Elaine Jackson

Elaine pic

My teaching at the University of Birmingham and UCE (now Birmingham City University) ranged from Victorian to contemporary literature including gender and critical practice. From 2007-2010 I taught a two-hour weekly course for the University of Warwick’s Centre for Lifelong Learning, on ‘Books & Readers’, which combined the study of the history of the book with a close reading of novels in their historical context.  I also teach literature and book history at Erdington Library as a founder member of Erdington Lunar Society/Friends of Erdington Library.  If anyone is interested in attending a class in the Erdington area, then please contact me using the information below.

I have a BA (Hons) in English and a PhD from the University of Birmingham. My thesis was on women writers of popular romance between the wars, which analysed the writing and publishing experiences of specific authors. I am particularly interested in book history and bibliography and have contributed to the Virginia Woolf Bulletin, the Encyclopaedia of British Women’s Writing 1900-1950 (Palgrave, 2005) and Book Trade Connections from the Seventeenth to the Twentieth Centuries, edited by John Hinks and Catherine Armstrong (British Library, 2008). I have also written book reviews for the Journal of the Printing Historical Society.

Autumn 2018

The Beats

                            “Follow your inner moonlight,                                  don’t hide the madness.”

Allen Ginsberg, How and Other Poems


This term we will be looking at the work of the ‘Beat Generation’, which is as varied as the accounts of its etymology. The most accepted explanation is Jack Kerouac’s definition of the work that he and his close group of friends were producing was ‘Like we were a generation of furtives… a kind of beatness – I mean, being right down to it, to ourselves, because we all really know where we are – and a weariness with all the forms, all the conventions of the world. … So I guess you might say we’re a beat generation.’[1]

We will read Jack Kerouac’s On the Road (1957), a selection of poems from Allen Ginsberg, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Gary Snyder, Michael McClure and Bonnie Bremser.  We will also read Joyce Johnson’s Come and Join the Dance (2014) generally acknowledged as the first Beat novel written by a woman.  There may also be a passing reference to the influence of these writers on Bob Dylan who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2016!

[1] Ann Charters, The Penguin Book of the Beats, Penguin (London), 1992, p.xix

Please join us for a close reading and lively discussion.

This is an established and friendly tutor-led discussion group where students are encouraged to come along and share their own ideas and understanding of the texts.

Recommended Texts:

Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957) Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (2000).  ISBN  978-0141182674

Joyce Johnson, Come and Join the Dance, Open Road Media (2014). ISBN 978-1480481336

The Beats (Anthology), Everyman’s Library (2002) 978-0375413322 – this is by way of a guide. Copies of the poems will be included in the handouts.

Day & Time:

Fridays – 10.00 – 12.00

Start Date:

Friday, 28th September, 2018


The Women’s Institute, 745 Warwick Road, Solihull, B91 3DG


£80.00 for ten weeks (please note that there will be no break for half-term)

Course Structure:

Week 1              Introduction and overview of the course.  On the Road

Weeks 2-4        On the Road

Weeks 5-7        Come and Join the Dance

Weeks 8-10     Selection of Poems and Lyrics

Coffee and biscuits are offered at a cost of 50p per students. This is collected weekly.

If you have any queries about the above course you may contact me by typing your message in the box below and clicking ‘submit’:

Please enter your contact details and a short message below and I will try to answer your query as soon as possible.


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