The Clark Lectures

Virginia was asked in 1932 to give a prestigious ‘Clark lecture’ at the University of Cambridge. She refused (as a woman, she had once been shooed of the grass) and she thought ‘that what she wanted to talk about was not the kind of thing that the dons of Trinity would want to hear’ (Alexandra Harris, Virginia Woolf).

The Clark Lectures are on aspects of English literature. Past Clark Lecturers have included T.S. Eliot, E.M. Forster, C.S. Lewis, F.R. Leavis, Toni Morrison and Seamus Heaney. In 1888 Leslie Stephen, Virginia’s father, delivered a lecture on ‘English Literature’.

I have found out that in 1932 the poet, author and critic, Edmund Blunden (1896 – 1974) delivered the talk, presumably instead of Virginia.


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