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Gresham College: Prof. Belinda Jack – The Mysteries of Reading and Writing – #6/6 – How Do Novels Beguile?


About the lecture series

A series of lectures on writing and reading, but also readers and writers, both today and in the past

About the lecture

This lecture will be a controversial questioning of approaches to Creative Writing that are based on rules, do’s and don’ts and other prescriptive guidelines. Considering common principles such as ‘Show don’t tell’, ‘avoid over-writing and foreign vocabulary’, ‘be sparing with adjectives’ and so on, it will be shown how these admonitions are ignored or adapted in the work of notable writers.   

Professor Belinda Jack

Belinda Jack is Fellow and Tutor in French at Christ Church, University of Oxford. She features regularly in the press and media thanks to the popularity and insight of her published works, including books such as The Woman Reader, George Sand: A Woman’s Life Writ Large and Negritude and Literary Criticism: The History and Theory of “Negro-African” Literature in French.

Professor Jack obtained her D.Phil. in Negritude and Literary Criticism at St John’s College, University of Oxford in 1989, having earlier obtained a degree in French with African and Caribbean Studies from the University of Kent. Her academic career over the past twenty years has been at Christ Church, University of Oxford, where she is an ‘Official Student’ (Fellow and Member of the Governing Body) and Tutor in French. Her main interest lies in French literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

As well as her five books, Professor Jack is widely published through her many articles, essays, chapters and reviews. Her recent articles and reviews have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, Literary Review, Times Literary Supplement, Times Higher Education Supplement, BBC History Magazine and Littérature. She is a regular on the BBC and international radio and television, as well as a frequent speaker at literary festivals throughout the British Isles and beyond.

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