Thursday, December 10, 2020

David Lindsay (Edinburgh Event)

So, I spent my birthday attending an online conference hosted by the University of Edinburgh, celebrating the work of David Lindsay on the occasion of the hundredth anniversary of the publication of his best-known book, A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS. 

There were papers and presentations on ARCTURUS, on his lesser known works, and on film and instrumental adaptations (I liked the piano/cello piece). The talk I got the most out of was Doug Anderson's, full of information cogently presented. And it was nice to see the tribute to J. B. Pick, who more or less invented Lindsay criticism. There was also a thoughtful inquiry into why Lindsay is increasingly being categorized as a Scottish writer rather than English. All in all, the standard of presentations was good. One or two pieces seemed to me to fall short of the mark, but to be fair this might have been fuzziness on my part due to time-zone issues.*

Those issues were the inevitable result of my attending (via zoom) an event that was taking place eight time zones away. Thus I had to get up at four a.m. to be ready for the event's start at 1 pm their time (five a.m. my time). Then it ran all the way to six p.m. their time (ten a.m. my time). Luckily I had a thermos full of tea (Yunnan) to see me through.

There were I think about twenty-five people in attendance -- not bad, considering that Lindsay has never been a popular author, being somewhat of an acquired taste. Here's a list of the papers, presenters, and sequence: 


A Voyage to Arcturus and Beyond: David Lindsay’s Visionary Imagination: Wed December 9, 2020




1pm: Introduction: Seán Martin, Louise Milne, Steven Sutcliffe

Session One, 1.10-2.20pm: A Voyage to Arcturus (1920) One Hundred Years Later

Chair: Seán Martin


Talk 1/1.10-1.30: Dr J D McClure – ‘Arcturus and After’


Talk 2/1.30-1.50: Dr Louise Milne – ‘Early Twentieth Century Dream Cultures as context for Arcturus


Talk 3/1.50-2.10: Murray Ewing – The Cultural Influence of A Voyage to Arcturus’


2.10-2.20: Questions

Session Two, 2.20-3.30pm: After Arcturus: From The Haunted Woman to The Witch

Chair: Louise Milne


Talk 4/2.20-2.40:  Dr Steven Sutcliffe – ‘The Struggle to Remember in The Haunted Woman and The Violet Apple


Talk 5/2.40-3.00: Dr Andrew Radford – Devil's Tor: Going After Strange Gods’


Talk 6/3.00-3.20: Dr John Herdman - The Witch: David Lindsay's Quest of the Absolute.’


3.20-3.30: Questions


3.30-3.45: Tea/coffee break


Session Three, 3.45-5.15pm: Genre and Media

Chair: Steven Sutcliffe


Talk 7/3.45-4.05: Jan Pick – John Barclay Pick: Keeper of the Flame’


Talk 8/4.05-4.25: Douglas A. Anderson - ‘David Lindsay and the Fantasy Genre’


Talk 9/4.25-4.45: David Power – David Lindsay and Music'


Talk 10/4.45-5.05: Seán Martin – ‘Representing the Unrepresentable: Reflections on Filming David Lindsay’s Sublime’.


5.05-5.15: Questions


Respondant to the Talks 5.15-5.30

Chair: Steven Sutcliffe


Prof Christine Ferguson – ‘David Lindsay and 20th Visionary Fiction’ 

5.30 – 6.00: Questions and Discussion: Chair: Seán Martin

Unlike the Lindsay event a few weeks ago in Glasgow, this one was a paid event and will not be going up on You-Tube, or so I understand. There was mention of a published volume, which wd be a good thing.

--John R.

*I do have to confess my surprise when one comment in the general discussion that followed the event proper suggested that Lindsay's VIOLET APPLE inspired the apple scene in C. S. Lewis's THE MAGICIAN'S NEPHEW. Not likely, I shd have thought, seeing that Lewis never saw Lindsay's book nor knew of its existence (it was published in 1976, some thirty years after Lindsay's death and a dozen years after Lewis died). I was also dubious of a thread raised in the closing discussion asserting that Lindsay must have taken psychotropic drugs in order to imagine the things that he wrote about, for which there seems to be no evidence whatever.



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