Tuesday 20th April, 2021 at 6:30pm (AEST) on Zoom
Clive Probyn, Emeritus Professor of English, Monash University.
Anglo-Irish roads to Jonathan Swift
What was the relationship between Jonathan Swift, author of Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and his own experience of contemporary Anglo-Irish travel? He crossed the Irish Sea twenty-eight times from the age of a few months until his 60th year in 1727. He walked and rode obsessively in Dublin and London as a palliative to a chronic illness called Meniere’s disease, but he was always a restless soul, sometimes Irish, sometimes English, and certainly Anglo-Irish for his entire life. If so, why then did he decide that he would be buried in Wales? His life, his mysterious relationships with women and his writing were each enabled and shaped by geography (by time and distance). The Irish Sea made Swift into a restless and necessary traveller capable of living in the space between an imperial England and a colonised Ireland, never at home in any one place.
Professor of English at Monash from 1982 to 2009, now Emeritus Professor, Clive Probyn is the author or editor of more than twenty books, including four on Jonathan Swift, and others on English Fiction of the Eighteenth Century, English Poetry: A Handbook, a biography of James Harris (The Sociable Humanist . . . Provincial and Metropolitan Culture in Eighteenth-Century England). He wrote new entries for Swift, among others, in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, and is an Advisory Board member of the Ehrenpreis Center, Münster, Germany. Clive was educated at Nottingham University, and the University of Virginia as a Fulbright Scholar, and later taught at Lancaster University. He is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities and was awarded the Centennial Medal for service to English and Australian Literature. Clive is currently reserarching the relationships between cartography, travel-writing, diary writing, and spatial history in the early Enlightenment.
The seminar will start at 6:30pm Australian Eastern Standard Time (Melbourne); 8.30pm New Zealand Standard Time (Wellington); 9:30am Irish Standard Time (Dublin). The seminar will also be recorded.