8 Jan 2013

Big Words, Small Worlds (1986)

Author and academic David Lodge (How Far Can You Go?, The Campus Trilogy) narrates this gently sardonic three-part Channel 4 documentary about the social phenomenon of academic conferences.

When dissent amongst a polarized audience of literary theorists and linguistics scholars interrupts the proceedings of the Linguistics of Writing Conference, 1986, at the University of Strathclyde, the conference itself becomes the subject of a farcical debate between conferees, speakers and the documentary filmmakers.

Watch Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 of Big Words, Small Worlds, blissfully archived by University of Pittsburgh.

Contributions from novelist and critic Raymond Williams, celebrated philosopher Jacques Derrida, writer and critic Stanley Fish, MIT Professor of Linguistics Morris Halle, Professor of Languages and Literatures Marie Louise Pratt, cultural theorist Stuart Hall, slang lexicographer Jonathon Green, writer and academic Willy Maley, documentary filmmaker Pratap Rughani, writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah, avant-garde filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard, and others from an attendee list that reads like a Who’s Who in literary and linguistics criticism.