This lecture by Dr Nick Groom will introduce the poetry of Thomas Chatterton to a contemporary audience. Chatterton’s multi-facetted work runs from scathing satire to some of the earliest anti-slavery poetry ever written, and among his extraordinarily diverse writing are moments of insight that can help us think through the challenges and dilemmas of the twenty-first century.
While Chatterton’s obsessive invention of mediaeval Bristol certainly makes his writing unique, it also
risks alienating readers. Why should we bother reading him today, unless we have a particular interest in eighteenth-century literature that describes the past? In fact, not only does Chatterton’s phenomenally imaginative recreation of the Middle Ages have striking significance today, it is in any case only one aspect of his writing.
Presented in association with Bristol Poetry Institute and Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, supported by National Heritage Fund.