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Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife

15. Medusa

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the fifteenth poem in the collection, ‘Medusa', focusing in particular on: (i) the figure of Medusa in classical mythology; (ii) the theme of ugliness, which we also saw in the previous poem, 'Mrs Quasimodo'; (iii) Duffy's humorous and inventive descriptions of the everyday objects that are turned to stone ("I glanced at a buzzing bee, / a dull grey pebble fell / to the ground"); and (iv) the unhappiness associated with thinking that you're so ugly that no-one can even look at you.


In this course, Professor John McRae (University of Nottingham) explores Carol Ann Duffy’s 1999 collection, 'The World's Wife'. After a brief introduction to the collection as a whole, the course continue with a read-through and analysis of each of the thirty poems in the collection, one by one.


John McRae is Special Professor of Language in Literature Studies and Teaching Associate in the School of English at Nottingham University, and holds Visiting Professorships in China, Malaysia, Spain and the USA. He is co-author of The Routledge History of Literature in English with Ron Carter, and also wrote The Language of Poetry, Literature with a Small 'l' and the first critical edition of Teleny by Oscar Wilde and others.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

McRae, J. (2020, April 28). Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife - Medusa [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

McRae, J. "Carol Ann Duffy: The World's Wife – Medusa." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 28 Apr 2020,

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