Queer loss, queer Classics: A. E. Housman’s ‘lost country’
Talk by Jennifer Ingleheart
Queer people have often experienced losses, such as missing the opportunity for marriage and children, the pain of unrequited love, and the potential loss of reputation and liberty. A. E. Housman (1859-1936) writes movingly in his poetry about various losses, including his unhappy love for Moses Jackson, who could not return his feelings. Many of his poems approach the theme of loss and attempt to find consolation for his loss through the framework of the Classics.
This talk looks at how Classics enabled Housman, a classical scholar and professor of Latin at Cambridge, to come to terms with loss. Housman has the reputation of being a divided man, who wrote very impersonal works of scholarship, and reserved his emotions for his poetry. This talk argues that Housman’s different personas and life were far more similar than this stereotype allows, and that he takes similar approaches to queer loss in his verse and his academic work. We will also explore the presentation of Housman’s attempts to deal with loss through the Classics in the fictionalised account of his life found in Tom Stoppard’s 1997 play The Invention of Love. Finally, the talk considers what Housman’s approach to loss as a queer classicist means for queer classicists and for queer people today.
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Jennifer Ingleheart is Professor of Latin at Durham University, where she has taught since 2004. She has published widely on Latin love poetry and on the ways in which Roman sexuality has influenced the modern world. Her recent projects have focused on Latin as a queer private language and on receptions of Rome in erotica and pornographic works.
The Old Council Chamber, Wills Memorial Building, Queens Road, Bristol, BS8 1RJ
The talk will be preceded by the Annual General Meeting of OutStories Bristol (very brief!).
Everyone is welcome to both the AGM and talk. Admission and refreshments are free but a small donation towards the running costs of OutStories Bristol would be appreciated. Please book on Eventbrite so we know numbers.
The Old Council Chamber is on the first floor of the Wills Memorial Building – go up the main stairs and turn right.
Disabled parking is on the left side of the building with a lift to the first floor.
This is the 6th Annual John Addington Symonds Celebration event held by OutStories Bristol in collaboration with the University of Bristol’s Institute of Greece, Rome, and the Classical Tradition (IGRCT). Our thanks to them for sponsoring this event.
John Addington Symonds (1840-1893) was a Bristol-based writer, art historian and pioneer of homosexual rights. 5th October is his birthday!