Literary Theory and the Umberleigh Pantomime

I recently reserved a ticket for Terry Eagleton’s forthcoming Prokhorov Lecture on 29 April at Sheffield viagra per nachnahme.  Seeing this event advertised prompted me to revisit literary theory in a systematic way.  I read Eagleton’s Literary Theory: An Introduction when it first came out in 1983.

I am currently looking at Raman Selden and Peter Widdowson’s Contemporary Literary Theory. I chose this book because I remember Ray Selden’s brilliant lectures when I was an undergraduate at Durham in the early 1970s.  His wide-ranging presentation of theory was demanding but extremely engaging and enlightening.  Having discovered that Ray had died some time ago (at the early age of 53), I was interested to revisit his work.  It was a delight to find that he had first published The Theory of Criticism: from Plato to the Present in 1988 and it is still in print. My copy is of the eighth impression, from 1996, so demand has been good.  In the preface of this collection, Ray Selden notes that, “The earliest version of the anthology was produced for the uncomplaining students of English at the University of Durham in 1972.”  I am grateful to have been one of his guinea-pigs.  Being something of a hoarder, I have just searched out and found my notes from the 1972 lectures.  Sadly, I can’t find the two, fat, duplicated tomes Ray distributed for his Durham students.

I am uncertain of which literary theory to apply to an analysis of the Umberleigh pantomime which we went to last Saturday.  It was, however, hugely entertaining.  It is very good indeed to see that the tradition of village hall entertainment is still as lively in North Devon as it was when I moved here from London in the mid-70s.  I am always astonished at the wide-ranging talents of my friends and neighbours; and this year’s production by The Really Useless Theatre Company was one of the funniest ever.

Umberleigh Pantomime ticket


Umberleigh pantomime ticket designed by Bill Castle and reproduced here with his kind permission

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