Pudding Seminar: Bethan Holloway-Strong (JCR), Going off at the deep end: swimming and coming of age in contemporary American novels

In their long summer holidays, young Americans are freed from the constraints of the school year. Swimming, one of the most popular sports in the US and a quintessential summer activity, brings young people together into man-made pools and natural bodies of water, where they learn to interact with each other, deal with the changes to their own bodies, and, obviously, develop their swimming skills. Contemporary American novels feature pools as loci of coming of age, figuring them as transitional spaces. Simultaneously places of relaxing fun and mortal peril, sacred cleanliness and troubling defilement, swimming pools track the adolescent development of protagonists in a uniquely symbolic way. This talk will present my research for my undergraduate dissertation, which hopes to establish a new angle in the theory of the Bildungsroman.

Bethan Holloway-Strong (she/her) is in her final year of English at Newnham (JCR). Her research focuses on contemporary Australian and American literature, specifically motherhood, child-rearing, and coming of age.

All staff, students, senior members and alumnae are warmly invited to attend the Newnham Pudding Seminars. For more details please visit https://newn.cam.ac.uk/research/pudding-seminars/ or email Jessie Sklair (js222@cam.ac.uk) or Hana D’Souza (hd425@cam.ac.uk)