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Chesterton and the City


G. K. Chesterton and the Paradox of the City

UCL, 22 September 2011

G. K. Chesterton’s writing about London bristles with a sense of the  contradictions endemic to urban life and, perhaps as a result, it is stimulatingly difficult to pin down politically or in terms of the history of ideas. Cities inspired some of his most apposite and illuminating comments about modernity but also provoked many of his most problematic and reactionary pronouncements. This symposium, on 22 September 2011, held at University College London, where Chesterton was briefly a reluctant student, is hosted by the City Centre. 'G. K Chesterton and the Paradox of the City' will mark the 75th anniversary of the author’s death by exploring the complex role of the urban in his work.

This event is free-of-charge, and is funded by the UCL English
Department. Please contact Dr. Matthew Beaumont to reserve a place.


G. K. Chesterton and the Paradox of the City

(Room 101, Foster Court, UCL)

11.15 – Introduction

11.30 Panel 1 – Urban Foolery

Colin Cavendish-Jones (St. Andrews): ‘Hymns on the Hill: The Poetry and Paradox of London in the Works of G.K. Chesterton’

Ellen Diver (Durham): ‘The Nonsense of Notting Hill: Dissolving and Resolving the City through Linguistic Play’

Michael Shallcross (Durham): ‘Puck in Pimlico: Urban Incongruity and Boundaried Play in “The Blue Cross”’

13:00 LUNCH (provided for speakers)

14.00 Panel 2 - The Property of Cities

Luke Seaber (Turin), ‘“Guide-book laws”: Chesterton as Non-Observer of Italian Cities’

Matthew Taunton (QMUL): ‘Distributism and the City’

Matthew Ingleby (UCL): ‘Chesterton and the Romance of Burglary’

15:30 COFFEE

16:00 Panel 3 - Traces Beneath

Matthew Beaumont (UCL): ‘The Knight Errant in the Street: Chesterton, Childe Roland and the City’

Merrick Burrow (Huddersfield): ‘The Club of Queer Trades: Homosociality and the City’

Nicholas Freeman (Loughborough): ‘Finding London in London: Chesterton’s Invisible City’

17:45 Roundtable

18:30 Drinks Reception

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