This term the Science and Literature Reading Group gets down to earth. We will complete our cycle of themes based on the four ancient elements by exploring how different authors have tackled terrestrial topics, from muddy slimescapes to sublime mountain-top.
We are delighted to meet in an appropriate new venue: the Watson Gallery of the Department of Earth Sciences. Many thanks to Simon Crowhurst for arranging this! Directions can be found at the bottom of this post.
All are welcome to join in our wide-ranging and friendly discussions, which take place fortnightly on Monday evenings from 7.30-9pm.
16th October - Stone
- Pliny, Natural History, books XXXVI ('The Natural History of Stones') and XXXVII ('The Natural History of Precious Stones')
- Ludvig Holberg (trans. John Gierlow), Niels Klim’s Journey Under the Ground (1741; 1845 edition)
- Edmond Halley, 'An Account of the Cause of the Variation of the Magnetical Needle; With an Hypothesis of the Structure of the Internal Parts of the Earth: As It Was Proposed to the Royal Society in One of Their Late Meetings' (1753)
- Elizabeth Parker, ‘The Alpine Club of Canada’, Canadian Alpine Journal I:1 (1907), 3-8.
- Mary T. S. Schaffer, ‘Untrodden Ways’, Canadian Alpine Journal I:2 (1908), 288-294.
- Mary E. Crawford, ‘Mountain Climbing for Women’, Canadian Alpine Journal II:1 (1909), 85-91.
- Ethel Jones, ‘A Graduating Climb’, Canadian Alpine Journal II:2 (1910), 158-164.
- Mary M. Vaux, ‘Observations on Glaciers in 1910’, Canadian Alpine Journal III (1911), 127-130.
Read as many poems from our muddy anthology as you'd like:
- Mary Borden, from ‘At the Somme: The Song of the Mud’ (1917)
- U A Fanthorpe, ‘Earthed’
- Seamus Heaney, ‘Digging’ (1966)
- Andrew Hudgins, ‘Child on the Marsh’ (1988)
- Curzio Malaparte, translated by Water Murch, ‘Xian of Eight Rivers’ (2012)
- Roger McGough, ‘Soil’
- Jana Prikryl, ‘Geodes of the Western Hemisphere’ (2016)
- Helen Saunders, ‘A Vision of Mud’ (1915)
- Robert William Service, ‘Mud’
- Joyce Sidman, ‘Into the Mud’ (2005)
- George Szirtes, ‘Soil’ (2000)
- Tess Taylor, ‘Mud Season’ (2016)
- Alison Townsend, ‘Mud poem’ (2002)
- John Vernon, ‘Mud Man’ (1982)
Directions to the Watson Gallery:
Enter the Downing Site and go to the Earth Sciences entrance below the steps to come in, i.e. not the museum entrance but the departmental entrance below it. If you find yourself locked out of the building, attendess can get themselves let in by waving outside the big arched ground floor windows on the Downing Site, beyond the steps with the stone bears, where the Anglo-Saxon sarcophaguses stand.