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Past Events > 2019

22. Who Am I When I Am Dead?

15 October 2019, 15:00 - 16:00

We spend the afternoon in late-medieval France, where cultural representations of the dead proliferated, functioning not only as memento mori to encourage moral living but also as imaginative experiments posing questions about what constitutes human identity and who defines a person when they die. Helen Swift, author of the acclaimed book Representing the Dead, considers the relationship between body, voice, and text in the composition of posthumous reputation, tracing in particular two mythical figures born in fifteenth-century literature, the Belle Dame sans Merci and François Villon.

Artist Portrait

Dr Helen Swift

Dr Helen Swift


Helen has been Associate Professor of Medieval French at the University of Oxford and Tutorial Fellow of St Hilda’s College since 2005. During her undergraduate degree in English and Modern Languages, her fascination with the literature of the Middle Ages took hold, in tutorials with the academic who would later become her doctoral supervisor, Jane H. M. Taylor. Her DPhil research interrogated a group of fifteenth- and early-sixteenth-century narrative fictions written by men in defence of women, which became her first book, Gender, Wr... Read Full Biography

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This event is part of a series:

Tales of Beyond - Magic, Myths and Mortals

The 18th Oxford Lieder Festival will explore life, death, and the mysterious areas between and beyond. Sprites and nymphs cause mayhem and mischief, while legends abound from Greco-Roman sagas to the Lorelei and the Erlking. Storytelling with the Crick Crack Club, a ghost tour, a magic show and more all complement the myriad concerts, masterclasses and study events over a packed fortnight....

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