Five Questions: Pamela Clemit on The Letters of William Godwin

Pamela Clemit is Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London and a Supernumerary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford.  She has published widely on the literature and culture of the Romantic period, particularly the politics, upheavals, fictions and fallouts of the 1790s.  She has produced a series of major editions of novels, plays, life writing and other works by authors including Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Inchbald and – most prominently – William Godwin.  Her most recent publications include an essay on Romantic-period letter writing as a social practice; a co-authored piece publishing some newly discovered letters by Charlotte Smith; and a co-authored study of Godwin’s citations.  Her current research project, which we discuss below, is a pioneering six-volume edition of the Letters of William Godwin.  The first two volumes were published by Oxford University Press in 2011 (1778-1797) and 2014 (1798-1805); work is well advanced on the next two volumes.  She has a website and can also be found on Twitter: @Godwin_lives.

1. How did you first become interested in William Godwin?

It was my brother’s fault. He was writing an MA thesis on Balzac and the English Gothic Novel (under Nicole Ward Jouve) at the University of York, and I was a second-year undergraduate at Oxford. One day he shoved a battered copy of the 1970 Oxford English Texts edition of Caleb Williams into my hands and told me to read it. I was gripped from the start—by the intensity of the power struggle between servant and master, the inexorable hunting down of Caleb, and the puzzle of the two endings. I still have that edition on my shelves. As a third-year undergraduate, I was taught by Marilyn Butler that Caleb Williams had to be read alongside Political Justice. As an M. Phil. student in Jonathan Wordsworth’s class on the 1790s, I encountered Political Justice again, and became fascinated by Godwin’s relentless, step-by-step dismantling of existing social and political norms. His style of writing drew me in. It was measured and logical, yet infused with biblical rhythms and a yearning for a transformed condition—qualities which, I learned much later, owed something to the dynamics of nonconformist conversion-narrative. I settled on the ‘Godwin school’ (a term coined by contemporary reviewers) as my doctoral subject, concentrating on the mode of psycho-philosophical-political fiction which Godwin pioneered in Caleb Williams and developed in his later novels—and which was taken up by his daughter Mary Shelley, in Frankenstein, among others. This gave me the chance to investigate the rest of his oeuvre and, for the first time, his unpublished papers. All this came in handy when, in 1989, I was pitched straight into editing five volumes in the Pickering Masters edition of his Collected Novels and Memoirs. It was a baptism of fire.

2. When beginning work on the edition, how did you go about finding surviving Godwin letters? What’s your favourite previously unpublished discovery from among the correspondence you have located?

When I started work, most of Godwin’s letters (about 1500 items) had not been published before. Finding his surviving manuscript letters was a research project in itself. Some repositories were already familiar to me. The Abinger papers, the residue of the Shelley family papers which were eventually deposited at the Bodleian Library, contained a great mass of Godwin’s correspondence, but not all of it. I knew of many holograph letters in other major collections, such as the Carl. H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and his Circle at the New York Public Library, the Huntington Library, and the National Library of Scotland. But were there other letters elsewhere, waiting to be found? I wrote to more than 400 librarians all over the world. Most of them replied, and some sent hidden treasures: high-quality reproductions of holograph Godwin letters previously unknown to the wider world. New letters still turn up from time to time—perhaps this interview will flush out more.

Many letters had not been previously catalogued, so the second stage in the finding project was dating and identification of addressees. The Abinger papers were held in boxes corresponding to the haphazard order in which James Scarlett, 8th Baron Abinger (1914-2002), had brought them to the library (allegedly in Sainsbury’s carrier bags). In order to locate Godwin’s letters, I had to sort through the entire collection. I made my own catalogue, listing incoming and outgoing correspondence, and, in many cases (since address leaves were rarely preserved), establishing dates and recipients. A group of thin, translucent leaves presented special challenges. The handwriting was Godwin’s, but it was often scarcely visible, or blurred, and had left no physical impression on the paper. Were they letters? How had they been created? The mystery was solved by the watermarks: ‘J WATT & Co PATENT COPYING’. The fragile leaves were copies, made on one of the world’s first successful letter copying machines, invented by James Watt. The copies were by definition accurate and a guarantor of the authenticity of the lost original—but in other respects they were an editorial nightmare. Some words had faded owing to the degradation of the copying ink over time. Other words were missing at the edge of the leaf, where the copying paper and the letter had not been correctly aligned. In a few cases, the entire document was blurred as a result of pressing wet documents. Nevertheless, it has been possible to recover full texts of nearly all these wet-transfer copies, and to identify the dates and correspondents of the vast majority. They provide the sole surviving texts for many important letters in Volumes I and II. As to my favourite discovery, that’s a very hard question to answer: every letter has a story to tell. The wet-transfer copies will always have a special place in my heart because of the labour that went into recovering them. Poring over a document written in invisible ink, piecing together the text word by word, gradually realizing that it was a passionate love letter and marriage proposal from Godwin to Maria Reveley, written less than two years after the death of his first wife Mary Wollstonecraft, was an unforgettable experience. Otherwise, I’ve always been drawn to letters which appear to be inconsequential. If I had to select one, it would be this one (published in Volume I), which belongs to a private collection:

Dear sir

Mr Holcroft having by an unforeseen circumstance been suddenly summoned from town, I am desired to write to you, to enquire as to a point which cannot specifically be collected from your letters which Mr Holcroft has left behind him. You say that a hamper intended for Mr Gerrald has never reached him: Is that, sir, the case or not with the box which was sent from London? Or, is the hamper, with its contents, the only thing left behind? If so, will you be so obliging as in your answer to mention these contents?

Your compliance with this request will be esteemed any kindness by, sir,

                                                                     yours, &c

                                                                             W Godwin

25 Chalton Street,

Somers Town, June

2. 1795

The address leaf tells us that the recipient was Russell Scott, then minister of the High Street Unitarian Chapel, Portsmouth. ‘Mr Gerrald’ was the political reformer Joseph Gerrald, who was tried for treason in Edinburgh in March 1794, sentenced to fourteen years’ transportation, and held at Newgate for nearly a year, where Godwin, Thomas Holcroft, and other radical sympathizers visited him. On 2 May 1795 Gerrald was moved, under guard and shackled, to Gosport, near Portsmouth, and placed aboard a convict ship to await transportation to New South Wales. The hamper and box contained books, money, and clothes collected by his friends, together with a farewell letter. None of these items reached Gerrald before the ship sailed on 25 May. The letter opens a window onto the experience of persecuted radicals, their friendship networks, and their solidarity under government oppression.

3. What is the edition’s ethos in terms of contextualizing and annotating each letter?

My task as editor is to present each letter as faithfully to the original utterance as possible. The aim is to provide a text which represents exactly what Godwin wrote and what his correspondent read. Ethical decisions have practical implications. The work begins with making accurate transcriptions, as far as possible, which includes deciphering faded or crossed-out words. Godwin’s handwriting is nearly always clear, regular, and well-formed. He usually wrote in black ink which has uniformly faded to a medium brown. His holograph sent letters are written with care and require minimal editorial intervention. In many cases, the holograph sent letter does not survive, and I have had to rely on copies in other hands, or heavily scored-through drafts. Establishing an authoritative text is only part of the task. Letters are written according to specific conventions and carry signals which are crafted uniquely for the recipient. The editorial challenge is how best to convey their original meaning to a twenty-first-century reader. It might be argued that an annotated text can never resemble what authors of the past intended or first readers encountered. But a raw Godwin letter cannot be read today in the same way that it was by the original recipient. My job as editor is to provide knowledge that the first reader would have taken for granted. For example, to grasp the significance of Godwin’s intervention in the 1794 Treason Trials (defendants included personal friends), the reader needs historical context. To understand his financial dealings, the reader needs to be informed about contemporary instruments of credit. To recognize the urgency of his journeys to, say, Bath (to court Harriet Lee), Norfolk (to visit his dying mother), or Edinburgh (seeking a publisher’s advance to keep him out of jail), the reader must know about the modes of transport and staging posts which shaped each route. Good annotation does not provide interpretation, but, in Melvyn New’s phrase, ‘position[s] the reader on the brink of interpretation’. In the case of a polymathic intellectual like Godwin, annotation has to be a multidisciplinary undertaking.

4. How has working on the edition expanded or modified your sense of the changing environments in which Godwin worked?

The conventional view of Godwin as a reclusive philosopher, conjuring up schemes for the betterment of humanity, is not much in evidence in the letters. My understanding of his changing spheres of activity—his career spanned three generations—has been transformed in so many ways that it is hard to know where to begin. Let me single out just three examples. His conversational world (as documented in his diary) did not collapse when metropolitan radical circles disintegrated in the late 1790s. Instead Godwin established new friendships, many of them lifelong. Personalities changed, but the habit of frequent social interaction was sustained. Godwin’s networks went far beyond London. In the summer of 1800 he toured the hotspots of the 1798 Rebellion in Ireland and met leading figures in Irish nationalist politics. He remained plugged into an international network of Irish Patriot exiles and émigrés well into the 1820s—a discursive community which may have been as significant for his later writings as Rational Dissent was for Political Justice. Godwin’s income as a freelance writer declined after 1800 as people lost their appetite for radical moral and philosophical works. So he became a risk-taking entrepreneur. He managed rental properties owned by the Wollstonecraft family, and then, with his second wife Mary Jane Godwin, he set up an independent commercial undertaking: a children’s bookselling and publishing business which dominated his middle years (1805-1825). The bookshop was undercapitalized from the start. To keep it going, Godwin became an accomplished fundraiser, drawing support, at various times, from radical connections established in the 1790s and a large network of Whig grandees. His protégé Percy Bysshe Shelley, who inveigled him into negotiating cash loans on his own (Shelley’s) behalf, drew him into a darker world of moneylenders and crooked lawyers. The letters also reshape our view of Godwin’s domestic environment. In his middle years, he presided over a dysfunctional family made up of five children with no two parents in common, three of them born out of wedlock. Some family events are well known—the suicide of Fanny Imlay (whom Godwin adopted on the death of her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft); the elopement and marriage of his daughter Mary to P. B. Shelley; the Shelley family’s voluntary exile to Italy (accompanied by Godwin’s stepdaughter Claire Clairmont); the drowning of P. B. Shelley in 1822; and Mary Shelley’s reluctant return to England a year later. But Godwin’s perspective has been missing until now. His intimate letters give a new understanding of family dynamics and transform our view of this turbulent phase of Romantic-period literary history.

5. What other projects are you currently working on?

I’m not working on any other academic projects at present. There are a few things in the pipeline, including an essay on scholarly editing for the CUP volume edited by Richard Bourke and Quentin Skinner, and arising from their project History in the Humanities and Social Sciences. But with large editorial projects there comes a tipping point, when one has to hunker down and concentrate solely on the task in hand—whatever the exigencies of the Research Excellence Framework. Both Volume III (1806-1815), edited by M.O. Grenby, and Volume IV (1816-1828), edited by myself, are substantially larger than Volumes I and II. My current task is to bring them both to timely completion and publication.

Wordsworth Conference Foundation Bursaries 2021

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Bursaries funded by  the Wordsworth Conference Foundation have hitherto normally been intended to enable young scholars, principally at postgraduate and early post-doctoral level, to attend the annual Wordsworth Summer Conference and Wordsworth  Winter School.

During the period in which live face-to-face events are not possible, the Trustees nonetheless wish to continue to advance the main aims of the Foundation by making available to young scholars who are working on the Wordsworth circle and/or  Wordsworthian aspects of Romanticism a small fund which will either facilitate attendance at online conferences, pay for scholarly resources, or otherwise support their continuing research.

Applications are invited from full-time postgraduates, or from those who have completed a PhD within the last five years (i.e. January 2016-present), for up to 12 Bursaries of £250.

Please email a letter of application (clearly labelled BURSARY 2021) in the form of a Word attachment to  giving your reasons for applying and explaining clearly  how the bursary funds will be used. Please also arrange for an independently emailed supporting letter to be sent from your supervisor or academic referee verifying your status.

Additional information will be found on the Wordsworth Conference Foundation website, click here for more information

The closing date for applications is 12 noon UK time on Monday 17 May 2021.

CFP: Romantic Circles/K-SAA Anti-Racist Pedagogies Colloquium Fellowship

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Romantic Circles and the Keats-Shelley Association of America invite participants for a colloquium and working group designed to discuss and, in the end, produce a digital resource of anti-racist teaching and learning resources. RC Pedagogies and K-SAA see the work of discovering, gathering, developing, and elaborating anti-racist pedagogies as essential to our work as scholars and teachers, not to mention to the viability and relevance of the Romantic period more generally. Since systemic racism has long affected not only what texts are considered canonical, but also how, where, and to whom Romantic-era materials are taught, we hope to provide support for scholars in expanding access to Romantic-era pedagogy, including resources for teaching in underserved communities and carceral facilities. We believe such an undertaking must be a collaborative, sustained, and rigorous research project to include bibliographies of available material, articles discussing best classroom practices, contextual materials, and syllabi, compiled into a readily usable/accessible set of pages to be maintained over time.

A joint team of K-SAA and RC scholars seek to appoint a team of 4-6 Pedagogies Fellows tasked with creating this permanent yet expanding set of anti-racist pedagogy web links and resources through the work of a colloquium to be held for a month during July-August 2021. Fellows would receive a $500 honorarium to participate in a series of two-hour meetings each week for four consecutive weeks. Over the course of that month, Fellows would, together and independently, locate helpful contextual sources, syllabi, articles, and techniques for anti-racist pedagogy in the Romantic period, as well as organize and annotate these items into accesible webcontent for teachers of high school, undergraduate, graduate students, and other learners.

Throughout the colloquium, Fellows will be encouraged (but not required) to share their work through online social fora like Twitter and HASTAC. At the month’s end, the group will identify future work for the participants of this colloquium and colloquia to come, which may include blogging for the K-SAA Blog, a series of short essays for RC, a conference panel, a RC Pedagogy Commons special issue, or another form of work. (Ideally, this colloquium will be the first in a series because such a resource deserves sustained work and attention.)

Fellows will have the opportunity to build a cohort and a virtual space for discussion of anti-racist pedagogy and its intellectual work. They will also receive mentoring via senior scholar-teachers in the field as well as other members of the K-SAA/RC Pedagogies team. Fellows can thus expect to become part of a widening professional network of Romantic scholars, digital humanists, and teachers, especially in their unique relationship to Romantic Circles and K-SAA as organizations with journals and other scholarly events. Additionally, Fellows will gain exposure to journal, organization, and advisory board projects.

Applicants of any rank are invited to submit a one-page letter of intent to by June 1st, which discusses specific interests and experience in anti-racist pedagogy, including discussion/description of courses taught or proposed as well as scholarly research/interests and public humanities work. 

BARS Digital Events: Geo & Eco Criticism – Returning to Romantic Italy

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In collaboration with CISR (Inter-University Centre for the Study of Romanticism)


Gioia Angeletti (Chair)

Serena Baiesi; Paolo Bugliani; Lilla Maria Crisafulli; Diego Saglia; Elena Spandri.

Geo & Eco-Criticism: Returning to Romantic Italy

15 April 2021

Book your free ticket here.

Our roundtable aims to open up a discussion about the benefits to be derived, in Romantic studies, from an intersection of the methods and approaches of geo-criticism and eco-criticism. On the one hand, we take our bearings from positions, such as Kate Rigby’s, that focus on the natural world as a dynamic, active dimension enabling all cultural production, which in turn bears traces of its more-than-human genesis. On the other, we intend to suggest that geo-criticism, as developed by Bertrand Westphal and others, stresses the crucial importance of considering the geographical specificities of Romantic-era engagements with ecosystems, and more particularly how such engagements are inextricably bound up with notions of geo-politics and geo-culture (the nation, borders and boundaries, economic geographies, north vs south, the national character). Indeed, geo-criticism opens us specific insights into how literature can translate the experience of places into a critique of predominant modes of construction of reality.

Since the notions of space and place are constantly shifting (the former encompassing conceptual space and the latter factual place), authors such as William Wordsworth, Lord Byron, Percy B. Shelley, Mary Shelley and Leigh Hunt among many others, represent environments as manifesting the variety of interconnected human and non-human spaces, and their im/material valences, in ways that are also always tied up with the political, economic or cultural forces bearing upon and conditioning such spaces (which, following Henri Lefebvre, may be viewed as intersections of perceived, conceived and lived space). 

Exploring the possibilities of combining ecocritical and geocritical approaches, the roundtable aims to propose this methodological intersection as a way of unlocking new features of Romantic-period treatments of the connections between the environment and humans, their identities, activities, and institutions [Tuan, Yi-fu, Space and Place]. We believe that our approach may prove interesting to a wide audience by throwing light on Romantic representations of the environment as critical narratives (and counter-narratives) about the imbrications and overlappings of the identities of individuals, human communities and polities, and the environment. In particular, we aim to discuss the potential advantages of this mixed approach by throwing new light on Romantic-period representations of Italy as a particularly complex and unstable crucible of issues of nature and nurture, ecosystems and political systems, environment and polities, and so on. In Romantic-period literature, the highly diversified and challenging natural world of Italy – from the Alps to Vesuvius and Etna, its frayed coastlines, Northern plains, Venetian lagoon, Roman marshes, Campanian sulphur lakes, etc. – is everywhere enmeshed with the country’s complicated, fragmented and fraught cultural, political and economic context. Our aim is ultimately to stimulate a lively debate on how ecocritical and geocritical outlooks can be made to interact in order to identify new and exciting ways of capturing the multifaceted complexity of Romantic-period representations of human-environmental interrelations.  

Serena Baiesi (University of Bologna)

Leigh Hunt’s Italian Green footsteps 

I would like to discuss a less-known aspect of Hunt’s aesthetic: his deep involvement with the external world, meaning the natural and urban landscapes which played an important role in his writings during the 1820s. In particular, I will focus on his descriptions of Italian places from an eco- critical and geo-critical point of view that examines the interaction between the human and non-human in cities, as well as in the natural environment. Indeed, it is during his stay in a foreign land that Hunt developed a deep and controversial interest in urban and natural surroundings, that is, what we can call a “botanic” eye for the multifaceted environment of Italy.

Paolo Bugliani (University of Pisa – ECR) 

William Hazlitt’s Italian Spots of Time 

My contribution aims at interpreting, through an ecocritical lens, some of the spots of time which William Hazlitt implanted in the Italian section of his Notes of a Journey through France and Italy (1826). Although these instants of highlighted sensation are more commonly associated with urban landscapes or indoors museum spaces, I wish to explore circumstances in which they are aroused by a natural landscape, most notably in the Appennines, near lake Bolsena and on the Plain of Lombardy.

Lilla Maria Crisafulli (University of Bologna)

Going Green and Blue in Mary Shelley’s work 

I intend to explore not only the process of inter-human relationship, but also the conversation between humans and the world of signs or the religious universe that the works of Mary Shelley convey. It is such a self-dissolving opening up towards the universe that, it seems to me, deeply characterizes much of Shelley’s work in which the ‘biophysical environment’ deeply matters, be it the marine life or the inshore, with particular reference to Italy and Italian landscape. 

Diego Saglia (University of Parma)

Re-Viewing Northern Italy 

I will be looking at William Stewart Rose’s 1819 Letters from the North of Italy to demonstrate how, in the literature of the period, representations of Northern Italian landscapes such as those in Byron’s or Shelley’s poetry coexist with an attention to questions of agricultural and industrial exploitation, deforestation and depopulation, and climate change.

Elena Spandri (University of Siena)

Wordsworth’s Franciscan Ecology

I will be looking at Wordsworth’s poems “Musings Near Acquapendente” and “The Cuckoo at Laverna” included in his late series Memorials of a Tour in Italy (1842) as specimens of a typically Romantic – and Wordsworthian – structure of feelings in which Italian monasteries provide geo-cultural environments both for a revitalized poetics of memory and for a reflection on the mutual imbrications of natural sites, religious ethics, and national consciousness. 

BARS Digital Events: ‘Romantic Forms’ Recording Now Online

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This roundtable explores the myriad forms in which Romantic writers wrote, connecting these to the topics and arguments found within texts. It looks at how form impacted on and was knowingly used to express ideologies and politics in texts by Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Inchbald, Frances Burney, and S.T. Coleridge. Our speakers were Amanda Auerbach (Catholic University), Anne-Claire Michoux (University of Zurich), Jack Rooney (Ohio State University), Shellie Audsley (University of Hong Kong), and Rebecca Musk (Lancaster University). The chair was Ian Haywood (University of Roehampton).

All BARS Digital Event news can be found here.

Get tickets for our next event (‘Geo & Eco Criticism : Returning to Romantic Italy’) here.

CFP: Special Issue of EJES (2023) on Interstitial Spaces

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Guest editors: Frederik Van Dam (Radboud University), Joanna Hofer-Robinson (University College Cork), Chris Louttit (Radboud University)

In the course of the past two decades, the field of English Studies has witnessed a return to a focus on space, both as a critical methodology and as a subject worthy of renewed attention. On the one hand, scholars draw inspiration from adjacent fields such as cultural geography and media archaeology to examine the circulation of literature and the arts in local and global contexts. Opportunities offered by digital tools play an important role in such endeavours. On the other hand, scholars rely on the foundational work of Henri Lefebvre, Michel de Certeau, and Gaston Bachelard to find new ways of mapping out the representation of space and place in English literature. In this regard, the critical gaze has honed in on overlaps, intersections, and contact zones.

The present issue aims to push established scholarship on the ‘spatial turn’ in new directions through an examination of interstitial spaces, that is, the corridors, roads, and routes that exist in between and connect different spaces. While contributions on literary and cultural texts from any historical period are encouraged, the editors will particularly welcome proposals that deal with the long nineteenth century.

Topics might include but are not limited to:

  • Interstitial spaces of authorship: literary Bohemia, the salon, the club
  • The sea as a geopolitical or colonial space
  • Non-spaces (Marc Augé) in city literature
  • The gendering of interstitial spaces
  • The multiple occupancy of interstitial spaces by different communities
  • The function of maps in storytelling / the function of storytelling in maps
  • Interstitial space and interstitial time: revisiting the notion of the chronotope
  • The emotions of being in between spaces
  • English literature abroad: transculturation, circulation, reception

Detailed proposals (up to 1,000 words) for essays of no more than 7,500 words and a short biographical blurb (up to 100 words) should be sent to all three editors by 30 November 2021:

Frederik Van Dam (, Joanna Hofer-Robinson (, and Chris Louttit (

This issue will be part of volume 27 (2023). All inquiries regarding this issue can be sent to the three guest editors.


EJES operates a two-stage review process.

  1. Contributors are invited to submit proposals for essays on the topic in question by 30 November 2021.
  2. Following review of the proposals by the editorial board panel, informed by external specialists as appropriate, the guest editors will invite the authors of short-listed proposals to submit full-length essays for review with a spring 2022 deadline.
  3. The full-length essays undergo another round of review, and a final selection as well as suggestions for revisions are made. Selected essays are then revised and resubmitted to the guest editors in late 2022 for publication in 2023.

EJES employs Chicago Style (T&F Chicago AD) and British English conventions for spelling. For more information about EJES, see here


The Shelley Conference: #Shelley200 Launch

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And we will talk, until thought’s melody 
Become too sweet for utterance, and it die 
In words, to live again in looks, which dart 
With thrilling tone into the voiceless heart, 
Harmonizing silence without a sound.

– Percy Bysshe Shelley, Epipsychidion (1821)

The Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned at sea aged just 29 on the 8th July 1822. The Shelley Conference will mark his bicentenary, celebrating the poet’s life, works, and afterlives on 8-9th July 2022.

In the build-up to the conference, the organisers (Bysshe Inigo Coffey, Amanda Blake Davis, Anna Mercer, and Paul Stephens) are excited to welcome opportunities for scholars and admirers of Shelley and his circle to join public conversations on Shelley’s final years.

In the first of a series of pre-conference events, we are delighted to announce a digital celebration marking the bicentenary of the publication of Epipsychidion in 1821. 

This free roundtable event, to be held on Zoom on 20th May 2021, will invite Shelley scholars to discuss the poem and its critical legacy. The speakers will include Will Bowers, Stuart Curran, Michael Rossington, and Valentina Varinelli. The audience will be invited to participate in a Q&A session, and the event will also be recorded and shared online, welcoming further discussion.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

Our call for papers for the 2022 conference will be published following this event (deadline: 1st February 2022). The conference will take place in the UK, and we expect to announce the venue in September 2021.

Following the success of the first ‘Shelley Conference’ in 2017 (organised by Anna Mercer and Harrie Neal), the 2022 conference will again seek to provide a scholarly gathering dedicated to Percy Bysshe Shelley, a poet who remains without an annual event.

We will share #Shelley200 news online throughout the remainder of 2021 and the first half of 2022 (and beyond – as we continue to celebrate Shelley’s legacy). We welcome invitations for networking opportunities with other commemorative events and posts using that hashtag. We are also following with interest and will share and promote the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association’s ongoing #KeatsShelley200 #KS200 celebrations.

Our website will provide a hub for video and text interviews and documentaries from Shelley scholars. The website will not simply be a point of convergence and information for conference delegates, but a valuable and lasting digital resource for Shelley studies.

Get in touch and join the #Shelley200 conversations…Twitter: @ShelleyConf2022

Project Team:
Dr Bysshe Inigo Coffey (British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow, Newcastle University)
Dr Amanda Blake Davis (University of Sheffield)
Dr Anna Mercer (Cardiff University)
Paul Stephens (University of Oxford)

Advisory Board:
Dr Will Bowers (Queen Mary University of London)
Dr Madeleine Callaghan (University of Sheffield)
Professor Kelvin Everest (University of Liverpool)
Professor Sharon Ruston (Lancaster University)

BARS Digital Events: ‘Romantic Forms’

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This roundtable explores the myriad forms in which Romantic writers wrote, connecting these to the topics and arguments found within texts. It looks at how form impacted on and was knowingly used to express ideologies and politics in texts by Lord Byron, Mary Shelley, Elizabeth Inchbald, Frances Burney, and S.T. Coleridge.

Our speakers will include Amanda Auerbach (Catholic University), Anne-Claire Michoux (University of Zurich), Jack Rooney (Ohio State University), Shellie Audsley (University of Hong Kong), and Rebecca Musk (Lancaster University).

Click here for tickets.

2021 Keats-Shelley Prize

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Our inspiration is John Keats’ epitaph which reads: ‘Here lies one whose name was writ in water.’ This year’s Keats-Shelley Prizes are part of our wider KS200 programme, commemorating the deaths of John Keats on 23rd February 1821 and of PB Shelley on 8th July 1822.

As in previous years, the prize is divided into two competitions.

A Poetry Prize – open to all – on the theme of ‘Writ in Water’.

An Essay Prize – which we hope will be of particular interest to undergraduates and postgraduates with research interests in Romanticism.

Essays may be on any aspect of the works or lives of the Romantics and their circles. They should be no more than 3,000 words including quotations. All sources must be acknowledged.

Total Prize money £5000.

Deadline: 12th April 2021.
Our Prize Judge is the award-winning sports journalist and nature writer, Simon Barnes

Further information is available here.


You can find podcasts, articles, and playlists inspired by ‘Writ in Water’ here.