Lost Prophets: George Dawson and the Unfinished Nineteenth Century

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Room 101, Level 1

Library of Birmingham

Centenary Square

Birmingham

B1 2ND

United Kingdom

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This, the 2019 Chris Upton Memorial Lecture at the Library of Birmingham, will be given by Ewan Fernie, Chair, Professor and Fellow of Shakespeare Studies at the Shakespeare Institute, University of Birmingham, and Director of the 'Everything to Everybody' Project.

This lecture tells the story of what Ewan Fernie terms 'the unfinished nineteenth century', the story of a better world which we still have yet to attain. Ewan will redeem 'the unfinished nineteenth century' from the widespread prejudice that all Victorian culture is stuffy and superseded.

He will sketch the careers of a number of colourful contemporaries, such as Thomas Carlyle, John Ruskin and Eleanor (daughter of Karl) Marx, who wanted to reinvent the world. He will also show how Birmingham in general - and the neglected Birmingham hero, George Dawson, in particular - made a central, often underestimated, and singularly realistic contribution to that inspiring dream.

If nineteenth-century Birmingham was 'the workshop of the world', turning out vast quantities of new-fangled commodities, it was equally a workshop which aimed to produce nothing less than a new minted version of urban civilization itself. Ewan will hold up Dawson and nineteenth-century Birmingham as beacons of cultural and political ambition even today.

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Room 101, Level 1

Library of Birmingham

Centenary Square

Birmingham

B1 2ND

United Kingdom

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