Over 4000 free audio and video lectures, seminars and teaching resources from Oxford University.
Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

Great Writers Inspire

From Dickens to Shakespeare, from Chaucer to Kipling and from Austen to Blake, this significant collection contains inspirational short talks freely available to the public and the education community worldwide. This series is aimed primarily at first year undergraduates but will be of interest to school students preparing for university and anyone who would like to know more about the world's great writers. The talks were produced as part of the Great Writers Inspire Project which makes a significant body of material freely available on the subject of great works of literature and their authors. Visit http://writersinspire.org/ to see how great writers can inspire you

# Episode Title Description People Date
1 Creative Commons Oscar Wilde's Women Sophie Duncan introduces Oscar Wilde by setting him in an accurate historical context. Sophie Duncan 19 Sep 2012
2 Creative Commons Great Writers Inspire Great Writing Alex Pryce considers how writers are readers, influenced and inspired by the works of other writers. Alex Pryce 19 Sep 2012
3 Creative Commons Julian Thompson on Rudyard Kipling Dr Julian Thompson considers a writer described by Kingsley Amis as 'our greatest writer of short stories'. Julian Thompson 19 Sep 2012
4 Creative Commons Julian Thompson on Sir Walter Scott Dr Julian Thompson introduces 'the least read great writer in our literature'. He describes the popularly of Walter Scott in his own time and suggests some highlights of the 'living Scots' of his fiction. Julian Thompson 01 Aug 2012
5 Creative Commons Shakespeare and Voice Linda Gates, Professor of Voice at Northwestern University (USA) discusses how Shakespeare's poetry and plays lend themselves to vocal performance by discussing how breath can be used to 'punctuate the thought'. Linda Gates 01 Aug 2012
6 Creative Commons What is a Classic? English Graduate Conference 2012 Panel Debate, Talk 3 Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, draws on her experience as a trustee of the Booker Prize and as a judge for many other literary prizes to offer a response to the question, 'What is a Classic?'. Helena Kennedy 19 Jul 2012
7 Creative Commons What is a Classic? English Graduate Conference 2012 Panel Debate, Talk 2 Judith Luna, the Senior Commissioning Editor at Oxford World's Classics, draws on her practical involvement in re-launching the Oxford World's Classics series in 2008 to give a publisher's take on the question, 'What is a Classic?'. Judith Luna 19 Jul 2012
8 Creative Commons What is a Classic? English Graduate Conference 2012 Panel Debate, Talk 1 Dr Ankhi Mukherjee, Wadham college, Oxford, speaks to the question 'What is a Classic?' by examining the residual influence of the Eurocentric literary canon in the age of world literature and emergent formations of canons and classics. Ankhi Mukherjee 19 Jul 2012
9 Creative Commons Dickens's Points of View Professor Jon Mee, University of Warwick, discusses how Dickens's fiction can be considered 'cinematic' by drawing attention to the shifting points of view in Oliver Twist, Our Mutual Friend, and other novels. Jon Mee 14 Jun 2012
10 Creative Commons Jane Austen's Manuscripts Explored Professor Kathyrn Sutherland from the University of Oxford talks around the manuscripts of Jane Austen, what we can learn from them about her family life but also her writing style and techniques. Kathryn Sutherland 08 Jun 2012
11 Creative Commons The Watsons: Jane Austen Practising Professor Kathryn Sutherland from the University of Oxford talks about some of Jane Austen's manuscripts from the novel "The Watsons" and what we can learn about her from these. Kathryn Sutherland 08 Jun 2012
12 Creative Commons Great Writers Inspire- An Introduction to the Project A short introductory video to the "Great Writers Inspire project. Joshua Carr 23 May 2012
13 Creative Commons What is a Great Writer? An academic panel discusses the question. In this panel discussion from the Great Writers Inspire Engage Event workshop, Dr Seamus Perry, Dr Margaret Kean, Professor Peter McDonald and Dr Ankhi Mukherjee discuss what we mean when we talk about greatness in writing. Seamus Perry, Margaret Kean, Peter McDonald, Ankhi Mukherjee 15 May 2012
14 Creative Commons Julian Thompson on Wilkie Collins Dr. Julian Thompson considers how Wilkie Collins's fiction was pioneering across a variety of genres, including detective fiction and gothic thrillers. Julian Thompson 15 May 2012
15 Creative Commons Chaucer Professor Daniel Wakelin discusses the work of Chaucer and explains how he was one of the first to use everyday spoken English as a literary language in the 14th Century. Daniel Wakelin 17 Apr 2012
16 Creative Commons Ezra Pound Dr Rebecca Beasley explains why we should read Pound, someone she considers as the central figure in early 20th Century poetry movements. Rebecca Beasley 10 Apr 2012
17 Creative Commons Mary Leapor Dr Jennifer Batt talks about Mary Leapor, an 18th Century kitchen maid who wrote accomplished verses and won accolades from literary society. Jennifer Batt 27 Mar 2012
18 Creative Commons John Milton Dr Anna Beer shares a few short extracts of Milton's poem Lycidas and discusses what they show about Milton's very special qualities as a writer. Anna Beer 15 Mar 2012
19 Creative Commons The Lure of the East: the Oriental and Philosophical Tale in Eighteenth-Century England Professor Ros Ballaster discusses the objectives of oriental tales published in the second half of the 18th Century which use the sheer power of storytelling to conjure up alternative worlds. Ros Ballaster 13 Mar 2012
20 Creative Commons Only Collect: An Introduction to the World of the Poetic Miscellany Dr Abigail Williams, Director of the Digital Miscellanies Index, explains how these popular collections of poetry designed to suit contemporary tastes were used in the 18th Century. Abigail Williams 09 Mar 2012
21 Creative Commons Why Dickens? Dr Robert Douglas-Fairhurst talks of Dickens' life and influences and why these have made his works so popular. Robert Douglas-Fairhurst 02 Mar 2012
22 Creative Commons J.M. Coetzee Professor Peter McDonald gives a talk on the work of South African Nobel Laureate, J.M. Coetzee. Peter McDonald 07 Feb 2012
23 Creative Commons Olive Schreiner Professor Elleke Boehmer gives a talk on Olive Schreiner (1855-1920), the South African novelist, pioneering feminist, and anti-imperialist polemicist. Elleke Boehmer 07 Feb 2012
24 Creative Commons Katherine Mansfield and Rhythm Magazine Dr Faith Binckes explains why modernist short story writer and critic Katherine Mansfield (1888-1923) is a great writer, highlighting her involvement with the 1911-1913 periodical Rhythm, edited by her second husband John Middleton Murry. Faith Binckes 07 Feb 2012
25 Creative Commons George Eliot - A Very Large Brain Dr Catherine Brown gives a talk on George Eliot and her influences. Catherine Brown 07 Feb 2012
26 Creative Commons William Blake Dr David Fallon introduces the poetry, painting, and engraving of William Blake, focusing on the imaginative and visionary aspects of Blake's work and his desire to break the publics 'mind-forg'd manacles'. David Fallon 07 Feb 2012
27 Creative Commons 18th Century Labouring Class Poetry Dr Jennifer Batt gives a talk on Stephen Duck, one of the 18th Century labouring-class poets. Jennifer Batt 07 Feb 2012
28 Creative Commons Jonathan Swift and the Art of Undressing Dr Abigail Williams gives a talk on Jonathan Swift and the Art of Undressing. Abigail Williams 07 Feb 2012
29 Creative Commons Beowulf Dr Francis Leneghan gives a talk on Beowulf, one of the most important works in Anglo-Saxon literature. Francis Leneghan 07 Feb 2012
30 Creative Commons Shakespeare and the Stage Professor Tiffany Stern gives a talk on William Shakespeare and how his plays were performed in Elizabethan England. Tiffany Stern 07 Feb 2012