The next London Modernism Seminar will take place on Saturday 7 November, 11-1pm, in Room 349 Senate House, University of London. The theme is flamboyant modernism and we are very pleased to welcome as speakers Faye Hammill (Strathclyde) on ‘Noël Coward, Rebecca West, and the modernist scene’ and Deborah Longworth (Birmingham) on ‘A Family Party: Modernism and the Sitwells’. You can find a short biography and abstract of Faye Hammill’s paper below.
The London Modernism Seminar is open to everyone interested in modernism. You can find directions to the venue and the full seminar programme on the Institute of English Studies website: http://events.sas.ac.uk/ies/seminars/53/Modernism+Seminar
The Seminar Organisers
Suzanne Hobson, Queen Mary University of London, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tim Armstrong, Royal Holloway, University of London, email@example.com
David Ayers, University of Kent, David Ayers, firstname.lastname@example.org
Rebecca Beasley, Queen’s College, Oxford, email@example.com
Helen Carr, Goldsmiths University of London, firstname.lastname@example.org
Peter Fifield, Birkbeck University of London, email@example.com
Faye Hammill, ‘Noël Coward, Rebecca West, and the modernist scene’
Coward and West shared a long friendship, and often met each other at theatrical openings, on transatlantic liners, and at parties hosted by the ‘international set’. Their wary negotiation with one another’s celebrity and cultural value played out not only at these social events but also in print, through reviews, gossip columns, and memoirs. Using the relationship between Coward and West as a case study, this talk explores the social scene of modernism, with attention to the suggestion of theatricality in the word ‘scene’. It takes up the notion of the ‘modernist party’ as, on the one hand, a kind of stage on which celebrities from different spheres performed together, and, on the other, a happening which, through reports in print, contributed to the forming of literary reputations and to the public fascination with modern style.
Faye Hammill is Professor of English at the University of Strathclyde. She is currently working on a project on ‘Noel Coward, print culture and popularity’, funded by a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship. Her most recent monographs are Magazines, Travel, and Middlebrow Culture (2015), co-authored with Michelle Smith, and Sophistication (2010). She is the founder of the AHRC Middlebrow Network, and has also led an AHRC project on Canadian magazines.