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UNB Fredericton

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W. Stewart MacNutt Memorial Lecture

March 16, 2023

Join UNB Fredericton’s Faculty of Arts for the W. Stewart MacNutt Memorial Lecture, which will be given by historian Dr. Daniel Samson, Associate Professor at Brock University. Dr. Samson will deliver “Fashioning a Modern Man: James Barry of Six Mile Brook” on March 16.

James Barry (1822-1906) was a miller, fiddler, printer, and avid reader on Six Mile Brook, Pictou County, Nova Scotia. His 56-year-long diary forms the basis for a book-length biography Dr. Samson is currently writing. In this lecture, Dr. Samson will seek to describe and situate this thoroughly modern man, a miller who aspired to an intellectual life, a gruff and sometimes vulgar man who fashioned his self in the only way he could: through text.

Though primarily a miller, Barry lived his life largely through text - in reading, in his diary, and in illegally printing and binding religious and free-thought materials. His day-to-day existence on Six Mile Brook was far apart from the Presbyterian literary metropoles of Glasgow and Philadelphia, and later the free-thought centres of New York and Chicago. He was isolated in many ways. His broken marriage meant he was also isolated at home. And like Menocchio in Carlo Ginzburg’s The Cheese and the Worms many on the brook distrusted the miller, thinking maybe he took more than his share of the toll. These multiple exiles structured a life of endless aspiration, a yearning for culture, intellectual engagement, love, and the respect and status that came with these desires - respect and status seldom offered in his rural colonial exile.

The lecture explores Barry’s emotional body as a life in spiritual, intellectual, and textual exile as expressed in his writings on community and his domestic world, and in observations on his own aging, pain-wracked body, the aging and misshapen bodies that entered his mill, and the mysteries of women’s bodies.

The W. Stewart MacNutt Memorial Lecture honours the late historian, professor, and humanitarian for his work at UNB and his efforts to develop the history of the Atlantic Provinces as a field of study.

All are welcome to attend.

Thursday, March 16, 2023
Reception: 5 p.m.
Lecture: 5:30 p.m.
Location: Alfred G. Bailey Auditorium, Tilley Hall – Room 102