Conference Report by Alice Rhodes, University of York.
On Friday 18th October 2019 members of European Romanticisms in Association (ERA) were lucky enough to gather in the beautiful Italian city of Ravenna for the second meeting of the AHRC funded Dreaming Romantic Europe network, headed up by PI Professor Nicola J Watson (Open University) and Co-I Professor Catriona Seth (University of Oxford). The workshop, which took place in the Antichi Chiostri Francescani, next door to Dante’s tomb and just a short walk from Lord Byron and Teresa Guiccioli’s home in Ravenna, addressed the theme of “Romantic Authorship.” Over two days, delegates explored how the ideology and celebrity of Romantic authorship was supported, elaborated, and transmitted by objects through a fast-paced series of diverse, original, and thought-provoking presentations. We were delighted to welcome speakers working in academia and heritage across Europe, with representation from France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Switzerland and the UK.
On Friday, attendees began the day with an introduction to the project from Professor Nicola Watson before making the short walk to Palazzo Guiccioli, home of Countess Teresa Guiccioli, where Lord Byron lived between 1819 and 1821. The building is also the location of the forthcoming Museo Byron, which is currently under construction. Once complete the museum will house material on poet, the countess and their relationship along with further galleries dedicated to the history of the Risorgimento. Delegates were treated to an exclusive tour of the building, led by Professor Diego Saglia before returning to the Chiostri Francescani for the first round of presentations. Using the model of our successful first workshop at Maison de Chateaubriand, La Vallée-aux-Loups in November 2018, the afternoon sessions took the format of ten minute talks on a single object, suitable for exhibit in Romantic Europe: the Virtual Exhibition (RÊVE). What followed was a series of incisive and insightful papers which explored both the objects of Romanticism and their role in shaping the celebrity of those who owned, created, used or encountered them. Clustered around five broad themes – “Placing and Displacing the Author,” “Authorial Affinities Across Europe,” “The Author and Posterity,” “Contact-Relics and Imaginary Conversations” and “Other Arts,” the presentations dealt with a huge variety of objects. From items of clothing and manuscripts, to ballets, buildings and lost objects, speakers explored both the materiality and immateriality of European Romanticisms. With lots to think about following a wonderful first day, delegates were able to continue conversations over the workshop dinner.
Saturday got underway with an excellent cluster of talks which together presented a collection of proposed RÊVE exhibits focused on the “Author In/And a Landscape”. The rest of the morning was dedicated to reflections on collaborations, communities, collections and the opportunities for developing the virtual exhibition in these areas. Attendees heard about a number of exciting projects and organisations which could provide RÊVE with future collaborators and models, including: the Museo del Risorgimento, Bologna; The Antique and Romantic Skies in Europe project; the Swiss Guestbook project; the Keats House Museum; Deutsches Romantik Museum, Frankfurt; Maison de Chateaubriand; and the Wordsworth Trust. Lastly, the workshop drew to a close with an activity to create collections, with participants exploring a gallery of images from the virtual exhibition which were displayed around the room, before proposing themed collections into which the objects could be gathered. As the delegates prepared to depart and to make the most of their remaining time in Ravenna, the group reflected on the workshop and RÊVE, recording a virtual audio guestbook of responses to the project.
Overall the workshop was a huge success, generating a wealth of new ideas about and approaches to the objects of European Romanticism. We’d like to extend our thanks to everybody who made it possible through their hard work, organisation, and sponsorship, particularly the Fondazione Cassa di Risparmio di Ravenna, Erika Fabbri, the Museo Byron, Professor Diego Saglia and all of our participants whose exhibits we look forward to featuring in RÊVE in the near future.
Explore the virtual exhibition here: www.euromanticism.org/virtual-exhibition
‘Between the Downs and the Sea: Romantics in Sussex’
By Alexandra Harris, author of Weatherlands: Writers and Artists under English Skies, and Romantic Moderns: English Writers, Artists and the Imagination, from Virginia Woolf to John Piper.
‘Nothing worth speaking of’ happened on Keats’s 1819 excursion over the South Downs to Chichester and then to Bedhampton – nothing except most of The Eve of St Agnes and The Eve of St Mark. William Blake referred to his Sussex years as a ‘slumber on the banks of the ocean’, but it was a fruitful sleep in which Chichester appeared as a version of Jerusalem. William Collins, who spent most of his life in Chichester, catches the music of his ‘native plains’ in some of his most influential odes. This lecture will consider Keats and his predecessors in this small part of Sussex, and will explore more broadly the relationship between place and poetry.
Alexandra Harris will speak on Saturday 7 March 2020 at 5 pm.
2020 Paris Symposium of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar
Ecole Normale Supérieure, rue d’Ulm, Paris
Friday 3-Saturday 4 April 2020
The Tennis Court Oath of 20 June 1789 was the first overtly revolutionary act of the French Revolution and marked the beginning of an epoch in which public speech acts took on unprecedented political significance. The ceremonial odes and hymns of the fêtes de fédération were another manifestation of this renascence of orality, restoring the ancient Pindaric tradition of poetry as public performance and giving new meaning to odic conventions such as invocation, exhortation and apostrophe. In the work of André Chénier and others, this new lyric function produced major poetry. Meanwhile, in the halls of the political clubs, in the National Convention and revolutionary Committees, and from lecterns, pulpits and courtroom benches across France, oratory of all kinds shaped the course of history and decided the fate of individuals. Even on the executioner’s scaffold, rhetorical amplification became the preferred mode of address, a grim illustration of Baudelaire’s subsequent observation about ‘the grandiloquent truth of gestures on life’s great occasions’.
The revitalisation of performative language was not confined to the 1789 Revolution, nor to France. Britain experienced what many still consider a golden age of political eloquence, as orators of the calibre of Pitt, Burke, Fox and Sheridan jousted in parliament and extended their orations through the medium of print. Outside parliament, the growth of the corresponding societies, of other political clubs and associations, and of political lecturing created numerous opportunities for public address, the communicative practices and clandestine rituals of certain organisations attracting repressive measures such as the Unlawful Oaths Act of 1797. Radical writers mimicked French revolutionary styles in odes to Liberty and on the Bastille, while satirists parodied their efforts in mock-odes to the guillotine and pseudo-songs travestying revolutionary enthusiasm. Sermons, notably in the Nonconformist churches, were another front in the oral war of ideas, fusing religion and politics in provocative ways. Educational lecturing also underwent a remarkable boom, in the new Royal Institution and other fashionable lecturing institutions.
This two-day symposium will assess the literary significance of this mobilisation of orality and public utterance, and explore links between the speech acts of politicians, polemicists and educators and the writings of poets and other authors. How is the Romantic revaluation of the ode which produced the famous lyrics of Coleridge, Keats, Shelley and Victor Hugo – and of less well-known figures such as Southey, Hemans, Iolo Morganwg and Peter Pindar – connected with the revival of ceremonial ode-writing and public ritual? How are the ‘speech genres’ of everyday life integrated into the more complex genres of imaginative literature, as Bakhtin postulated? Can speech-writing, sermonising or toast-making be themselves a form of literary activity? What happens when legally, morally binding oaths and commitments are broken, forcing the swearer to recant, in public again – are such disavowals part of the culture of apostasy and disenchantment posited by literary historians of Romanticism? And to what extent do these purposive deployments of public speech enter the literary and rhetorical theory of the period?
We invite proposals on any aspect of the literary and verbal life of Britain and France from 1789 to 1830 that relates to this broad set of issues. Topics may include but are not confined to:
• Oaths, affirmations and other verbal rituals
• Toasts and toasting
• Public lectures and lecturing
• Denunciation, recantation and confession
• Proclamations, declarations and vindications
• Odes, hymns and songs
• Apostrophe, personification and other poetic devices
• Literature and public ceremony
• Dialectic of publicness and privacy in Romantic lyric
• Political, religious and forensic oratory
• Illocutionary acts and performative language
• Gendered eloquence
• Dialogues and dialogism
• Rhetorical theory of the Romantic period
Papers will be 25 to 30 minutes, followed by 10 minutes for questions.
As part of an Arts Council England- & John Clare Society-funded outreach and inclusion project, Simon Kövesi has edited a short collection of readings of John Clare poems and prose by celebrated actor Toby Jones, now online at Oxford Brookes University. The readings are available via standard browsers, and via Spotify and iTunes as free podcast-style subscriptions. Reading texts are also provided on the project website. The hope is that Toby’s readings will support the study and enjoyment of Clare, at any level of interest.
Toby will perform as Clare, in the project’s final musical stage show, in Oxford in February, and in London in April, by way of celebrating 200 years since the publication of Clare’s first collection, Poems Descriptive of Rural Life and Scenery. More details soon.
Northumbria University, in connection with a three-year Leverhulme Trust-funded major project, is organising a two-day conference focusing on writing by and about doctors and other health practitioners, encompassing everything from physicians, apothecaries and botanists to midwives and cunning women. The aim of the conference is to give scholars the opportunity to explore the phenomenon of writing doctors and its wide social effects, whether it be representations of medical practitioners in literature and art, or creative works written by medical people. The interdisciplinary nature of the subject invites work on cultural, economic and gender history, as well as literary, visual and performing arts.
Michelle Faubert, Associate Professor of English, University of Manitoba and Visiting Fellow, Northumbria University; Pratik Chakrabarti, Professor in the History of Science, Technology and Medicine, University of Manchester; Tita Chico, Professor of English, University of Maryland.
The movement of medical writing from Latin to English in the Early Modern era opened up knowledge previously monopolised by an elite readership. Medical practitioners of both genders recognised the potential to build up their brand by catering to a burgeoning market of eager new readers. Publishers and booksellers capitalised on increased literary rates and greater purchasing powers amongst the public to produce ever-growing quantities of scientific texts – further fuelling public fascination with health and wellbeing, especially that of women. Practitioners, in entering this marketplace, were laid increasingly open to public ownership, as a personality behind the prose, either for better or worse. The full social, economic and political implications of this radical shift in the dissemination of information in the medical field have only just begun to be uncovered by scholars. This conference aims to open up discussion regarding all elements of this topic ca. 1660 to the present day.
Topics might include, but are not limited to:
Representation of, and writing by, medical practitioners in literary, visual and performing arts
The role of gender in medicine (e.g. female apothecaries, midwives, cunning women, etc.)
Definitions of medical writing and the role of genre
European, Trans-Atlantic, Asian, and colonial medicine Satire – in all its forms – directed at medical practice, both lay and professional, including by medical people themselves
Discourse and correspondence between practitioners, and practitioners and their patients.
The nature of medical publishing
We welcome proposals from researchers across a range of disciplines and stages of career, including early career and student scholars. Please send proposals of no more than 300 words, accompanied by a short biography, to email@example.com by Friday 15th November 2019. Papers will be invited on a wide variety of relevant topics from within the period. A selection of revised papers is expected to be published as part of the project outputs.
Conference Rates: £130 full delegates, £65 Concessions (PGR and Unwaged)
The Conference is organised by: Clark Lawlor; Ashleigh Blackwood; Allan Ingram; Leigh Wetherall-Dickson; Helen Williams and Laurence Sullivan (The Writing Doctors Team).
What is the current state of environmental criticism in British Romantic studies? And what is its future?
This symposium will bring together scholars working on literature, culture and the nonhuman around 1800. It aims to enable conversation between postgraduate students, early career researchers and leading thinkers in the field. We will take the measure of existing research on texts and ecologies in Romantic-period Britain, and ask what comes next.
We will also consider professional issues. How can we work towards a flourishing community of researchers in the field? How can scholarship inform and be informed by life outside the academy?
The symposium will consist of dialogues and round table discussions, with readings circulated in advance, but no formal lectures. Lead participants will include Professors Donna Landry (Kent), Ralph Pite (Bristol) and Kate Rigby (Bath Spa). It should be of interest to Romanticists working on environmental/ecological themes of all kinds, including but not limited to animal studies; climatology and meteorology; colonial environment-making; ecopoetics and formalist ecocriticism; gender and ecology; ‘green Romanticism’ and the genealogies of environmentalism; industrial change; natural philosophy; place, landscape and geography; and rural, urban and agrarian cultures.
The symposium will take place in Leeds from midday on Tuesday 7 to late afternoon on Wednesday 8 April. Participation is free but places are limited.
Five £150 bursaries are available to support postgraduate, early career and precariously employed researchers who will be participating in the whole event.
To take part, please email Jeremy Davies (firstname.lastname@example.org) with a short description – max. 300 words – of your research interests in the field by 13 December 2019. To request one of the five bursaries, please also include a summary of your current career circumstances.
The event is funded by the AHRC, and hosted by the Leeds Environmental Humanities Research Group and the Leeds Arts and Humanities Research Institute.
The University of London, Chancellor’s Hall, Senate House
Malet Street, London, WC1E 7HU.
Followed by a drinks reception.
Professor Lucy Newlyn – ‘Vital Stream’: Love and Creativity in the Wordsworth Circle, 1802
1802 was an extraordinary year in the Wordsworth circle. William and Dorothy Wordsworth were writing some of their most beautiful poetry and prose, while Coleridge’s marriage was in a state of near collapse. Professor Lucy Newlyn’s new book Vital Stream draws on a detailed knowledge of letters, poems, notebooks and journals to explore their thoughts and feelings about love, family bonds, friendship and creativity at this time. In this lecture, Lucy will read from her collection and describe how she has re-told a famous love story for a modern audience, in sonnet-form.
Professor Lucy Newlyn is an academic and a poet, and was Fellow and Tutor in English at St Edmund Hall, Oxford for 32 years before retiring in 2016. She now lives and writes in Cornwall.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.