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Literature Research Unit Conferences and Seminars 2011

2011 Seminars

July 28

Transcendencies: Some Ins and Outs of the Avant-Garde

Professor Kevin Hart

This paper undertakes an examination of the roles that transcendence plays in avant garde poetics in English writing, and focuses on Gerard Manley Hopkins and some others. It is also concerned with the question of what gets included in and excluded from the canon of avant-garde poetry in English, and asks why is it that Hopkins, for example, does not get acknowledged as "avant-garde"?

Kevin Hart is Chairman and Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Christian Studies in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia where he also holds professorships in the Departments of English and French, and Professor of Philosophy at the Australian Catholic University. His most recent book of poems is Morning Knowledge (Notre Dame UP) and his most recent scholarly work is Clandestine Encounters: Philosophy in the Narratives of Maurice Blanchot (Notre Dame UP). He is currently completing Jean-Luc Marion: The Essential Writings for Fordham UP.

August 22

The Poetry of Nests

Can the nests of some birds be regarded as works of art, as aesthetic creations worthy of our admiration?

Illustration from

Dr Janine Burke

Janine Burke's forthcoming book Nest: The Art of Birds explores the view, first espoused by Darwin in The Descent of Man, that birds have 'fine powers of discrimination' and in some instances could be shown to 'have a taste for the beautiful'. More recently, Deleuze and Guattari have emphasised the link between nature and art, conjecturing that 'art begins with the animal...at least with the animal that carves out a territory and constructs a house'. Such an animal can be 'a complete artist' who creates 'a total work of art'. In Dr Burke's seminar, 'The Poetry of Nests', she discusses the 'art of nests' before examining the work of several poets, including Shelley, Wordsworth, Emily Dickinson and John Clare, who have representated the nest and its metaphors in major poems.

Dr Janine Burke is an art historian, biographer and novelist. Between 1977-1982, she lectured in art history at the Victorian College of the Arts. In 1987, she won the Victorian Premier's Award for her novel Second Sight. Her series of books about the Heide circle includes The Heart Garden: Sunday Reed and Heide (2004), Australian Gothic, A Life of Albert Tucker (2002) and Joy Hester (1983). With the Freud Museum London, she curated 'An Archaeology of the Mind: Sigmund Freud's Art Collection' for Monash University Museum of Art. The Gods of Freud: Sigmund Freud's Art Collection was shortlisted for the 2007 NSW Premier's Award for non-fiction. Recently she published Source: Nature's Healing Role in Art Writing (Allen& Unwin: 2009). In May 2011, she held her first exhibition 'Personal View: Photographs 1978-1986' at VCA Margaret Lawrence Gallery. Nest: The Art of Birds (Allen& Unwin) will be published in November. She is a Research Fellow, Schools of ECPS and PSI, Monash University, and Director, Social Aesthetics Research Unit, ECPS, Monash University.

  • Monday August 22, 2011
  • 1-2pm
  • ECPS Library (Menzies Building, room W710), Monash Clayton campus

Past and Present Conferences and Seminars

Visit our archives of conferences and seminars - recordings of many papers are available for download: