Demons Land: A poem come true


Screening and public talk by visiting professor Simon Palfrey

Start Date

8th Sep 2017 6:00pm

End Date

8th Sep 2017 7:30pm


Dechaineux Lecture Theatre, School of Creative Arts, Hunter Street, Hobart

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What might it mean for a poem to come true? Demons Land is the story of a rapturous Romantic called The Collector, who in 1798 is transported to an island beneath the known world. He thinks the island savage and formless, and determines to remake it in the image of his favourite poem. That poem is Edmund Spenser's hallucinogenic epic, The Faerie Queene, a poem equally of militant Protestantism and erotic transport, written in the service of the Elizabethan conquest of Ireland. Like the poem that is its inspiration and antitype, Demons Land offers a shadowy allegory of the dreams and crimes of empire ‒ as a political and racial act, and as an expression of sexual desire and imaginative speculation. This vast, conflicted poem becomes the seminal text of the unfinished modern world.

“Painting from Demons land, Tom de Freston, 2017.”

Simon Palfrey is Professor of English Literature at Brasenose College, University of Oxford. He is a founding editor of the Bloomsbury series ‘Shakespeare Now!’ and ‘Beyond Criticism’. His books include Late Shakespeare: A New World of Words (Oxford, 1997), Shakespeare in Parts (Oxford, 2007, with Tiffany Stern), Doing Shakespeare (Arden, 2004, 2nd ed. 2011), Shakespeare's Possible Worlds (Cambridge, 2014), Poor Tom: Living King Lear (Chicago, 2014). His most recent publications are Shakespeare's Dead (Bodleian Library/Chicago, 2016, with Emma Smith) and the novel Macbeth, Macbeth (Bloomsbury, 2016), written with Ewan Fernie.

Click here to watch a short trailer.

Refreshments from 5.30pm.