We were really lucky, this week, to be able to attend a public lecture by Terry Eagleton at the Storey Institute, in Lancaster.
Professor Terry Eagleton is an internationally celebrated literary scholar and cultural theorist and is Professor Emeritus of English Literature within the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster. This public lecture On Hell was given to mark his 80th birthday and retirement from the University. The lecture was one of a pair, the other being On Heaven, and delivered at Lancaster Castle.
According to the Independent, Professor Eagleton is "the man who succeeded F. R. Leavis as Britain's most influential academic critic". I was so excited to hear Professor Eagleton speak, he's long been one of my literary heroes.
The lecture was brilliant and challenging and packed so much into forty five minutes. Professor Eagleton took us on a tour of Hell, from Milton's Hell, where the devil definitely does get the best lines, through the evil of some of the world's worst criminals and tyrants to modern day sinners. He posed questions about the nature of evil and Hell "the ultimate nothingness". He swept through religious fervour and the modern novel. All in all the experience was breathtaking and more than a little exhausting - mentally!
We left the Storey Institute exhilarated, feeling that we had been in the presence of a brilliant mind.