We were delighted to welcome Dr Mathelinda Nabugodi to King’s to host this year’s Bowman Lecture.

Dr Nabugodi, pictured here with our Principal, John Attwater, spoke about the critical memoir she is currently working on, entitled ‘The Trembling Hand: Reflections of a Black Woman in the Romantic Archive’.

Sixth Form students, staff, Old Eleans and friends of King’s attended the lecture in the Hayward Theatre on October 13th.

In her lecture, Dr Nabugodi uncovered some of the links between the poetry of freedom and the practices of slavery in the Romantic period, drawing on her current work-in-progress, a critical memoir entitled ‘The Trembling Hand: Reflections of a Black Woman in the Romantic Archive’.

‘The Trembling Hand: Reflections of a Black Woman in the Romantic Archive’ explores objects that once belonged to the great Romantic poets: Wordsworth’s teacup, Byron’s carnival mask, Shelley’s yellow kidskin glove and the like. These archival objects reveal how the poets’ lives were embedded in a global economy fuelled by slavery and exploitation. A work-in-progress sample won the 2021 Deborah Rogers Foundation Writer’s Award and the non-fiction book will be published in 2024.

Dr Nabugodi is a Research Associate in the Literary and Artistic Archives at The Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge and Postdoctoral Affiliates and Tutor at Jesus College, Cambridge. She was previously a Leverhulme Trust Early Career Fellow in the Faculty of English, Cambridge (2019-22), and before that a Post-Doctoral Research Associate at Newcastle University (2017-19).

Dr Nabugodi was the first person to be awarded a PhD in Creative Critical Writing from UCL for an experimental reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Walter Benjamin, which will appear as Shelley with Benjamin: A Critical Mosaic in late 2022. She did her undergraduate degree at the The University of Edinburgh. She has edited Shelley’s translations from Aeschylus, Calderón and Goethe for volumes five and six of The Poems of Shelley and published articles on translation, ekphrasis, creative critical methods, and the racist history of hair.

Dr Nabugodi is also a member of the Advisory Council of the Institute of English Studies at Senate House, University of London.

The Bowman Lecture was launched eight years ago to promote the creative and liberal arts at King’s, and it is generously supported by the Old Eleans’ Club.

James Bowman CBE is a world-renowned counter-tenor, whose career spans opera, oratorio and solo recitals. He was educated at King’s from 1951-60, and was a member of The Choristers of Ely Cathedral Choir, before going on to study at New College, Oxford, where he was a member of New College and Christ Church Choirs.

James spoke of his career as “a wonderfully exciting journey” and remembers his time at King’s fondly, commenting: “I can’t emphasise enough the profound effect this school had on me. The school taught me the real meaning of musical discipline, for which I am eternally grateful.”

Thank you so much for your time Dr Nabugodi, we thoroughly enjoyed your lecture!

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