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Churchill Lecture: 'The Divine Delusion: Dreaming American Literature in Europe'

Friday 25 September 2015, 6pm

Third Annual Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Lecture
6pm drinks reception, 6.45pm lecture

Sarah Churchwell’s lecture will explore the role Europe played in the invention of American literature in the first decades of the twentieth century.  She will examine the major novels written about Americans abroad by Henry James (including Portrait of a Lady and The Ambassadors) and Edith Wharton (The Custom of the Country and The Age of Innocence), the role of journalism by influential but largely forgotten American critics including Paul Rosenfeld (from whose The Port of New York the phrase ‘the divine delusion’ comes) and Burton Rascoe, as well as the renowned expatriate fiction of the 1920s, culminating in the great American novels of F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby and Tender Is the Night) and Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises and A Farewell to Arms), which cemented the claim of America to have achieved a literature of its own at last.

£10 (£8 Museum members) To register, phone 01225 820866 or get in touch.


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'How to Paint History: Benjamin West and the Death of General Wolfe', A Talk by Dr Loyd Grossman CBE OBE

Friday 16 October 2015, 6pm

6pm drinks reception, 6.45pm lecture

Benjamin West’s painting The Death of General Wolfe, the smash hit of the Royal Academy’s 1771 exhibition, was the first great visual expression of a rise in historical consciousness. In a feat of compositional brilliance, Benjamin West took the death of General James Wolfe at the moment of victory in the battle of Quebec and used the language of religious imagery to elevate contemporary news to the status of the great events of classical history, mythology, and the Bible. The Death of General Wolfe signalled a revolution in history painting that influenced the work of Gericault, Courbet, Manet, Picasso, Lichtenstein, and others.

In ‘How to Paint History’ Loyd Grossman will discuss the genesis and influence of West’s most famous picture and explore the personality of the artist who travelled from the backwoods of Pennsylvania to the state rooms of Buckingham Palace and the Presidency of the Royal Academy.

£10 (£8 Museum members) To register, phone 01225 820866 or get in touch.


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