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QMCECS Lunchtime Seminar Dec 1 2016: Eric Parisot

November 17, 2016

In addition to our regular evening seminar, QMCECS invites you to a supernumerary lunchtime seminar

QMCECS Lunchtime Seminar
in association with the Centre for the History of the Emotions

Thursday 1 December, 1-2pm:

Eric Parisot (Flinders University, Australia),

‘Laughing at John Damer: The Reformative Ethics of George Colman’s The Suicide, A Comedy (1778)’

When the Hon. John Damer—the profligate son of Lord Milton and husband to prominent socialite and sculptor Anne Damer— took his life in 1776, it sparked a number of responses in the correspondence of the bon ton, satirical poetry, fiction and drama. Horace Walpole gave a rather nonchalant description of events, replete with playful classical monikers, concluding with one of his favourite aphorisms: “this world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel”. In contrast, George Colman decided to test the ethics of laughing at suicide in his sentimental comedy, The Suicide (1778). Labelled “a very dangerous subject” by David Garrick, this domestic comedy raises matters of class, social obligation, and their relation to genuine nobility in tracing the self-destructive foibles of young Tobine. The paper reflects on why people might have found it appropriate to laugh about suicide in the late eighteenth century, what ethical concerns were raised by laughing at other people’s self-destruction, and indeed, why we no longer deem the topic of suicide as appropriate laughing matter.

Venue: ArtsTwo in room 2.17

All welcome: lunch will be provided

Please note, the seminar on Wednesday 23 November has been cancelled
Wednesday 23 November 2016, 5-7pm:
Elin Jones (QMUL): ‘Frying Clocks and Buying Geegaws: Irrational Consumption and the Naval Seaman in the Eighteenth Century’ [Chair: Miles Ogborn]
Venue: Seminar Room, Lock-Keeper’s Cottage Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, London, E1 4NS.


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