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English Department's 30th Annual Josephine Gessner Ferguson Lecture

Uptown Campus


Woldenberg Art Center


Freeman Auditorium

"Never Treat Characters as if They were Real People": On the Origins and Future of a Taboo
In 1933, the young British critic L. C. Knights published a little book called How Many Children Had Lady Macbeth? The essay argued vigorously for a new kind of literary criticism, one capable of doing justice to the new, modernist literature that had begun to emerge after World War I.  L. C. Knights's major target was what he took to be the old-fashioned critics' infuriating tendency to treat characters as if they were real people. Literary texts are made up of words; the task of a serious...

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