OpenCampus Tea-Time Talks – Gothic Nature presents ‘Daphne du Maurier, Invasion and Environmental Catastrophe: ‘The Birds’ and Rule Britannia’
Dr Catherine Wynne, Reader in English
This talk centres on Daphne du Maurier’s short story ‘The Birds’ (1952). First published in Good Housekeeping, the story focuses on seemingly unprovoked bird attacks in Cornwall. Only the central character, Nat, perceives that the birds are intent on killing humans. The story recalls German bombardments of Britain and speaks to the Cold War of the 1950s. Read today, however, Du Maurier’s story is prescient about climate change as the actions of the birds are seen as connected with ‘change’ in the Arctic circle.
This talk addresses Du Maurier’s concerns about the implications of tourism in Cornwall and her contribution to this with her popular Cornish fiction. In Rule Britannia (1972), America invades after Britain votes to leave the EEC. The American troop incursion evokes the avian invasion of ‘The Birds’. Resistance – like much of the climate change movement today – is launched by the youth.
Free admission – all welcome.
The University of Hull has been changing the way people think for 90 years. Our motto, Lampada Ferens, translates as ‘carrying the light of learning’, and over the years, we’ve shared that light with thousands of people from across the world. As England’s 14th-oldest university, we have a proud heritage of academic excellence, and a history of creating and inspiring life-changing research. And we have no plans to stop helping to build a better world.