Third Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Lecture to take place at the American Museum in Britain

August 18, 2015 - Nicky Hancock

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Sarah Churchwell will deliver the third annual Sir Winston Churchill Memorial Lecture at the American Museum, entitled The Divine Delusion: Dreaming American Literature in Europe, on Friday 25 September 2015.

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 of 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.

Richard Wendorf, Director of the Museum, commented, “Professor Sarah Churchwell is an author, journalist, literary prize judge, and prominent academic, known for her work in the field of twentieth-century and contemporary American literature. We are delighted that she will present our Churchill lecture this year.”

She received her BA from Vassar College, and MA and PhD from Princeton University. Professor Churchwell is currently professor of American Literature and public understanding of the humanities at the University of East Anglia, where she has taught since 1999. She has recently been appointed as the University of London’s School of Advanced Study’s first chair in public understanding of the humanities, a post she takes up in October.

Sir Winston Churchill, the son of a British father and an American mother, delivered his first political address at Claverton Manor, now the home of the American Museum, in 1897.

The Lecture takes place at 6.45pm, with a drinks reception from 6pm. For tickets priced at £10 (or £8 for Museum Members) please call 01225 820866 or e- mail

The American Museum in Britain hosts one of the finest collections of American decorative arts outside of the United States displayed in a series of Period Rooms to illustrate life for early Americans from the seventeenth to nineteenth centuries. The collection comprises over 200 historic American quilts, exceptional pieces of Shaker furniture, exuberant Folk Art paintings and sculptures, Native American objects, and Renaissance maps of the New World. Visitors may also explore the extensive grounds, including the Arboretum of American trees.  This year’s special exhibitions include Hatched, Matched, Dispatched and Patched! – textiles interwoven with the stories of people’s lives and Spirit Hawk Eye, a series of photographs by Heidi Laughton capturing Native American culture.

Main Season 14 March – 1 November 2015, Tues – Sun, 12noon-5pm, Closed Mondays except during August and Bank Holidays

Admission, Museum, Exhibition and Gardens: Adults £10.00, Over 60’s & students £9.00, Children (5-   16 years) £5.50, Family ticket £27.50

Gardens only: Adults £6.00, Over 60’s & students £5.00, Children (5-16 years) £3.50

Gift Aid and Membership rates available

Tel: 01225 460503 or e-mail