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BARS Blog

News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

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Call for Papers – Global Blake: Afterlives in Art, Literature and Music

11-12 September 2020

University of Lincoln, Lincoln, UK

In recent years a body of work – including Blake, Modernity and Popular Culture (2007), Blake 2.0: William Blake in Twentieth-Century Art, Music and Culture (2012), William Blake and the Age of Aquarius (2017), William Blake and the Myth of America (2018), and The Reception of William Blake in Europe (2019) – has emerged around the posthumous reception of the artist and poet, William Blake. From almost complete obscurity following his death in 1827, Blake has become one of the most important figures in British cultural life. What is less understood, outside certain pockets such as the USA and Japan, is the significance of Blake elsewhere in the world.

Today, Blake’s global presence cannot be underestimated. The aim of this project is to showcase the wide variety of global ‘Blakes’ (after Morris Eaves’s “On Blakes We Want and Blakes We Don’t”, 1995, and Mike Goode’s “Blakespotting”, 2006) and to provide an overview of the appropriations and rewritings as well as examples, that fall into three categories: art, literature and music. It will examine how Blake’s global audiences have responded to his poetry and art as well as explore what these specific, non-British responses and cultural and social legacies can bring to the study of Blake. What is fascinating about works in art, literature and music inspired by Blake is the fact in which the verbal and the visual in Blake’s art translates into different cultural contexts in unique ways.

Building on The Reception of Blake in the Orient (2006) and The Reception of William Blake’s Reception in Europe (2019), part of the longstanding and successful series The Reception of British and Irish Authors with Elinor Shaffer as series editor, the organisers welcome proposals for papers (20 minutes) and panels (three 20-minute papers). Potential topics include but are not limited to the following:

  • Studies of influence in Literature, such as Salman Rushdie, Ben Okri, Kenzaburo Oe, Pablo Neruda, Walt Whitman, the Beat Generation and the Black Mountain Poets.
  • Blake in translation
  • Postcolonial Blake and Blake in world literatures and arts
  • Blake and the theatre or performance
  • Afterlives in art and exhibition culture, such as Rockwell Kent, Helen Martins, or Subir Hati.
  • Blake and graphic novels and comics
  • Setting Blake to music
  • Reception by Women, People of Colour and LBGT+
  • Blake and the digital age
  • Routes of transmission: Blake and the web, social media, publishing houses, publishing histories and facsimiles
  • Blake and literature written for children
  • Blake and film, such as Jim Jarmusch, Derek Jarman, Hal Hartley
  • Blake scholarship, including T.S. Eliot, Northrop Frye, S. Foster Damon, Leopold Damrosch, Donald Ault, Robert Gleckner, Hazard Adams, Harold Bloom and David Erdman, Mona Wilson and G.E. Bentley Jr.

Abstracts of up to 300 words along with a short biographical note (50 words in the same Word document) should be sent to Sibylle Erle (sibylle.erle@bishopg.ac.uk) and Jason Whittaker (jwhittaker@lincoln.ac.uk) by 29 February 2020.


 

The 28th Annual NASSR Conference

Romanticism and Vision

28th Annual Conference of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR)

University of Toronto, Ontario on August 6-9, 2020.

For more details Click Here

The organizers of NASSR 2020 invite proposals for papers, panels, and roundtables–from scholars emerging and established, and in all areas of literary, philosophical, cultural, and artistic study–on the theme of “Romanticism and Vision.” In the field of Romanticism, the implications of “vision” as a keyword have changed dramatically over the last half-century, and have expanded to include (for example) the embodied senses, technologies of perception, visual and material culture, and the visual and performing arts. We welcome presentations that explore Romanticism’s connection to vision, the visual, and the visionary, understood in the widest possible sense. Approaches that broaden Romanticism’s disciplinary, geographical, and linguistic scope are especially welcome. In our echoing of the “Vision 2020” and “Beyond 2020” motif currently being deployed in academic, business, and public sectors, we aim to make this year’s conference an opportunity to consider the future of Romanticism as a critical field of humanist study, and to strategize about the role of Romanticism in shaping the future of the university.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Re-envisioning Romanticism: looking back and looking forward
  • Visions and the visionary: perception, prognostication, projection, speculation, the speculative
  • Ways of looking: reading, conceptualizing, observing, peeping, gazing, categorizing, examining, recognizing and misrecognizing
  • Visual culture and aesthetics: objects of sight, spectacle, the spectacular, the sublime and the beautiful
  • Reading methods and histories: careful, close, distant, surface; plagiarism, copyright law
  • Print culture in its social, theoretical, and physical aspects (e.g. text, design, structure, layout); manuscripts, letters, journals, scrapbooks, books, journals, newspapers
  • The seen and the unseen: noumena, phenomena, the spirit world, apparitions and appearances
  • Romantic iconoclasm and anti-representationalism; ocularcentrism and “the tyranny of the eye”
  • Visual communication: text, numbers, notation (e.g. musical), images, sign language, placards, banners, flags, gestures, hieroglyphs, emblems, insignia
  • Questions of form and representation
  • Fashionable looking: costume, hair, makeup, manner, style, taste, places to see and be seen
  • Visualizing gender and sexuality: identity, performance, politics
  • Visual and scenic arts: sculpture, painting, illustration, graphic satire, print shops, pornography, broadsheets, dioramas, panoramas, architectural and landscape design
  • Theatre and performing arts: set design, lighting, visual effects, costume, body movement, dance, pantomime, attitudes, tableaux vivants
  • Art collection and assessment: museums and curation, connoisseurship, formal and evaluative concerns (e.g. light, color, pattern, shape, scale, proportion)
  • Visualizing class: social hierarchies and signifiers (e.g. clothing, heraldry, pageantry), occupational and economic segregation
  • Instruments of looking: lenses, spectacles, quizzing glasses, spy glasses, Claude glasses, prisms, mirrors, telescopes, microscopes, orreries, windows
  • Forms of illumination and darkness: lightning, electricity, candlelight, lamps, gas light, spotlights, limelight, torches, fireworks; shade, shadow, twilight, gloom, obscurity
  • Religious vision(s): prophecy, revelation, enthusiasm, sermons and hymns, public and private devotion, natural and revealed religion
  • The science of the eye: vision, optics, visual anatomy, medicine, pathology, disability, blindness
  • Data visualization (e.g. land, economy, population studies): mapping, cartography, geography, geolocation, charts, diagrams, categorization, numerical and pictorial statistics
  • Visualizing race: slavery, racism, racialization, minoritization
  • Vision and ecopoetics: seeing nature (vistas, prospects, the picturesque); noticing and reading features of land, water, and sky; watching weather and recognizing climate; the animal gaze
  • Envisioning space and place: the local and the global, home and abroad, the peripheral and transperipheral
  • Envisioning (the ends of) empire: imperialism, colonialism, sites and sights of war; decolonization, indigenization
  • Political and military forecasting, strategy, optics, campaigns, battlegrounds, political theatre
  • Imagining the future of Romanticism; strategizing its work in the humanities, in the university, and in society

Keynote Speakers:
Elizabeth Maddock Dillon (Northeastern University)
Martin Myrone (Tate Britain)

Special Seminar Leaders:
Luisa Calè (Birkbeck, University of London)

Timothy Campbell (University of Chicago)

William H. Galperin (Rutgers University)

Ian Haywood (University of Roehampton)

Grégory Pierrot (University of Connecticut at Stamford)

Padma Rangarajan (University of California, Riverside)

Gillian Russell (University of York)

Sophie Thomas (Ryerson University)


WEBSITE: http://sites.utoronto.ca/wincs/nassr2020

EMAIL CONTACT: nassr2020vision@gmail.com

Midlands Romantic Seminar

20th November, 6.30-8.00pm

University of Derby

Professor Tim Fulford and Dr Andrew Lacey

We are delighted to announce that the Midlands Romantic Seminar is being re-launched on 20th November at the University of Derby.  Our first event will welcome Professor Tim Fulford and Dr Andrew Lacey, two members of the research team involved with the Davy Letters Project, who will each be speaking about their recent research on the chemist and poet Humphry Davy.

Event Details:

6.30-8.00pm

Room OL1, Kedleston Road Campus

Professor Tim Fulford (De MOntfort University), ‘From Derbyshire to Vesuvius:Humphry Davy and the Midlands Enlightenment’

Dr Andrew Lacy (Lancaster University), ‘Brothers in Science: John and Humphry Davy’

There will be a Wine Reception afterwards. All are very welcome! Please do pass this information on to anyone who you think would be interested in attending.

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There will be two further Midlands Romantic Seminars during the year 2019/20: watch this space for more details and follow us on Twitter @RomanticMidland. If you have any proposals for future seminars or events, please contact Dr Paul Whickman and Dr Erin Lafford at either p.whickman@derby.ac.uk or e.lafford@derby.ac.uk.

 

Don Juan: Conception, Reception, and Imitation

The Byron Society Bicentennial Conference to celebrate the publication of Don Juan Cantos I and II


One-day conference, Saturday 7th December 2019

Antenna Media Centre, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham

Keynote Speaker: Professor Jerome McGann, ‘Byron and his Language’


Published anonymously in the summer of 1819, the first two cantos of Byron’s ‘satirical epic’ Don Juan provided the reading public with a work which self-consciously raised and challenged received ideas about fame, originality, and
literary merit and was admired and reviled in almost equal measure.

Don Juan became an overnight sensation, inspiring countless attacks against their sexual and religious infidelities, the bitingly acerbic social and political commentaries, the horrifying burlesquing of scenes of death and destruction,
and the generalised irreverence. While some were shuddering with outrage, others saw the significant commercial opportunities offered by Byron’s ‘Donny Jonny’, with parodies, musical adaptations, and ‘new’ Cantos flooding the
market alongside the numerous pirated copies.

Conference Fees (includes coffees, lunch and a sparkling wine reception):
Students: £20
Members of any Byron Society: £40
Non-members: £60

There will be a conference dinner after the reception, which includes 3 courses and the chance to win some excellent Byron prizes during our Byron Quiz. This is an optional extra, and will cost £30.00

There will be a trip to Newstead Abbey on the 8th of December, with bus collection at 10.30 am,  a guided tour of the Abbey, and time to explore the gardens or visit the cafe, before we return to Nottingham at around 2.00 pm. This is an optional extra and will cost £30.00.

Registration details, Conference Programme and other information available on our website, www.thebyronsociety.com or to register, click here.

 


In affiliation with BARS and Romantic Bicentennials. 

The Fifteenth Annual Conference of the British Society for Literature and Science

The fifteenth annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science

University of Sheffield

Wednesday 15 April until Friday 17 April 2020.

Keynote speakers will be Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell (Oxford), Professor Martin Willis (Cardiff), and Professor Angela Wright (Sheffield).

The BSLS invites proposals for 20-minute papers, panels of three papers, or special roundtables on any subjects within the field of science (including medicine and technology), and literatures in the broadest sense, including theatre, film, and television.

The conference will include a visit to the Alfred Denny Zoological Museum(pictured), and the Turner Museum of Glass will host a keynote lecture and the wine reception.

Please send an abstract (200 words) and short biographical note (50 words) to Katherine Ebury and Helena Ifill at shefbsls2020@gmail.com by no later than 18.00 GMT on Thursday 12th of December. Please include the abstract and biographical note in the body of the email.

The conference fee will be waived for two graduate students in exchange for written reports on the conference, to be published in the BSLS Newsletter. If you are interested in being selected for one of these awards, please mention this when sending in your proposal. To qualify you will need to be registered for a postgraduate degree at the time of the conference.

Information concerning registration fees and local hotels will be forthcoming.

Membership:

Conference delegates will need to register/renew as members of the BSLS. Annual membership: £25 waged/ £10 unwaged.

The Artist of the Future Age

The Artist of the Future Age: William Blake, Neo-Romanticism, Counterculture and Now

John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester
11 October 2019

Click here to book

Much has been written since the 1940s about the idea of William Blake as a rebel of cultural thought, a dreamer of alternative realities, a preparer of the way, an oracle of unfettered literary creativity and a source of cult-like devotion; but relatively little attention has been given to considering how Blake’s art captured the attention of successive generations of modern artists, art critics and cultural commentators. The purpose of The Artist of the Future Age: William Blake, Neo-Romanticism, Counter-Culture and Now is to investigate how Blake has been imagined as a friend of the future, a revolutionary, whose art – or ideas about art – outran his own period and ‘predicted’ later developments in visual culture.

Within these broad limits, the papers, talks and conversations at the event are intended to explore a range of artistic and critical engagements with Blake from neo-romanticism, the counterculture to the current day. From this we hope to achieve two things. First, to outline the cultural richness and variation of appraisals of Blake’s art and ideas since the 1940s. Second, to spotlight common critical patterns of identification, engagement, and participation throughout this period. In consequence, we intend to indicate how, why and in what conditions Blake has been renewed in and by modern European culture.

This free event contains presentations by leading Blake scholars and culminates with an extended conversation between the legendary poet Michael Horovitz and the distinguished curator Bryan Biggs, both of whom have deep attachments to Blake, his art and thought. The presentations take the form of specific case studies arranged in broadly chronological fashion, all of which are designed to indicate some of the distinctive characteristics of the versions of Blake that recur in a period of almost eighty years. Some of these presentations are micro-engagements with Blakean moments; others are focused on the ways in which Blakean culture is embedded in a wider range of artistic and political debates. The event will include an object-based session examining Blake and Blake-related holdings at the John Rylands Library.

Supported by the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and the John Rylands Research Institute.

Click here to book

Full Programme

12.30 Introduction (Mike Sanders/Doug Field) (The University of Manchester), Historic Reading Room

12.35- 12.55 Opportunity to see Blake and Blake-related materials in Special Collections with Anne Anderton (John Rylands Library), Bible Room

1.00 Colin Trodd (The University of Manchester) and Miriam Dafydd (The Natural History Museum) in conversation: Deep England-Blake & Neo-Romanticism, Historic Reading Room

1.20 David Hopkins (Glasgow University): Avant-Garde Blake: Culture and Counter-Culture in Britain post-1968, Historic Reading Room

1.40 Sibylle Erle (Bishop Grosseteste University): Ludwig Meidner in Exile and the ‘German’ Blake, Historic Reading Room

2.00-2.10 Questions (Chair: Mike Sanders), Historic Reading Room

2.10 Luke Walker (Roehampton University): Blake in the 1960s: British and European Counterculture and Radical Reception, Historic Reading Room

2.30 James Riley (Cambridge University): Iain Sinclair, William Blake and the Visionary Poetry of the 1960s, Historic Reading Room

2.50-3.00 Questions and tea break (Chair: Doug Field), Historic Reading Room

3.10 Jason Whittaker (Lincoln University): The End of Counterculture: J.G. Ballard, Angela Carter, Ray Nelson and William Blake, Historic Reading Room,

3.30 Martin Myrone (Tate Britain): Blake at the Tate Gallery, Historic Reading Room

3.50-4.00: Questions (Chair: Colin Trodd), Historic Reading Room,

4.00- 4.30 Michael Horovitz and Bryan Biggs (The Bluecoat, Liverpool) (Chair: Doug Field, Mike Sanders), Michael Horovitz and Bryan Biggs in conversation about counter-cultural and contemporary visions of Blake and Blakean Politics, Historic Reading Room

Click here to book

2020 BCLA Triennial Conference on Randomness

Randomness CfP

Queen’s University Belfast

15-17 September 2020

Keywords: Accidental, arbitrary, incidental, slapdash, hit-or-miss, unplanned, unintended (e.g. consequences), unexpected, unanticipated, unpredictable, contingent, volatility, excitement, wonder, fantasy, imagination, creativity, serendipity.

Chance encounters, unforeseen opportunities, and impulsive decisions play a bigger role in our life and work than we wish to acknowledge. Is reading not always random to some extent? It is only retrospectively, in shifting scale from the individual to social or perspective from reading to interpreting, that randomness becomes regularity and can get explained away as purpose and design.

Randomness and chance play a leading role in historical accounts, in narratives of war and battles, victory and defeat, in biographies and travelogues, in narratives of arrivals, encounters and departures. They resurface in stories, setting characters onto a course or hurtling them into the great unknown, towards their fate. People’s bookshelves, readers’ memories, and second-hand bookshops can produce a similar, puzzling – even dizzying – sense of randomness.

Fortunes of literary works and theory are not immune to the dictates of chance. What are the forces that get literary works published, translated, circulated locally or internationally, and nominated for and winning literary prizes? When do managed search algorithms fail and serendipitous connections appear? How do chance encounters with a literary work, a theory, or lead to translations or adaptations, new creative adventures, or additional and alternative theories?

Artists and writers can be more comfortable with randomness than scholars; they break away from the space of the familiar and the already-known and place trust in the process of the work itself. Critics are driven by institutional pressures to present their work as an execution of purpose, design and method. But randomness persists even in grand geo-political schemes. Randomness overcomes censorship and solutions are always found to circulate books without the support of publishers or the state. Randomness happens despite control, and may be the more attractive for it. It is often random finds that are the most treasured with a sense of delight. Random encounters excite imagination and creativity.

Randomness is also openness; it stands more often at beginnings and turns of the road of many literary and critical careers. How do we cultivate a sense of wonder and open up our critical discourses and theories of comparative literature and world literature to more inclusive and elastic modes of thinking and writing? Can we use randomness in and outside texts and oeuvres productively, to our advantage?

We seek panels that will work with the idea of randomness, particularly in relation to:

  • Encounters with literary works, theories and cultural others
  • Adaptations, new writings, performances, visualizations within the same literary/cultural field, or outside.
  • Representing randomness through visualisations and digital interfaces.
  • Multilingualism, heterolingualism, plurilingualism, translanguaging
  • Performance, performativity
  • Politics of the literary/cultural market, including publication, translation, circulation, literary prizes and literary festivals (and book fairs)
  • Critiquing randomness in the age of search algorithms
  • Unpredictable futures
  • Ecocritical approaches to randomness and unpredictability
  • Translation and translation studies, choice of work and language, choice of method and style
  • Theories and Methods of Comparative Literature and World Literature

Deadlines: 15 November 2019 for Panel proposals and 15 December 2019 for Paper proposals.

Submit your proposal to: randomness2020bcla@gmail.com or through the conference website https://randomness2020.wordpress.com/call-for-papers/.

Dreaming Romantic Europe at BARS 2019

This post was written by Alice Rhodes (University of York). It forms one of a series of reports about the 16th International BARS conference that took place in July 2019. You can also see pictures from the event if you search #BARS2019 on Twitter. 

This July, European Romanticisms in Association (ERA) the AHRC-funded network, Dreaming Romantic Europe, were delighted to bring Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition (RÊVE) to the 16th International BARS conference in Nottingham. In keeping with the conference theme of ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’, we presented two sessions, convened by Professor Nicola Watson – a panel on Dreaming Romantic Europe: facts and their fantasies and an associated ECR workshop.

Our first session kicked off on Thursday to a packed-out audience. The panel featured a series of micro-talks in which seven senior scholars of Romanticism presented their research in the form of an exhibit for RÊVE. Objects ranged across Europe and varied from texts and domestic items to the buildings which might contain them, with each talk using a single image to spark broader discussions about the materiality (or immateriality) of Romantic objects, their circulation, and the narratives of fact or of fantasy which might be constructed around them. The stellar line up of speakers included: Professor Deidre Shauna Lynch, who introduced us to ‘The Handwritten Title-Page of a Transcription of Keat’s Poems, 1828’; Professor Emma Clery who presented ‘A Circular Note from Herries & Co.’; Professor Anthony Mandal, who explored ‘The offices of the Minerva Press, Leadenhall’; Professor Penny Fielding with ‘Margaret Chalmers and a Tea-cup’; Professor Sonia Hofkosh, who discussed ‘Byron’s Screen’; Professor Diego Saglia, who spoke on ‘William Beckford’s Pavilion’; and Professor Ian Haywood who concluded with ‘A Map of the Republic of Europe’. The panel ended with discussion which drew attention to the ways in which the seven talks spoke to each other in productive and sometimes unexpected ways and considered how the objects in the virtual exhibition might come together as a collection or collections.

BARS delegates continued Dreaming Romantic Europe on Sunday, at our ECR Workshop. The first half of the workshop followed a similar format to Thursday with presentations from Alice Rhodes on ‘A ha’pennyworth of sedition, 1796’; Anne-Claire Michoux on ‘The petition for Robert Lovell Edgeworth to be permitted to stay in Paris, 1803’; Dr Teresa Raçzka-Jeziorska on ’40 verses of Mickiewicz’s “Pan Tadeusz” given to Ambroży Grabowski for “Autographs of Illustrious Men’’’; and Dr Charlotte May on ‘The decanter given to Byron by Samuel Rogers’. The second half of the workshop involved discussion, led by Professor Nicola Watson, on the project of RÊVE more broadly. The workshop generated fruitful and though-provoking conversations on methods of recording visitor engagement with the exhibition; ways of incorporating RÊVE into teaching; and the opportunities and challenges afforded by presenting research as short-form object biographies, exemplified by Watson’s exhibit on ‘William Cowper’s lavender-water bottle’. Dr Anna Mercer and Dr Charlotte May also provided valuable insights on the project from the perspective of their work with heritage organisations.

It was a privilege to be part of such a wonderful conference and huge thanks goes to the BARS 2019 organisers, all the speakers involved in the panels, and everyone who came to listen and offer their enthusiastic thoughts on the project.

We look forward to featuring the exhibits mentioned above on the website in the coming months. Meanwhile the exhibition so far can be viewed here: http://www.euromanticism.org/virtual-exhibition/

Alice Rhodes, University of York

23rd August 2019

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.

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