The 1858 Charter Lecture: Professor Ronald Schuchard and Jeremy Irons

On 16 May 2017 the University of London is hosting a special event, to mark the centenary of T. S. Eliot’s association with the university.

Professor Ronald Schuchard will deliver the inaugural 1858 Charter Lecture, entitled ‘Eliot in the Wartime Classroom 1916–1919’, which will focus on Eliot’s early writing, much of which was shaped during his time as an extension tutor for the University of London.

Eliot delivered regular classes to the working people of Southall in West London, where he was known for his conscientious marking of his students’ essays and providing feedback. In his reports to the University of London, Eliot recognised the talents of his students and their contribution to class discussions at the end of their long working days. In light of this, Eliot adapted his lectures to sustain his students’ interest by making them more relevant to their tastes, including Shakespeare and Elizabethan Drama.

In the Keynote Lecture, Professor Schuchard will explore the influence T. S. Eliot’s teaching had on his development as a writer, and its impact on his later works.

Internationally acclaimed actor Jeremy Irons will follow the lecture with a reading of Eliot’s Four Quartets to an audience of world renowned academics, guests, students and staff from the University of London.

Dr Mary Stiasny, Pro Vice-Chancellor (International), University of London, and Chief Executive of the University of London Academy, said: ‘We are delighted to be celebrating the Centenary of T.S. Eliot’s first academic year as an extension tutor with the University of London. In providing world-class education to working people in Southall, T. S. Eliot was contributing towards the University of London’s access agenda, which is to make higher education accessible for all that can benefit from it.’

She added: ‘We are delighted that Jeremy Irons will be reading from T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, making the evening exceptionally special. His reading will follow a Keynote Lecture by Professor Ronald Schuchard, a Fellow of the Instituted of English Studies at the School of Advanced Study, University of London, whose award-winning work and insight into T. S. Eliot life and writing is of a world-class standing.’

The event will be held on 16 May at Senate House, University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU.