Friday 6 January 2017
The swirling, thick ‘pea soup’ fog which often evokes a sense of foreboding was the topic of Dr Christine L. Corton’s John Clare Memorial Lecture 2016 at the University of Northampton.
Touching on the danger, beauty, and influence upon our culture and imagination of London Fog, Dr Corton shared her thoughts on the artistic and literary interpretation of these epic fogs of the past.
London’s waterside setting gives rise to an impressive, natural fog, but combine this with the rapid expansion throughout the ages and the phenomenon that is London Fog became renowned the world over; attracting artists and writers from Monet to Dickens and on into today’s film industry.
Dr Corton said: “The creative responses to London Fog throughout the ages are fascinating. Fog blanketing a yellowy, dimly lit street as a solitary figure makes their way instantly conjures thoughts of Jack the Ripper or a Dickensian plot. Immediately viewers or readers know what to expect from the creative works. In reality, London Fog was everything from a silent killer of thousands, a cover for crimes, right through to a cloak for the lovers of London.”
The University of Northampton’s annual John Clare Memorial Lecture, which commemorates the work of local romantic poet Clare and his connections to Northamptonshire, features a leading writer or academic discussing any topic related to the broad theme of Literature and the Environment. Dr Christine L. Corton, herself once a resident of Northamptonshire, spoke to an audience of staff and students, touching on the personal and political impacts of London Fog.