The Rhythm Method: Stuttering, Syncopation, Race

  • Date: –16:45
  • Location: Engelska parken 16-3062 (Stora konferensrummet)
  • Lecturer: Ewan Jones (Cambridge University & SCAS)
  • Organiser: LILAe
  • Contact person: Julie Hansen
  • Seminarium

This talk derives from a wider book project, which seeks to write a history of the concept of rhythm over the nineteenth century. I demonstrate that one of the first sustained usages of the word ‘rhythm’ emerges in the clinical effort to cure stuttering. Poetry and the treatment of speech dyspraxia form a sustained—yet overlooked—dialectic: Joshua Steele’s Prosodia Rationalis (1779) directly inspires a range of medical practitioners to use poetic recitation as a means of curing stuttering; yet in several cases, the relevant poems actively resist the clinical ends to which they are put. As an example of this tendency, I concentrate upon the verse of Robert Browning, before concluding with a broader discussion of the ways in which speech dyspraxia shapes the discourse of race in the nineteenth century. In addition to scholars of poetry and of the nineteenth century, I hope that this talk will appeal more broadly to those interested in intellectual history and/or aesthetics. Ewan Jones is University Lecturer in the Nineteenth Century at the Faculty of English, Cambridge. He is the author of Coleridge and the Philosophy of Poetic Form (CUP, 2014), and of several articles appearing in Representations, ELH and other venues. He is also a member of the Cambridge Concept Lab, which seeks to employ digital techniques to track the emergence and transformation of concepts in large historical datasets. He is a resident fellow at the Swedish Collegium of Advanced Study for the academic year 2019/2020.

The seminar will be followed by a post-seminar. Please sign up here to attend: