Ladies of the Left Bank

Wed
05th July 2017 19:30
Wiltons Music Hall
Graces Alley, London E1 8JB
Paris between the wars was a hotbed of radical female experience, with Gertrude Stein, HD, Djuna Barnes and Mina Loy regrafting identity through the language of feminism and sexual politics. Be transported to the salons of the Parisian Left Bank as we celebrate these revolutionary women in their own words with poetry performed by Lisa Dwan.

This group of poets transformed the capacities of language to tell alternative stories, challenging the experiences of the expatriate community in Paris. Here they found an opportunity to develop personal lives and narratives liberated from categorisation. In their venture to rebuild Lesbos in Paris they found themselves simultaneously as midwives to the birth of modernism.

Alongside Lisa, we are joined by three remarkable women of their own generations, Prudence ChamberlainPeggy Reynolds and Diana Souhami to celebrate the great poetry of this cohort, the role of their sexuality in shaping Modernism, and their radical feminist perspectives.

Lisa Dwan is a world renowned Irish performer and director. She has worked extensively in theatre, film, and television, and is perhaps best known for her interpretations of Beckett. In 2012, she adapted, produced, and performed the critically acclaimed one-woman play Beside the Sea at the Southbank Centre. Dwan writes, presents, and lectures regularly on theatre, and culture, and has been commissioned to write a book on Beckett for Virago. She is artist in residence at the School of Art and Ballet at NYU and on an Atelier residency at Princeton University. Lisa will be reading poetry throughout the evening.

Prudence Chamberlain is a Lecturer in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway University, London. Her book The Fourth Wave of Feminism: Affective Temporality (2017) was published by Palgrave Macmillan, while her articles on feminism can be found in Gender and Education and Social Movement Studies. She is currently working on her second book, Queer Troublemakers and the Poetics of Flippancy, which traces a lineage of identity politics and mischief, originating in the work of Gertrude Stein. Prue will be providing an overview to the poetry and context of the period.

Peggy Reynolds is Professor of English Literature at Queen Mary University. She was awarded the British Academy’s Rose Mary Crawshay Prize for her critical edition of Elizabeth Barret Browning's verse novel, Aurora Leigh, a ‘forgotten’ text re-discovered by important feminist critics like Cora Kaplan. She is the author of The Sappho Companion and writes regularly for The Times and the Guardian. Peggy is the presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Adventures in Poetry. Peggy will be remembering the radical feminists of the Left Bank.

Diana Souhami is a Whitbread award-winning English writer of biographies, short stories, plays, with a particular interest in the influence of the twentieth century lesbian. Her biography, Gertrude and Alice follows the relationship between Getrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, from their first meeting until Stein's death in 1946. Diana will be considering the role of lesbian literature in relation to Modernism.
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