Event: Contemporary Modernism and the Practice of Close Reading, Professor Derek Attridge, London, Jan 18

You are all warmly invited to a lecture to hear distinguished literary critic Professor Derek Attridge speak on literature and contemporary modernism at our public lecture series next Weds at 6.30, on the topic of “Contemporary Modernism and the Practice of Close Reading”.

There will be a reception afterwards.

It is a free event but you must book tickets through Cathy Hoste, via e-mail to, or on the event website.

About the talk

The development of a style of close reading in Britain in the 1950s went hand-in-hand with a concern for the moral grounding of culture, a concern that linked critics as different as Richard Hoggart and F. R. Leavis in their analysis of literary texts. In this talk, I will ask whether close reading retains any usefulness in our critical engagement with examples of contemporary fiction that challenge many of those earlier assumptions about literary and cultural value. My test cases are the novels of Tom McCarthy, Remainder, Men in Space, C, and Satin Island – works that, continuing the project of modernism, challenge the norms of the conventional novel by presenting characters without depth and plots without narrative tension or interpersonal development, and rely instead on a surface teeming with interrelated motifs and allusions. Is there a version of close reading that can do justice to the singularity of these works?

Event details

RHB 342, Richard Hoggart Building

18th  Jan 2017
6:30pm – 8:00pm