837.”
The LCC series sees some of the Centre’s leading academics deliver lunchtime talks in some of the city’s most iconic buildings. Previous talks, presented by Dr Shane Ewen, Dr Katy Shaw and Dr Andrew Lawson, have attracted much public interest and evoked lively debates and thought-provoking conversations.
Dr Shore added: “The Leeds Cultural Conversations provides us with a great opportunity to present our research to new audiences in historic settings such as Leeds Town Hall.”
The next instalment in the series, entitled ‘Pride of place: LGBTQ histories and heritage’ by Professor Alison Oram, Professor of Social and Cultural History, will take place on Wednesday 10 February 2016 at 12.30pm in the Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall. For more information on the series please visit www.leedsbeckett.ac.uk/LCC.
The full list of talks in the series is:
Pride of place: LGBTQ histories and heritage - Professor Alison Oram, Professor of Social and Cultural History. Wednesday 10 February 2016 12.30pm, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall.
Women, visibility and playful acts - Dr Liz Stirling, Dr Casey Orr, Jo Hassall, Laura Robinson. Wednesday 9 March 2016 12.30pm, Albert Room, Leeds Town Hall.
Cooking without a clock: women, domesticity and timekeeping in nineteenth century Europe. - Dr Rachel Rich, Senior Lecturer in European History. Wednesday 13 April 2016 12.30pm, Denny Room, Leeds City Museum.
Eastern European ‘show trials’ of the 1950s: the Slansky case - Dr Kelly Hignett, Senior Lecturer in History. Wednesday 11 May 2016 12.30pm, Court Room, Leeds Town Hall.