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BARS Blog

News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

Anna Mercer

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BARS Treasurer, BARS Membership Secretary: Invitation for Expressions of Interest

The following message is from Anthony Mandal, BARS President.
     Dear BARS Members,
As announced at the BARS 2019 conference in Nottingham, our Treasurer & Membership Secretary, Dr Jane Moore, is stepping down at the end of this year. Since her election in 2013, she has worked tirelessly over six years marked by a growing membership, an expanding range of funding opportunities and new partnerships with external organisations. On behalf of BARS, the Executive would like to reiterate its thanks to Jane for her diligence and commitment over these years. It has been a pleasure working with her and she will be missed.
The Executive would also like to extend its gratitude to Dr Nicola Lloyd, who has assisted Jane over these years in preparing budgets, updating accounts and monitoring membership records.
In the context of BARS’ continuing expansion and diversification, it has become apparent that the role of Treasurer & Membership Secretary is now an extensive and demanding one. In light of this, the Executive wish to split the role into two separate posts. Such a decoupling would also align BARS with the practices of fellow societies such as BSECS, BAVS and BAMS. Additionally, This new arrangement would provide scope for the elected Officers to develop these roles in new and exciting ways.
Please find attached role descriptions for the Membership Secretary and Treasurer, detailing duties and anticipated activities. 
According to the BARS Constitution, a change of this nature would normally need to be passed at the July BGM with a two-thirds majority vote of Members present. However, circumstances didn’t allow for this at Nottingham this summer, although the proposed changes were announced. In light of this, Members who wish to lodge dissenting views of the proposed change or offer feedback on the decoupled roles should write to the President, Anthony Mandal (mandal@cardiff.ac.uk) by 14 November 2019.
The Executive wish to invite expressions of interest for the posts of Treasurer and Membership Secretary by 21 November 2019. Informal enquiries about the role should be directed to the outgoing Membership Secretary and Treasurer, Jane Moore (MooreJV@cardiff.ac.uk). Applications should be sent to the Secretary, Jennifer Orr (Jennifer.Orr@newcastle.ac.uk), and should comprise an up-to-date CV and a personal statement (up to 500 words) detailing the applicant’s qualifications for the role.

Please click here to view the document containing role descriptions.

If you have any issues accessing the PDF, please contact BARS Communications Officer Anna Mercer (mercerannam@gmail.com).

BARS/Wordsworth Trust Early Career Fellowship 2020

We would like to invite Early Career Researchers who are not in permanent employment to apply for a one-month residential Fellowship with the Wordsworth Trust at Grasmere.

The Wordsworth Trust is centred around Dove Cottage, the Wordsworths’ home between 1799 and 1808, where Wordsworth wrote most of his greatest poetry and Dorothy wrote her Grasmere journals. The Trust’s collection comprises over 68,000 books, manuscripts and works of art, and at its heart remains the poetry, prose and letters of William and Dorothy.

This Fellowship will take place during one of the most exciting and transformative times in the Wordsworth Trust’s history. Our major HLF-funded project ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ is due for completion in time to celebrate Wordsworth’s 250th birthday on 7 April 2020. ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ seeks to raise awareness and change perceptions of Wordsworth’s life and work, furthering his own wish for his poetry to help people ‘to see, to think and feel’.

To help achieve this, we are transforming our site (which will include a redesigned and extended museum, a new learning centre, a newly interpreted Dove Cottage and two new outdoor spaces) alongside an extensive programme of engagement and activities in Cumbria and beyond.

The Wordsworth Trust is also committed to embracing the Creative Case for Diversity in all that we do. We believe that by welcoming a wide range of influences, practices and perspectives, we can better understand our own collection and the stories it can tell, thereby enriching our public programmes. The purpose of this Fellowship is to help us achieve just that – to examine our collection from a different perspective, and to use that perspective and knowledge to help an audience of your choice better understand and engage with Wordsworth’s life and work. We are open to discussing what form this might take (a workshop, or online activity, for example) and what would work best for the audience you choose. The impact of this Fellowship will be substantial, not only in helping us shape the direction of our public programmes, but it also has the potential to foster positive in change the way people see Wordsworth, the world and themselves.

You will receive advice and training from the Collections and Learning team, led by Jeff Cowton (Curator and Head of Learning). The activity could be delivered within a workshop setting, or online – or whatever you think works best for the audience in question. There will also be opportunities to develop your own research.

We welcome applications from anyone whose research interests will help us to re-imagine Wordsworth and to embrace the Creative Case for Diversity. We particularly welcome applications from candidates that are under-represented, including candidates from low-income backgrounds, and/or candidates with disabilities (we are happy to discuss any reasonable adjustments that we can make).

The Fellowship provides on-site self-catering accommodation for one month; we would prefer the residency to take place between January and March 2019. The Fellowship also provides £100 towards travel expenses. All applicants must be members of BARS.

Application procedure: on no more than two sides of A4, provide your name, email contact details, institutional affiliation (if relevant), current employment status, a brief biographical note, a description of your PhD thesis, details of the proposed research and audience based activity, and preferred period of residence (from November 2019 to the end of March 2020). The successful applicant will show enthusiasm for audience engagement and for exploring Wordsworth’s life and work in new ways, demonstrated in initial ideas of their proposed project.

Send the application as an attached Word file to Jeff Cowton (J.Cowton@wordsworth.org.uk) and  Dr Jennifer Orr (Jennifer.orr@ncl.ac.uk) no later than 31 October 2019. The successful candidate will be informed within two weeks.

Seventh Bicentennial John Keats Conference: 15-17 May 2020, London

  

Preliminary Announcement 

Seventh Bicentennial John Keats Conference 

John Keats in 1820 

A Three-Day Keats Foundation Conference at Keats House, Hampstead, London

Friday 15 – Sunday 17 May 2020

 

Keynote Speakers: John Barnard, Richard Lansdown, Sarah Wootton

The Keats Foundation is delighted to announce its seventh bicentenary conference, ‘John Keats in 1820’, which will be held at Keats House, Hampstead 15-17 May 2020.

1820 was the year that saw the publication of Keats’s third collection — Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes and Other Poems. A little over two months after the book appeared, Keats boarded the Maria Crowtherat Tower Wharf, and sailed for Italy where he aimed to pass the winter.

In due course we will be inviting proposals for 20-minute papers for presentation at the 2020 John Keats Conference. Possible themes, which are not exclusive, might include:

Keats’s 1820 collection and the poems in it. Unpublished Keats in 1820. New poems. The 1820 letters.  The Keats Circle in 1820. Keats and melancholy. Keats and tuberculosis. Friendships. Journeys. Financial entanglements. Keats and copyright.

For obvious reasons, all papers should have a significant Keats dimension. 

Lectures and papers will be presented in the spacious Nightingale Room adjacent to Keats House. We will explore the Keatsian locality, Hampstead Heath, and Leigh Hunt’s Vale of Health. For conference announcements and further information about the Keats Foundation please go to

For Keats House, please click here.

Call for Papers: The Limits of Life, Death and Consciousness in the Long Nineteenth Century

In Extremis:

The Limits of Life, Death and Consciousness in the Long Nineteenth Century

University College Dublin, 10-11 January 2020

 Keynote Speaker: Professor Angela Wright

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the ways in which the fundamental understanding of embodied human life and consciousness was challenged by developments in science and medicine in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Spurred on by public experiments and mass casualties resulting from war, famine, disease, poverty and oppression, natural philosophers, poets and novelists, spiritualists and enthusiasts interrogated the limits of death and life. Social and intellectual cross-currents between imaginative and scientific discourses produced a flourishing culture of enquiry in which old certainties and taboos no longer defined the parameters of human existence. However, the body, rather than being tamed and comprehended by advancements in science, seemed more alien than human, a thing apart from consciousness yet intimately tied to mental processes.  From the grotesque and mutilated female bodies of William Hunter’s The Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus (1774) to the distorted figures of Henry Fuseli’s nightmarish paintings and on to Stevenson’s metamorphic identities in The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), eighteenth- and nineteenth-century intellectual life reimagined the boundaries of sex, disease and deformity in many ways.

Proposals are invited for 20-minute papers and/or 3-paper panels relating to bodies and minds in extremes, in transformation and in distress in the culture of the two centuries.

Proposals of no more than 300 words should be emailed no later than Friday October 25th to Lucy Cogan and Michelle O’Connell at inextremisconference@gmail.com

Two travel bursaries of €100 each will be awarded to the best proposals submitted by postgraduate students. Please indicate in the email submitting your proposal if you wish to be considered.

Website: http://www.inextremis2020.com

Suggested topics include:

  • Interdisciplinary intersections and intellectual relationships e.g. John Hunter and Joanna Baillie, Joseph Priestley and the Aikin-Barbauld circle,  Godwinian necessitarianism and scientific determinism
  • Medicalised bodies and minds—hysteria, insanity, anatomised and/or diseased bodies
  • Spiritualism/mysticism and the occult
  • Representations of the ‘madhouse’
  • Radical religious sects, e.g. millenarianism, antinomianism, gnosticism
  • Death, life and empire
  • Anatomised/magical/experimental/folkloric bodies
  • Thresholds of consciousness and life
  • The body and the archive/oeuvre
  • Dreams and double consciousness/existence
  • Othered bodies, colonial – miscegenation, hypersexuality, corruption, exploitation, degeneration
  • Monstrous production/reproduction
  • Catastrophic bodies: Famine, epidemic and death in the open
  • Altered states, altered minds, altered consciousnesses

Stephen Copley Research Report: Francesco Marchionni on Nietzsche

To find out how to apply for a BARS Stephen Copley Research Award, visit the main BARS site here.

Thanks to the Stephen Copley Research Award granted by BARS, I was able to spend a week in Weimar (Germany) to consult Friedrich Nietzsche’s Nachlass and work with manuscripts related to Nietzsche’s reading of Lord Byron, P.B. Shelley and Giacomo Leopardi. My doctoral thesis investigates notions of grief, death and posterity in the works of Byron, Shelley and Leopardi as a result of their readings of the Promethean myth from Aeschylus’s Prometheus Bound. I avow that the Romantics’ fragmented poetic thoughts between hubris and nemesis anticipate the Nietzschean discourse of modernity as divided and contradictory.

My research residence began with a visit to the Nietzsche Archiv museum, dedicated to Nietzsche’s last days in Villa Silberblick before his death. From the very moment I entered the building, I remembered Nietzsche’s letter from 1884 where he bemoans: ‘Who knows how many generations must pass before people will come who can feel the whole depth of what I have done!’ In retrospect, Nietzsche’s letter seemed to me to echo Virgil’s line from the first book of Georgics, ‘scilicet et tempus veniet’, raising the question of what we can truly know of the time to come.

Nietzsche Archiv Museum

Looking at the portrait of Nietzsche in the museum as a man consumed day by day by an ill-fated disease, it seemed to me that the moribund philosopher silently lamented the paradox of the philosopher, between the deception of ambition derived from knowledge and the unfolding reality of suffering, a dilemma that finds in death an ultimate salvation. The portrait and epistle from 1884 reveal Nietzsche’s uncertainty regarding posterity and his rejoicing in the certainty of death ceasing his anguish. Having left the museum, I contemplated how Nietzsche’s mournful meditations chimed with the scepticism and gloom embedded in the works of Byron, Shelley and Leopardi. We can think, for example, of Shelley’s ‘Ode to the West Wind’ (‘O Wind,  / If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?’), Byron’s Don Juan (‘What is the end of fame? ‘tis but to fill / A certain portion of uncertain paper’) and Leopardi’s Sappho’s Last Song (‘after endless/ Hoped-for honours and enjoyed illusions,/ Only Tartarus remains’).

The visit to the Nietzsche Archiv proved itself beneficial for the later consultation of Nietzsche’s Nachlass. From letters to friends (Erwin Rohde and Marie Baumgarten) and family (his mother Franziska Nietzsche and sister Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche) I could access, though in brief form, Nietzsche’s commentaries on the poetry of Shelley and Leopardi. In a letter to his sister from 1861, Nietzsche requests a copy of Shelley’s poetry edited by Julius Seybt (1844) and in a letter to Erwin Rohde from 1877, Nietzsche praises the English Romantic for the poetic achievement of Prometheus Unbound. Additionally, the letter to Rohde is compelling because Nietzsche comments how he found in Shelley a version of himself, philosophically and poetically. A few years after reading Shelley, Nietzsche received from Marie Baumgarten a copy of Leopardi’s poetry edited by Paul Heyse (1878). The 1878 epistle to Baumgarten about Leopardi attests to Nietzsche’s fascination regarding the Italian Romantic and his delightfully gloomy poetry. However, later in the epistle Nietzsche points out a philosophical detour from Leopardi’s pessimism. Nietzsche illuminates that Leopardi’s poetry is suffused with a profound sense of resignation regarding the gloom of human existence. By contrast, the German philosopher argues that such gloom should be contemplated in order to apprehend human suffering.

The final days of research were spent reading and working on Nietzsche’s unpublished essay Über die dramatischen Dichtungen Byrons (‘On the dramatic Works of Byron’), written at the age of 17. Though Nietzsche argues that Byron is not a dramatist because his works lack of dramatic objectivity, the essay presents a fond enthusiasm for the English poet. Nietzsche writes that Byron’s poetry resembles the rage of a volcanic explosion that falls into a sinister tranquillity, and also contends that his poetry contains the diseases of the world within the purity of his lyricism. Nietzsche offers an interesting example of Byron’s poetics by looking at Manfred. He comments that Manfred encompasses a Byronic superhuman despair and, through the protagonist of the dramatic poem, Byron is capable of performing, theatrically, the stormy hall of his poetic thoughts. Thus, Nietzsche concludes, Byron deconstructs in Manfred a discourse about knowledge, confessions about a disordered world and the notion of divine self-consciousness.

Reading Nietzsche’s unpublished essay on Byron, and his letters on Shelley and Leopardi, allowed me to assess Nietzsche’s familiarity with the three Romantic poets, who, interestingly, seem to be depicted as poetic titans who were forerunners of the Olympian Pantheon of what Nietzsche calls his ‘Gay Science’. I am deeply grateful to BARS for granting me this opportunity and I am sure the research in Weimar will be of great value for the completion of my doctoral thesis.

Francesco Marchionni (Durham University)

Applications Open: Research Associate, ‘Unlocking the Mary Hamilton Papers’

Research Associate in Reading Practices

 

Placed On:  30th August 2019
Closes:  1st October 2019

 

Please click here for the full job advertisement via jobs.ac.uk

This post will support the exciting Arts and Humanities Research Council funded project Unlocking the Mary Hamilton Papers. This ambitious Digital Humanities project will use a uniquely rich, but largely unexplored, archive to explore a diverse – yet related – set of research questions on reading, letter-writing and language practices in Georgian England.

This post will explore the commonalities and differences in the operation and the relevance to reading, writing and everyday language of the social networks around Mary Hamilton, and how textual traces of reader circulation, reception and response contained in the Hamilton Papers help us to think differently about eighteenth-century literature.

You should have completed a PhD (or equivalent) in English Literature, or History, or Art History or other allied field focusing on the period 1740-1830, and have a strong grasp of recent debates in at least one of the following fields; gender studies, Bluestocking culture, social networks, digital humanities, public humanities.

You should have excellent analytical and writing skills, experience of working with a variety of archival sources in archives and libraries and strong palaeographic skills.

You should also be well organised and be able to work both independently and as part of a team. A record of publication, of presenting your research to academic audiences, of promoting research via social media and of public engagement or impact are desirable, as it familiarity with Digital Humanities and using software applications for research.

We expect to hold interviews for the post between 8 and 10 October 2019

As an equal opportunities employer we welcome applicants from all sections of the community regardless of gender, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation and transgender status.  All appointments will be made on merit.

Please note that we are unable to respond to enquiries, accept CVs or applications from Recruitment Agencies.

Enquiries about the vacancy, shortlisting and interviews:
Name: Dr Sophie Coulombeau or Professor Hannah Barker
Email: sophiecoulombeau@gmail.com or hannah.barker@manchester.ac.uk 
Technical support:
Email: universityofmanchester@helpmeapply.co.uk
Tel: 0161 850 2004
General enquiries:
Email: hrservices@manchester.ac.uk
Tel: 0161 275 4499

This vacancy will close for applications at midnight on the closing date.

Call for Papers: British Romanticism and Europe

 British Romanticism and Europe, 5-8 July 2020, Monte Verità conference center, Ascona, Switzerland

 

Organisers: Patrick Vincent, David Duff, and Simon Swift

Keynote Speakers: Christoph Bode, Biancamaria Fontana, and Paul Hamilton

 

 

British Romanticism is part of European Romanticism and British writers drew inspiration from personal and cultural links with mainland Europe as well as the many forms of Continental travel. This international conference will explore the manifold relations between Britain and Europe during the Romantic period, taking advantage of recent work on transnational circulations and exchanges and a growing interest in comparative methodology. The conference will question stereotypes of Great Britain as insular by highlighting the island-nation’s European identity and its participation in a pan-European Romanticism shaped by transnational cultural dialogue and the cross-fertilization of art forms and disciplines.  The aim is to uncover the channels and mechanisms by which Romantic ideas and influences were conveyed across national and disciplinary boundaries and to examine the role of individuals, communities and institutions in this complex transmission process. As well as directing attention to the often-overlooked international dimension of British Romanticism, the conference aims, by bringing together scholars working in Britain and on mainland Europe, to help develop the expanding research network on European Romanticism. Held at Monte Verità, an international conference centre in Ascona in the Swiss canton of Ticino which was formerly the site of a utopian community attracting intellectuals from across Europe, the conference will be divided between plenary lectures, invited panels, and open panel sessions. There will also be a public round-table discussion on British Romanticism and the Italian Lakes, as well as an excursion to Lake Como.

There will be nine invited panel sessions on the following topics: British Romanticism and Italy, British Romanticism and Scandinavia, British Romanticism and France, European Romantic Historicism, late Romanticism, travel and material culture, Romanticism and the environment, Romantic women’s networks, and European Romanticism and / in Britain.

To fill the open panel sessions, we invite proposals for 20-minute papers on any aspect of the conference topic, including:

  • European Romantic networks
  • Romantic mediations and mediating figures
  • Romantic salons, communities, and constellations
  • Romantic disseminations and circulations
  • Romantic theories of ‘Europe’
  • European Romantic politics
  • European Romantic aesthetics
  • Romantic Europhobia and Europhilia
  • Romantic exile and displacement
  • British relations with Northern, Southern, and Eastern Romanticisms
  • British Romanticism and Continental philosophy
  • British Romanticism and Continental science
  • British Romanticism and European travel
  • Britain’s Four Nations and Europe

We encourage junior scholars from mainland Europe to apply, and in order to cut down on carbon emissions, urge attendees to travel by train.

Abstracts of approximately 250 words are due by 1 November 2019. Please send abstracts to patrick.vincent@unine.ch

Conference site (under construction).

Romantic Reviews and Receptions: Editorial Position, Applications Welcome

Romantic Circles Reviews & Receptions seeks a new member of its three-person editorial collective.

The ideal candidate will have broad familiarity with the state of Romantic studies, strong editing and organizational skills, and some social media savvy and will bring creative and innovative energy to the project.

The position is open to scholars worldwide and in any stages of their careers, but we do ask for a three-year commitment.

Please send a cv and very brief (less than one page) letter of interest to RCReviewsandReceptions@gmail.com. Candidates may be asked to  interview via Skype with Orrin Wang, one of the General Editors of Romantic Circles, and with Suzanne Barnett and Ross Wilson, current  Associate Editors of Reviews & Receptions.

Call for Papers: BARS PG/ECR Conference 2020, ‘Romantic Futurities’

Call for Papers:

Romantic Futurities

British Association for Romantic Studies Early Career and Postgraduate Conference

Keats House, London, 12-13 June 2020

Keynote Speakers:

Professor Michael Gamer (University of Pennsylvania)

Dr Emily Rohrbach (University of Manchester)

The BARS Early Career and Postgraduate Conference invites an examination into the pluralistic theme of ‘futurities’ in Romantic-period literature and thought. This examination is inclusive of, but not limited to, the historical future, the anticipatory future, posterity, and the future of the field of Romanticism. The conference will bring together early-career and postgraduate researchers whose work addresses futurity from a wide range of perspectives: from historical depictions of the future, to writers’ concerns with posterity, to the future of the field of Romanticism in regard to rethinking the canon, pedagogical approaches, and digital humanities.

We encourage a wide interpretation of ‘futurities’. Topics of interest may include:

  • Backward Glances (the anterior future, or the historical moment as future)
  • The Utopian and Dystopian
  • Science and Invention
  • Radicalism, Rights, and Revolution
  • Lost Futures (early and unanticipated deaths, unpublished works)
  • Prophecy and Apocalypse
  • Time and Temporality
  • Modernity and Posterity
  • Ecology and the Environment (‘dark ecology’ and the Anthropocene)

Please send 250-word abstracts for 20-minute papers to bars.postgrads@gmail.com by 31 January 2020 including a 100-word biography. We also welcome 250-word abstracts for poster presentations separate from or in addition to papers. Posters cannot be presented in absentia.

Follow us on Twitter: @BARS_PGs and visit our website for more information: romanticfuturities.wordpress.com

We expect to publish a special issue of essays from revised conference papers through Romanticism on the Net

Romantic Futurities is organised by the BARS ECR Representative Paul Stephens (Oxford) and the BARS PG Representatives Amanda Blake Davis (Sheffield) and Colette Davies (Nottingham).

The Conference Organising Committee are looking for PGR students who would like to be Conference Helpers and assist with stewarding the event. If you are a PGR student, please send your expression of interest to bars.postgrads@gmail.com by September 30th 2019. Our conference website has a specific page entitled ‘Volunteers’. A more detailed breakdown of the responsibilities of this role can be found here. If you have any other queries, please do get in touch.

Conference Report: Reading Nineteenth-Century Periodicals, Manchester Metropolitan University

Today on the BARS Blog is a report from  ‘Reading Nineteenth-Century Periodicals’, a special event in Manchester earlier this year. This event was part-sponsored by BARS. The report is by Dr Emma Liggins, Senior Lecturer in English Literature. You can follow English at Manchester Met on Twitter here

Find out how to apply for sponsorship from BARS here

Reading Nineteenth-Century Periodicals, North West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar, 17 July 2019

The celebratory event ‘Reading Nineteenth-Century Periodicals, with thanks to Margaret Beetham’, was held at Manchester Metropolitan University in July 2019, as the summer event of the North West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar. It was co-organised by Emma Liggins (Manchester Metropolitan University), Annemarie McAllister (University of Central Lancashire) and Andrew Hobbs (University of Central Lancashire) to mark Margaret’s 80thbirthday. We celebrated Margaret’s outstanding contribution to feminist and periodical research and her ongoing influence on our ways of reading and working with periodicals, cookbooks and women’s writing in the long nineteenth century. Her pioneering book A Magazine of her Own: Domesticity and Desire in the Woman’s Magazine, 1800-1914 (1996), and her work on servants’ reading, cookbooks and class, have been hugely influential in the field. The event brought together independent researchers, students, and scholars at different stages of their careers. Many members of the audience knew Margaret’s work well and had worked with her in the past, but it was also an opportunity to bring her work to the attention of a new generation of researchers. In a tribute to Isabella Beeton, the famous cookbook author and editor of The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine brought to light in Margaret’s research, we enjoyed home-made cakes in the coffee and lunch-breaks –the Bakewell tart was a triumph!

The first session focussed on late nineteenth and early twentieth-century periodicals and their readers. Solveig Robinson opened the day with an examination of the mediation of notions of motherhood and domestic management in the scientific mother’s magazine Baby. Gemma Outen responded to Margaret’s claim that there was a ‘dearth of specific information’ about readers to think about the imagined readership of the temperance journal Wings, drawing on census returns to plot the characteristics of the ‘average reader’. Margaret’s own paper ‘Situated Knowledges’: or the Back Door’ drew on Donna Harraway’s work to offer a history of developments in cultural theory she had witnessed in her sixty-year career and the ‘back-door knowledge’ scholars need to draw on in order to ‘open some windows in the house of Victorian studies’. She also reflected on coming through the ‘back door’ to literary studies where she would question the canonical texts being taught and draw on her involvement with the Women’s Movement in her teaching and research. This led to an ongoing discussion throughout the day about the implications of the ‘demise’ of Women’s Studies, the changing face of feminist scholarship and reinventing the curriculum.

Tributes by a range of scholars who had worked with, and/or been taught by, Margaret, emphasised her generosity with early career researchers and research students, her encouragement of collaboration and the ways in which conversations always lead to a greater understanding of the complexities of texts. Brian Maidment spoke about the importance of her early work on class and (as co-conspirator) her challenging of the establishment. Kay Boardman highlighted the excitement of collaborating with Margaret on the Victorian women’s magazines anthology, remembering the assemblage of a new taxonomy from the piles of paper and magazines on an office floor in the days before digitization. Angelica Michelis celebrated Margaret’s support for her female colleagues at Manchester Metropolitan University and her important contribution to food studies, particularly the complexities of cook-books and consumption. Finally, Ginette Carpenter spoke of the way in which Margaret had given her the confidence as a research student to develop her own independent thinking and to grapple with the complexities of reading and the woman reader.

The final postgraduate panel on ‘The Challenges of Archival Research’, which was funded by BARS, was also a chance to think about new directions in periodical studies.  Transnational and transatlantic exchanges, as well as the need for more work on readers of colour, were mentioned several times. Margaret’s most recent work on missionary journals in the twentieth century, set alongside exciting recent work by Caroline Bressey and Deborah Logan, is indicative of the need to keep thinking about the legacies of empire and globalisation. Victoria Clarke (University of Leeds) talked about the readership community of the Chartist newspaper, The Northern Star and the challenges of using corpus linguistics methods to analyse the uses of the words ‘manly’ and ‘womanly’ in its articles. Her approach demonstrated the uses of digitisation to advance ways of thinking about Chartism, gender and protest. The different uses of the language of interrogation in the proceedings presented in the Old Bailey online and press coverage of events from the 1760s were the subject of a fascinating presentation by Tamara Kaminsky (University of Exeter). Finally, Catherine Elkin (Manchester Metropolitan University) gave an entertaining account of her unsuccessful search for advertisements for baby-farmers in the late-nineteenth-century Manchester press. This was revealing of the difficulties of finding the right search terms; adverts about nurses rather than coded adverts for baby-farmers seemed to be more plentiful. Paying attention to the ways in which contentious constructions of motherhood are mediated in periodical culture linked back to Solveig Robinson’s discussion of baby science.

In the Q and A participants talked about European and American readers of British periodicals, the regional appeal of branch reports organised by location in newspapers of political organisations, the placing of journalism about Northern cities and choices about case studies in the attempt to avoid the limitations of being ‘London-centric’.  Issues of locality and regionality were also identified as an ongoing concern. This final discussion showed how a new generation of scholars were making effective use of data from digital archives to develop knowledge of readerships, periodical communities and linguistic variation in newspapers. It also foregrounded both the frustrations and the possibilities of trying to predict results and coming up with either something vastly different or nothing at all. This acknowledgement of the complexities of periodical research and the diversity and heterogeneity of nineteenth-century periodicals is a crucial aspect of Margaret Beetham’s legacy.

A selection of the papers given at the seminar, as well as a roundtable on Margaret’s work, will appear in a future edition of Victorian Periodicals Review, edited by Andrew Hobbs and Gemma Outen.

– Emma Liggins (Manchester Metropolitan University), August 2019