February 28, 2023

Nature as a Respite from Poverty

Parks and Recreation in the Inter-War Novels of Jewish London East End Writers

Event Series: A Bent but Beautiful World: Literature, Art, and the Environment

Showing the Nature as a Respite from Poverty Video

In this talk, Tali Chilson will discuss how Jewish writers from London’s East End reconstructed a slum that was home to a community of working-class immigrants living in abject poverty. She will consider how a local public park and excursions to the countryside came to represent what little respite they could afford to remedy the plight of urban pressure. However, what would at first appear to be innocuous pursuits of recreation in fact unearth issues concerning dislocation, acculturation, and assimilation. Chilson will discuss writers such as Simon Blumenfeld, Ashley Smith, Willy Goldman, Charles Poulsen, Bernard Kops, and Arnold Wesker.

Michael Scott, director of the Future of the Humanities Project, will provide opening and closing remarks, and Kathryn Temple, a Future of the Humanities Project senior fellow, will moderate a Q&A session following the presentation.

This event is sponsored by the Future of the Humanities Project; the Georgetown Humanities Initiative; the Georgetown Master's Program in the Engaged and Public HumanitiesCampion Hall, Oxford; and the Las Casas Institute (Blackfriars Hall, Oxford). It is part of the one-year-long series A Bent but Beautiful World: Literature, Art, and the Environment.


Tali Chilson

Tali Chilson

Tali Chilson is a scholar of Hebrew and Jewish literature who has taught at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and the Oriental Institute for over a decade. Since 2012 she has been affiliated with Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. Chilson’s current research is focused on Anglo-Jewish literature with particular interest in what she describes as the “Anglo-Jewish Literary Revival.” She holds a Ph.D. in Jewish studies from the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Her doctoral thesis on Israeli poet Yair Hurwitz was turned into the book A Lonely Bird on a Rooftop (2007).

Kathryn Temple

Kathryn Temple

Kathryn Temple (moderator) is a professor in the Department of English at Georgetown University where she has taught since 1994. She specializes in the study of law and the humanities. Among her publications are Loving Justice: Legal Emotions in William Blackstone’s England (2019) and the co-edited Research Handbook on Law and Emotions (2021). Her humanities outreach activities include work with military veterans and the incarcerated.