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LECTURE: Mad, Bad, and Vegetarian: the Eccentric Career of James Elmslie Duncan


Mad, Bad, and Vegetarian: the Eccentric Career of James Elmslie Duncan, Chartist Poet, Vegetarian, and Divinarian, c.1843–1853'

James Gregory, Plymouth University

James Gregory is Lecturer in Modern British History. His lecture showcases a small research project which he hopes to publish shortly as a book, examining radical and eccentric movements in Britain during the 1840s, through the tragi-comic figure of James Elmslie Duncan, who might be described as a mixture of William McGonagall and 'Citizen Smith of Tooting'.

It stems from Gregory’s work on movements of self-reform such as vegetarianism, ongoing interest in the history of popular politics (as in Chartism), and ideas about the 'eccentric' in British culture. Duncan found a wider audience for his poetry during the Chartist disturbances of 1848, but his ambition to be the apostle of a new religion ended in the lunatic asylum.

The madness of politics, the badness of poetry, and the prevalence of pogonophobia, will be examined.

Date:Tuesday 8 January
Venue:Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building
Tickets:£6, concessions £4 

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EnquiriesPeninsula Arts Box Office 

01752 58 50 50

James Gregory