Public Talk: Prof Christina Lupton (Copenhagen): 'The First Person at Work: Helen Garner, Hannah Arendt, and Wages for Housework'
|13 June 2023
|13:00 - 14:30
|What is it:
|School of Arts, Languages and Cultures
|Who is it for:
|University staff, External researchers, Adults, Alumni, Current University students, General public, Post 16
This event is part of the English, American Studies and Creative Writing research seminar, co-sponsored by the Centre for the Study of Sexuality and Culture
Professor Christina Lupton is professor in the Department of English, Germanic and Romance Studies at the University of Copenhagen. Among her many works on the history and current practice of reading are: 'Reading Novels During the Covid-19 Pandemic' (OUP 2022) and 'Reading and the Making of Time' (JHU, 2018), as well as 'Love and the Nove'l, a personal account of life as a reader of fiction, with Profile Press. She is now working on a project titled 'Paid Leaves: Literature, Work, and Time since 1970', which explores the way different strands of twentieth-century theory have imagined the reorganization of the worker’s day and the time to be given to education.
This paper explores the representation of work in Helen Garner’s first-person fictions 'Monkey Grip' and 'The Spare Room'. Like the Wages for Housework Campaigners in the 1970s, Garner showcases domestic duty and care while refusing to privilege professional endeavor such as writing. Garner prefers to emphasize housework as part of a larger argument for work as a category of activity that should be limited, with more space held for community and for leisure. And yet her writing itself is an activity difficult to reconcile with these categories. The paper thus turns in the end to Arendt’s 'Human Condition' for help with opening up the work/non-work binary to that third space of private, creative endeavor. In the end I suggest that Arendt’s theory, along with the Wages for Housework provocation, helps explain how Garner’s first-person fiction registers writing as quietly important precisely because it is not ‘work.’
Travel and Contact Information
C1.18 (Graduate School Conference Room)
Ellen Wilkinson Building