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In this paper, Hetta Howes (City University of London) will discuss Maria Dahvana Headley’s The Mere Wife, a contemporary, feminist retelling of the epic medieval poem Beowulf. The paper will explore how the novel is inspired by a variety of medieval genres, such as saints’ lives and devotional writings, in its exploration of the perils and the plenty of solitude. In particular, it will argue that Headley pays homage to such medieval works in her use of nature as a vehicle for articulating not only the loneliness attendant on solitude but also the transformative spaces it can create, in which different kinds of connection can be forged.

All are welcome – this is a free event, but booking is required.