A girl walking in front of a projection of a flowering tree

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

Related: The Future of the Humanities Project

Over the course of the 2022-2023 academic year, the Future of the Humanities Project is sponsoring a series of lectures on literature, art, and the environment in collaboration with Campion Hall, Oxford, and Blackfriars Hall, Oxford.

In this series, we hear from eminent speakers about the way that art and literature have through the ages foregrounded the inspirational beauty, delicacy, and strength of the natural world of which we are a part. We will also ask how art and literature can intervene in a world dominated by environmental desecration. Can art and literature suggest new ways of relating to the natural world? Is it possible, as Freya Mathews asks, for us to “sing the world” and thus to develop poetic and artistic rapport with the earth in its "inner dimensions"? In the first online events of the series taking place this fall, our speakers will examine examples from literature, theatre, visual arts, and photography. The hour-long virtual events will include a Q&A with the audience. All events will take place at 11:00 a.m. ET/4:00 p.m. UK.

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Event Series

A detail of embroidery artwork by Phoebe Anna Traquair of an angel with orange hair and wings
Mar
14
2023

Phoebe Anna Traquair, Dante, and William Blake

Phoebe Anna Traquair (1852-1936) was one of the leading contributors to the British arts and crafts movement, and she was one of the first three women elected to the Royal Scottish Academy. Born in…

Aerial view of London
Feb
28
2023

Nature as a Respite from Poverty

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…

A painting consisting of shades of blue, yellow, and magenta which blend together
Feb
7
2023

The Language of Color: Private and Public Eudemonia

Estelle Thompson is a British abstract painter who lives and works in London and Barbados. In this talk, she will look at her use of light and color in painting and built environment public…

A wooden house on fire
Jan
31
2023

J.M.W. Turner's Burning World

In this talk, Nathan Hensley will show how J.M.W. Turner’s still-astonishing paintings of Victorian energy transition capture a society in the midst of realizing it was killing itself. With readings…