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What's wrong with wrongdoing?

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The ongoing popularity of crime novels and crime drama on television attests to our interest in the wrongdoings done by others. This lecture looks at the dynamics of the reader (or viewer) and the cultures of wrongdoing. It does so not through contemporary examples but via popular literature of the 19th century. Simple in form, and directed towards a reading public that in general lacked sophistication, these popular texts allow us to think about how we engage with victims, perpetrators, those who lament (or moan) and those who are braggarts. A central question is that of why we take pleasure and interest in these texts. If we think along the lines, ‘What’s in it for us?’, is there anything ‘wrong’ in what might be in it for us? The examples are drawn from Spanish and English popular literature currently on display at the exhibition ‘Read all about it! Wrongdoing in Spain and England in the long nineteenth century’, available on the Cambridge University Library website.

Alison Sinclair is Professor of Modern Spanish Literature and Intellectual History in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese, and Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge. Her research and teaching range covers 19th-century and early 20th-century Peninsular literature, culture and intellectual history.

Booking is essential as places are limited – book online via the ICE website

This talk is part of the Madingley Lectures series.

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