Enrichment Lecture (E-Series) Reading Literature Today and its Continuing Relevance by Prof. Bashabi Fraser

In continuation of the series of virtual Enrichment Lectures being hosted by the Department of English, the fourth one was organised on 29 April 2020. The speaker for the event was Prof. Bashabi Fraser from Edinburgh Napier University, who spoke on the topic - Reading Literature Today and its Continuing Relevance.


Addressing an audience of the Department's faculty members, and the UG and PG students, Prof. Fraser began the lecture by addressing a probing question about how literature is changing in context with the events of global implications. With the flames of the Australian Bush Fires to a Positive Indian Ocean Dipole, Prof. Fraser discussed the issues and devastating consequences of climate change and its impact on art, and reflections in literature.


Using extracts from selected poems to illustrate certain points in her Talk, Prof. Fraser elaborated further on the effect of changing environmental factors on the language and expression of different poets across the years, covering such events as the Bubonic Plague, and the Cuban Missile Crisis among others, while the lens of perspective was provided through the poems of William Wordsworth, Thomas Hardy, Bob Dylan, etc.


Taking us through the Yemen War, Colonialism, Postcolonialism, Imperialism, and Transnationalism, Prof. Fraser brought together these ideas with relevant texts and eminent writers of the eighteenth and the nineteenth century. Thereafter, she introduced all to the concept of Ecocriticism, an earth-centred approach to literary studies; a study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment. The current pandemic gripping the world was discussed as well, put into sharper perspective with the poem "Lockdown" by Simon Armitage.


The lecture came to an end on a positive note of hope in today’s dark times with the poem "Sometimes" by Sheenagh Pugh, wherein we recognized how literature and art advocate a harmonious relationship between man and nature, one in which we value our natural world and co-operate with it for the revival of the world. A Q&A session followed the lecture, which proved informative for the faculty members and student-attendees of the session.