Chatterton Lecture on Poetry, delivered by Dr Matthew Bevis, on 1 November 2012 (venue: The British Academy).
'Verily I am an odd bird', Edward Lear wrote in his diary in 1860. This lecture examined a range of odd encounters between birds and people in Lear's paintings, illustrations, and poems. It considered how his interest in birds - an interest at once scientific and aesthetic - helped to shape his nonsense writings. Dr Matthew Bevis suggests that poetic and pictorial lines of flight became, for Lear, a means of exploring the claims that art might make on our attention, and the insights that this attention may foster.
About the Speaker
Matthew Bevis is a Lecturer in English and a Fellow of Keble College at the University of Oxford. He is the author of The Art of Eloquence: Byron, Dickens, Tennyson, Joyce (2007), Some Versions of Empson, ed. (2007), and Comedy: A Very Short Introduction (2012).