CHHS Research Seminar: Dr Arthur Rose

Members of the Centre for Health, Humanities and Science were joined by Dr Arthur Rose on 13/02/19 who spoke on ‘Transhistorical approaches to Breath in Literature’.

Rose noted that breathing is an autonomic function essential to life. As we attend to it, so its significance seems to magnify. But, when our breath does not demand our attention, we barely register it. It remains a background murmur to our lives, as we pursue other things. For this paper, he considered how returning to the breath, as a formal conceit, patterns a relationship between literature and the body. Since this relationship recurs as a point of concern for literary thinkers, from Chaucer to Rushdie, it serves, in turn, as the basis for a transhistorical comparison of breath’s meaning. Drawing on Reading Breath in Literature, a collection of essays he edited with Stefanie Heine, Peter Garratt, Naya Tsentourou and Corinne Saunders, Rose presented brief vignettes of his, and colleagues’, insights into breath as it appears in Chaucer, Shakespeare, Lee, Kerouac and Rushdie, before suggesting ways in which these several approaches might be useful for future work.

The book may be found here:

Contact: Arthur Rose –

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