Literatures, Languages & Cultures

Between Spoils and Gifts

Professor Susan Stewart (Princeton University)

This talk looks closely at Ian Hamilton Finlay's place in the art history of his time by considering his most fundamental departure from prevailing avant-garde practice: that is, his immersion in history. Focusing upon his ‘Roman’ practices of epigraphy and spoliation and his larger transformation of the bounds of the gesamtkunstwerk, we can glimpse the many ways he pursued an art that could evade the novelty of the present. Hamilton Finlay took a long, difficult, and revisionary journey through the past in an effort to reach into the future.

Susan Stewart is the Avalon Foundation University Professor in the Humanities: Professor of English at Princeton University. She is an award-winning poet and critic. Her books include: Poetry and the Fate of the Senses (2002); The Open Studio (2005); On Longing: Narratives of the Miniature, the Gigantic, the Souvenir, the Collection (1984) and most recently, The Poet’s Freedom: A Notebook on Making (2011).

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This open lecture forms part of the symposium ‘Ian Hamilton Finlay: Little Fields, Long Horizons’ supported by the British Academy, the School of Literatures, Languages and Cultures and the Department of English and Scottish Literature.

Engraved stone in Little Sparta, the home of Ian Hamilton Finlay
Jul 14 2017 -

Between Spoils and Gifts

This talk by Prof Susan Stewart, Princeton University, looks closely at Ian Hamilton Finlay's place in the art history of his time by considering his most fundamental departure from prevailing avant-garde practice: that is, his immersion in history.

Screening room (G.04)
50 George Square
Edinburgh
EH8 9LH