BARS Blog

BARS Blog

News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

Posts filed under Uncategorized

CFP 46th International Byron Conference – 29 June-5 July 2020

Byron: Wars and Words

The 46th International Byron Conference
29 June-5 July 2020
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Call for Papers

Proposals are invited for the 2020 Conference of the International Association of Byron Societies, “Byron: Wars and Words”, to be held at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki from 29th June to 5th July.

The aim of this conference is to look at how war in all its meanings, symbolisms, and manifestations influenced Byron’s words and worlds, and shaped his poetic and political sensibility. Drawing on recent scholarship in Romantic studies, it will also explore Romantic authors’ preoccupations with war, and how these intersected with Byron’s. How are the events of wars transformed into words, images and spectacle? Conversely, how do words become weapons and trigger literary, cultural, and political struggles? What kind of ideological conflicts, dilemmas, and anxieties does the print culture of the time embody when treating the issue of war? How does Romantic-period conflict extend our understanding of modern warfare?

The conference welcomes 20-minute proposals for papers on topics including, but not necessarily limited to:

  • Byron as revolutionary fighter and/or critic of war
  • Byron and Napoleon
  • Byron and epic
  • Warfare as inspiring force for poetic subjects, new genres, language forms and styles
  • Romantic nationalism
  • “Intellectual war”: newspapers, magazines, reviews and broadsides
  • The representation of military action and violence in literature and art
  • Famous critical wars that Byron’s words produced
  • War and gender
  • Revolution and knowledge production
  • Science and war
  • Media and military technologies

Submission of Proposals

Please send 250-word proposals by 31st December 2019 to byronthess@gmail.com, directing any enquiries to Dr. Maria Schoina. Confirmation of acceptance by 31st January 2020.

Academic Committee

Roderick Beaton (King’s College London)

Caroline Franklin (Swansea University)

Alexander Grammatikos (Langara College, Canada)

Jonathan Gross (DePaul University)

Argyros I. Protopapas (National and Kapodistrian University of Athens)

Maria Schoina (Aristotle University of Thessaloniki)

Note on the Programme: The academic sessions of the conference will end on the evening of Friday 3rd July. There will be an optional trip to Ioannina, Ali-Pasha’s capital visited by Byron in 1809, on Saturday 4th July with an overnight stay. Information on registration, accommodation, and the social programme of the conference will be posted later on the Conference Website.

William Blake at BARS

Today on the Blog is a post from Jodie Marley (University of Nottingham). This is the third in a series of reports from the International BARS conference that took place in July 2019. You can also see pictures from the event if you search #BARS2019 on Twitter. She is part of the committee running UoN Romanticism with Amy Wilcockson and Ruby Hawley-Sibbett, at the University of Nottingham. This is a Romanticism reading group who run monthly sessions with invited guest speakers. This Nottingham-based group has members and attendees who from across the UK, and organise a field trip every term to a local Romantic area of interest. For more details – follow @UoNRomanticism or email uonromanticism@nottingham.ac.uk

As I specialise in Blake, it was an absolute delight to experience four Blake panels unfold at BARS 2019. We had one Blake panel per day, which was, to quote Jason Whittaker (University of Lincoln) , ‘utter bliss’.

I presented my paper on day one’s Blake panel on ‘The Fantastical Reception of William Blake’. I spoke on the reception of Blake’s esoteric thought by W. B. Yeats. Jason Whittaker’s paper on Blake discussed Ray Nelson’s Blake’s Progress and Angela Carter’s The Passion of New Eve, and Luke Walker’s (Roehampton University) paper outlined connections between Blake, Dead Man and mid-twentieth-century psychedelia’s interpretations of Romanticism. This panel’s consideration of the expansion of Romanticism’s influence beyond 1790-1830 was particularly useful in broadening Romantic studies’ traditional scope.

Day two’s Blake panel focused on Blake’ art and illustration. Clémence Ardin’s (University of Kent) paper compared Blake’s illustrations of fallen women and angels in the Book of Enoch with Alfred de Vigny’s Eloa ou la soeur des anges. Sharon Choe’s (University of York) paper centred around a close-reading images on the The Book of Urizen plates to discuss Blake’s representations of darkness, the void, creation and destruction. Elli Karampela’s (University of Sheffield) paper discussed ‘The Ghost of a flea’, Blake’s ‘Visionary Heads’ and how we might conceptualise them as Gothic bodies.

Clémence Ardin, Sharon Choe and Elli Karampela on the ‘Fantasising Blake’ panel

Day three’s Blake panel, ‘William Blake’s Hand’, began with Mark Crosby (Kansas State University) and his paper on Blake’s letters and how they illustrated Blake’s (often difficult) journey through the patronage system. Elizabeth Potter’s (University of York) paper, gave an innovative reassessment of approaching Blake’s marginalia, and helped me reassess and realign my current use of Blake’s marginalia. Both Potter and I quoted the same aphorism of Lavater’s (number 532) in our respective papers, an eerie coincidence. The final paper for this panel was Josephine McQuail’s (Tennessee Tech University) on eroticism in the Vala illustrations, and its reception in Blake criticism over the centuries. As in the second Blake panel, there was an emphasis in McQuail’s paper on the importance, the necessity of considering Blake’s images alongside his works, which I find increasingly important as I form my own research about Blake.

Elizabeth Potter giving her paper

I chaired day four’s Blake panel, ‘Blake’s Visionary Imagination’. Tara Lee’s (University of Oxford) spoke on the intersection of the natural and the mechanical in Blake’s particular form of epic. Joshua Schouten de Jel (Plymouth University) discussed selfhood and psychoanalysis in The Book of Thel and Visions of the Daughters of Albion. Finally, with perhaps one of my favourite papers of the conference, Camille Adnot (Paris-Diderot University) spoke on Blake’s Four Zoas, the influence of medieval mappae mundi on Blake’s illustrations, and the question of mapping dreamscapes in Blake’s works.

Camille Adnot presenting her paper

BARS 2019 was fascinating from start to finish. Although the end of the conference left me feeling deflated that four days of exciting conversations had to come to an end, I am, ultimately, excited for the future of my research area and the connections I’ve made within it.

Jodie Marley, University of Nottingham

16th August 2019

BARS 2019 Report

Today on the Blog is a post from Johnny Cammish (University of Nottingham). This is the second in a series of reports from the International BARS conference that took place in July 2019. You can also see pictures from the event if you search #BARS2019 on Twitter. 

The run up to BARS was a busy time for us, as the postgraduate helpers. It was a lot of work that, thankfully, all seems to have come together in the end. Or, at least, that was the impression I got from various grateful delegates who consistently offered thanks and praise throughout the conference.

It was an intense first day; opening with the fantastic plenary by Professor Laura Mandell about some of the digital approaches she’s been working on were an exciting indication of things to come. The first panel I attended was equally fantastic, though of a far more sombre tone. Featuring discussions of ageing, lateness and dementia being wonderfully thought provoking and, with such heavy topics, inevitably very moving. However, the brief quotation of James Montgomery, my own interest, may have somewhat biased me in celebration of this panel.

Montgomery did crop up again later in the day; although this time when I gave my own paper after a somewhat complicated but well-handled panel shift, with the Romantic Radicalism and Romantic Life-writing panels being combined synergistically in a new beast that worked remarkably well. I’ve not had much experience giving papers, but I found the energy and interest in the room genuinely inspiring; questions and comments I’ve received have given me a long list of additional areas for me to investigate, which I am grateful for!

Me presenting my paper

Unsurprisingly, considering my own paper on Montgomery’s radicalism and imprisonment, many of my personal highlights were the papers of a political nature – Olivia Murphy’s discussion of the bizarre difficulties of the Birmingham mob to burn ‘Dr Phlogiston’ was fascinating, and Ian Packer’s paper on Wat Tyler reminded me that I really need to read more on how the older Southey dealt with his more radical youth. That’s not to say that I neglected other panels; I thoroughly enjoyed viewing Scottish Romanticism and Percy Shelley Panels, despite how they demonstrated my own near-criminal neglect of Romantic Drama.

I could, of course, talk about the panels ad infinitum, but I cannot fail to mention the other plenaries. Professor Diego Saglia’s discussion of (potentially) Byron’s skin was fascinating and wonderfully macabre; something I had never even thought of considering before. Professor Jane Stabler’s comparison of Byron to The Office (US)’s Dwight Schrute is forever etched on my brain, Dr Robert Poole’s wonderful discussion of Peterloo highlighted the role of women, and clarified the state of Manchester in 1819 – dispelling a lot of my own misunderstandings. Finally, Professor Sharon Ruston’s discussion of Humphry Davy and his rejection of poetry in favour of science felt like a fitting microcosm of the Humanities side-lining to the Sciences.

The excursion to Newstead was also wonderful; I visit it regularly as I work there part-time, but seeing it full of scholars who know and appreciate Byron and his history was wonderful; and I was pleased with how much enthusiasm everyone had for the Abbey, both as postgraduate helper and as part-time Visitor Assistant. In short, the conference was wonderful, and there is far more to be said than could fit in 500 words. I am glad that many seemed to enjoy it as much as I.

The next BARS conference will be the BARS PG/ECR Conference in 2020. The conference will be held at Keats House, Hampstead, from 12th-13th June. Further details and CfP to follow – for now, save the date!

Johnny Cammish, University of Nottingham

16th August 2019

BARS 2019 Open Call Sessions

The accepted open call sessions for BARS’ 2019 International Conference, themed around Romantic Facts and Fantasies, have now been published on the main conference page on the University of Nottingham website.  Details can be accessed using the links below; abstracts should be sent to the named organiser for consideration.

The deadline for submitting proposals for these sessions is 28th January 2019.  The deadline for the submission of panels and individual papers is 17th December 2018.

Wordsworth Trust Catalyst Fund Appeal

Wordsworth Trust

Most BARS members will be well aware of the amazing work which the Wordsworth Trust does to promote interest in and knowledge of Romantic literature and will need no convincing as to its ongoing value.  The Trust is currently trying to take advantage of a government scheme which will allow it to raise up to a million pounds if it can secure matching donations: this appeal is detailed on its website and in this leaflet.  The deadline for unlocking this funding is July 31st.  Donations made to the Trust during this time will make really substantial contributions to allowing the Trust to sustain its operations, to Romantic studies and to the ongoing profile of the authors we all value.  Please spread this message far and wide – time is ticking.