Maura Nolan, Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley, will present a lecture, co-sponsored by the English Dept., that focuses on the locus of individuality in the human body, the face, and its representation in several medieval and modern works of art that engage with the dynamic between type and individual. In her lecture, she argues both that the face is a paradigmatic instance of the working of form within human culture, and that examining representations of faces can show us that arguments about the origins of subjectivity have fundamentally misunderstood the nature of selfhood in relation to history. Instead of being a phenomenon that emerges at a given historical moment, the self is rather part of a dialectic between type and individual that has persisted over centuries, at least since the Middle Ages, and probably before.
Maura Nolan is Associate Professor of English at UC Berkeley. The author of John Lydgate and the Making of Public Culture (Cambridge UP, 2009), Dr. Nolan is especially interested in defining and articulating the role of the aesthetic in late medieval vernacular literature. She is currently working on one project that focuses on the place of contingency and sensation in the work of John Gower, and on a second one that addresses notions of the beautiful and the sublime in medieval literature as they relate to an emerging notion of literary style.