English Literature

The Susan Manning Memorial Lecture 2019: Professor Adam Piette

This year’s Susan Manning Memorial Lecture will be an exploration of 'The Revolutionary Double Agent and Cold War Citizenship' by Professor Adam Piette (University of Sheffield).

Tickets are free but must be booked online through Eventbrite.

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About Adam Piette and the 2019 Lecture

Professor Adam Piette is author of The Literary Cold War, 1945 to Vietnam (Edinburgh University Press, 2009), the culmination of a Leverhulme Major Research Fellowship. He co-edited with Mark Rawlinson The Edinburgh Companion to Twentieth-Century British and American War Literature (Edinburgh University Press, 2012). He is currently researching Beckett, espionage fiction, contemporary poetry, the Cold War and the construction of Europe. He helps run the Cultures of the Cold War network.

Adam's lecture will explore the figure of the double agent as it tests notions of citizenship mid-century, specifically the clash or fusion of internationalist/nationalist definitions of citizen loyalty in the construction of the traitor ‘revolutionary’ citizen. He will be looking at Kaminsky in Rebecca West’s 1966 historical novel The Birds Fall Down as a late rewriting of the double agent, which West had theorized through her analyses of William Joyce ('Lord Haw-Haw')'s wartime propaganda and Stephen Ward in the Profumo Affair of the early 1960s. West’s thinking draws on Hannah Arendt’s writings on the double agent in Origins of Totalitarianism. The paper will conclude with consideration of Samuel Beckett’s early 1950s work, Texts for Nothing, and its exploration of the outcast from the city as ideological outsider-traitor signifying the Cold War citizen divided along the lines of internalized political binaries.

About the Susan Manning Memorial Lecture

Professor Susan Manning was Grierson Professor of English Literature and Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities (IASH) at the University of Edinburgh until her unexpected death in 2013.

This annual lecture is in memory of her as an internationally renowned academic with wide interests, particularly in Transatlanticism, and as an inspiring influence for an international coterie of scholars in the humanities.

Previous lectures have been given by Hermione Lee, David Bromwich, Caryl Phillips, and Janice Galloway.

We are delighted that this year’s lecture will take place on the eve of the opening of Edinburgh Spy Week, our annual celebration of espionage fiction and film.

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Image on banner: “Janus”- watercolour by Tony Grist, made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

Related links

Edinburgh Spy Week [external website]

Apr 05 2019 -

The Susan Manning Memorial Lecture 2019: Professor Adam Piette

On the eve of Edinburgh Spy Week, join us for an exploration of 'The Revolutionary Double Agent and Cold War Citizenship' by Professor Adam Piette (University of Sheffield).

Project Room (1.06)
50 George Square