History, Society & Literature with John Hodgson

History, Society & Literature with John Hodgson

Tuesday 1 March 2022
7:30 pm - 9:30 pm

Ashburton Arts Centre


Email to book  £5 or £3 or £0– please pay what you can

John writes: “This series of talks will discuss well-known works in the tradition of English literature – by authors who are inevitably dead, white and male.  Our focus, however, will be on the cultural significance of these writings rather than on the authors or the works in themselves.  We shall seek to discover how these novels, plays and poems illustrate the development of culture and society over the last millennium.

Each week we shall take a particular work and discuss what it reveals about the larger history and culture of the time.  The sessions will include handouts of specific passages, video clips and other media, and plenty of opportunity to participate in discussion (and performance where appropriate!)

Programme [provisional and subject to change] – The first week session is:
1.    Introduction: Geoffrey Chaucer: The Canterbury Tales and the origins of the English language.

Then every other week, this is what follows:
2.    William Shakespeare: King Lear and the close of medieval society
3.    John Donne: Metaphysical poetry and the scientific revolution
4.    Alexander Pope: Essay on Man: Cosmic Toryism and the order of being
5.     Daniel Defoe: Robinson Crusoe and the development of individual consciousness
6.    William Blake: Songs of Innocence and Experience and the industrial revolution
7.    William Wordsworth: The Prelude & The Excursion: Faith in the age of Darwin
8.    T.S.Eliot: The Waste Land and modernity.”

John Hodgson taught English in several schools in Devon and elsewhere before moving to the University of the West of England to lecture in cultural studies, journalism and academic writing.  He is now editor of the international journal English in Education.   John is interested in the history of cultural ideas and is writing a book on English teaching in England over the last three centuries.

Pandemic policies. This information will be updated as things change.

Update: April 2022

  • Face masks: In the Main Hall, on the ground floor, these are recommended at all times, but are optional. Anyone who sits upstairs in the balcony MUST wear a face mask – with NO exceptions (not even those who are exempt). This is to allow people who are clinically vulnerable to have a place to sit where seats are naturally separated, so: (a) to provide a place for people who want to be as distanced as possible from others, and with anyone nearby wearing a mask; (b) as virus particles when airborne are generally heavier than air, this helps to mitigate the risk of transmission from people sitting in the balcony to audience members below.
  • The windows and doors of the venue will be open, allowing fresh air to be constantly moving through. Although we have heating, this might mean that the ambient temperature is a little cooler than some might like, and audience members should dress accordingly.
  • Please, if you can, take a Lateral Flow test before coming to the Arts Centre, and if this is positive, don’t come. These tests aim to pick up anyone who is infectious at the moment of testing, so please take the test as late as possible on the same day before coming to the Arts Centre. If you test positive, a refund or transfer of your ticket to another event can be arranged, if you let us know before the start of the event, by emailing boxoffice@ashburtonarts.org.uk.