BARS Blog

BARS Blog

News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

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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: Factually a Fantastic Conference!

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

Please forgive the cheesy title. The 16th International British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) conference, themed ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’ (now you can see my title’s inspiration!), has just been hosted by the University of Nottingham’s School of English. Spanning a period of four days, Nottingham welcomed over 200 delegates from all around the world to this conference. Numerous parallel panels, exemplary plenaries, ECR and PGR workshops, excursions, conference banquets, wine receptions, wonderful catering, and frequent tea and coffee breaks meant that these four days sped by.

Despite time flying, the planning and organisation of this conference has been years in the planning. Bids for hosting the 2019 conference were placed just after the 2015 BARS conference at Cardiff University. As a current PhD student at the University of Nottingham, I joined the planning team over a year ago and, as Twitter reminded me today, I set up the Twitter account 365 days ago. Thankfully, the hard work by a team of more than ten people over the past four years most certainly paid off.

On the first day (and the hottest day of the year so far), delegates were welcomed by the organisers, Professor Lynda Pratt and Professor Máire Ní Fhlathúin. The conference was then officially opened by Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro-Vice Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts at the University of Nottingham. Professor Laura Mandell, of Texas A&M University, gave the first plenary in which she focussed on ‘Re-inventing Gender: the Feminist Controversy in England, 1788-1810’. Her plenary discussed the data project she is currently working on, in which writing styles are annotated and grouped to indicate difference of styles that surpass the M/F binary. Lunch followed, during which there was a highly informative PGR and ECR workshop on ‘Heritage Careers’ given by Dr. Gillian Dow and Dr. Anna Mercer. The afternoon was a succession of three parallel panels; over 60 individuals presented on the first day! The evening began with the Welcome Reception and Book Prize followed by an informal dinner.

BARS Book Prize announced by Dr. Jane Moore

Friday quickly flew by with four parallel panels along with two plenaries, a BBQ for dinner and a PGR and ECR wine reception. Professor Diego Saglia gave the second plenary of the conference, in which he focussed on Byron’s links to and life in Ravenna in a lecture entitled, ‘Byron’s Words and Things: Bodies, Bullets and a Box’. His presentation included some of the items relating to Byron which were collected by the Countess Teresa Gamba – one of them being flakes of Byron’s skin! The third plenary was delivered by Professor Jane Stabler. Also focussing on Byron, Jane Stabler discussed the anecdotal evidence and annotations on Byron’s text. Friday closed with a vibrant PGR and ECR wine reception at the Orchards Hotel, allowing PGR and ECR students to meet and mingle.

The Conference Banquet

Saturday was Excursion Day! In the morning, delegates attended one parallel panel before enjoying the plenary on ‘Peterloo: The English Uprising’ by Dr. Robert Poole. This was also the public Byron lecture, hosted annually by the School of English. Poole showed the audience images and text from the new graphic novel he has collaboratively worked on and which tells the story of Peterloo through using cartoons, as well as evidence and quotations from letters and records of Peterloo in its narrative. Specifically, Poole concentrated on the representation of women in archival documents and contemporary caricatures of Peterloo and used them to illuminate the role women played in this uprising. On Saturday afternoon, delegates could choose one of three excursions: trips were planned to Newstead Abbey, Wollaton Hall and Park, and the Lakeside Arts Museum which currently houses the conference’s exhibition on Romantic Facts and Fantasies. The Conference Banquet on Saturday evening was enjoyed by all who attended. We were treated to performances of Peterloo songs, collated and introduced by Dr. Alison Morgan of Warwick University and performed by folk trio, the Thrup’nny Bits.

Performance by the Thrup’nny Bits

The last day, Sunday, had the final parallel panels and a second ECR and PGR workshop, this time focussing on publishing. Delivered by Professor Ian Haywood and Dr Richard Gaunt, they tackled some of the facts and fantasies of publishing monographs and articles and REF. Professor Sharon Ruston gave the final plenary on Sunday afternoon; her talk on Humphry Davy’s notebooks demonstrated how he discussed both poetry and science, using concepts of Romanticism to define scientific practices and work. The conference closed with the new incoming President of BARS, Anthony Mandal, praising the conference organising team and all those who gave papers, asked questions, and attended panels and workshops. Colette Davies and Amanda Blake Davis then introduced the BARS ECR and PGR conference, to be held in June 2020 at Keats House, before Dr Andrew McInnes advertised and outlined the 2021 BARS/NASSR joint conference, which will be hosted at Edge Hill University. Hands sore from many rounds of applause, delegates bade farewell to Nottingham. Many headed home, but many were also heading for the International Conference of Romanticism (ICR) in Manchester or the Frances Burney conference, both of which took place the week after BARS.

Conferences require a lot of energy, both from delegates and organisers. Yet, they enable people to share their research with each other, forge connections with scholars working in similar areas and, most importantly, allow individuals to develop their research and practice. I am always nervous before presenting a conference paper but the discussions afterwards are so rewarding. I have never been to a conference yet where I haven’t come away with new texts to include in my research or a new approach to a work or an author. BARS 2019 didn’t disappoint. Established and new scholars alike are keen to talk to each other and it was wonderful to mix with scholars at different stages of their careers. It was really rewarding to be part of the organising team for this conference. Thank you to everyone who came and thanked us for our work towards.

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!

Colette Davies, University of Nottingham

14 August 2019

Call for Papers. Don Juan: Conception, Reception, Imitation

 

DON JUAN: CONCEPTION, RECEPTION, IMITATION

 

ONE-DAY CONFERENCE, SATURDAY 7TH DECEMBER 2019

BICENTENNIAL COMMEMORATION OF DON JUAN CANTOS I & II

ANTENNA MEDIA CENTRE (NOTTINGHAM TRENT UNIVERSITY), NOTTINGHAM

 

SPONSORED BY BARS & ROMANTIC BICENTENNIALS

 

Keynote speaker Professor Jerome McGann (University of Virginia).

Professor McGann, one of the world’s leading Byron scholars for over thirty years, is not only editor of Byron’s Complete Poetical Works, but has also written a huge range of critical essays and books on Byron and his poems.

The Byron Society invite proposals for 20-minute papers on Don Juan.

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. The first two cantos 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.

Submissions relating to any aspect of Don Juan are welcome, however papers connected with the first two cantos are of particular interest. Suggested topics include but are not limited to:

 

  • Byron’s sources, influences and inspirations for Don Juan
  • Techniques, conventions and tropes used in Don Juan
  • The contemporary reception of Don Juan (critical reception popular and
  • working-class reception, male vs female reception, metropolitan vs rural
  • reception, reception in Britain and other countries) and Byron’s responses
  • Later critical and creative responses to Don Juan
  • Imitations and adaptations of the poem
  • Questions of ownership, piracy and anonymous publication
  • The poem’s place in Byron’s oeuvre with an especial emphasis on its continuing
  • value in the modern era.

 

Proposals of no more than 300 words should be submitted by email no later than Friday 30th August to byrondonjuan2019@gmail.com.

We welcome 10 and 20-minute proposals from PGs and ECRs for a special panel and round table.

We hope to collect selected papers for a special edition of The Byron Journal.

 

Lord Byron (c) Newstead Abbey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundatio

 

Conference fees:

  • Students – £20.00
  • Speakers – £40.00
  • Byron Society Members – £40.00
  • Non-Members – £60.00

Conference fees include lunch and a champagne reception.

There will be an optional conference dinner on the evening of the 7th, and an optional trip to Newstead Abbey on the Sunday.

 

Free Event: 200th Anniversary of Peterloo at Keats House

Afternoon Poems Special: 200th Anniversary of Peterloo

16 August 2019, 2-4pm

Keats House, Hampstead

 

‘Massacre at St. Peter’s or “Britons strike home”!!!’ by George Cruikshank (British Museum)

 

Join the Keats House Poetry Ambassadors for a reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s poem The Mask of Anarchy. This revolutionary work was written in response to the Peterloo massacre which occurred in St Peter’s Fields, Manchester, on 16 August 1819.

Professor Ian Haywood – of the University of Roehampton and President of BARS – will also be present to discuss Peterloo itself and then the poem’s historic context.

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number –
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you –
Ye are many – they are few.

Free – book your space here.

RÊVE: Romantic Europe the Virtual Exhibition

The following post is by Alice Rhodes (University of York). If you haven’t heard of RÊVE before, then read on to find out more about this exciting project:

RÊVE (Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition) is an interdisciplinary online project which showcases iconic European Romantic objects, places, and texts in a series of original blog posts from researchers and heritage professionals from across the continent. The virtual exhibition aims to assess and reassess Romanticism’s transnational perspectives and to provide an innovative resource for teaching, thinking and writing about Romanticism in new and productive ways. RÊVE is the core project of ERA (European Romanticisms in Association), a group which brings together scholarly associations and heritage organisations, including BARS, from around Europe.

The exhibition currently contains 26 exhibits, and existing and upcoming posts feature a wealth of Romantic objects of all kinds, from furniture, clothing and jewellery, to publications and artworks, and even clouds, caves, trees and mountains. Some of the most recent highlights include:

  • Fragment of a cancelled copper plate from William Blake’s America: Dr Robert Rix (University of Copenhagen) presents a one-of-a-kind fragment from one of the copper plates that Blake used to print his Illuminated Books. The plate is the only surviving fragment to demonstrate Blake’s etching process and provides a unique insight into Blake’s techniques.
  • Shakespeare’s Chair and the Polish Princess: Professor Nicola Watson (Open University) traces the European journey of this unlikely piece of literary memorabilia from a kitchen in Stratford-upon-Avon to the garden of Polish princess, Izabela Dorota Czartoryska and its place in the first Polish museum.
  • Petȍfi’s Wallet: Zsuzsanna Zeke (Petőfi Literary Museum, Budapest) introduces a wallet given to the poet Sándor Petőfiby his wife Júlia Szendrey and explores the keepsake’s place in Petőfi’s transformation into the Hungarian national poet.
  • Every House of the Ant-Hill on the Plain: Richard Horwood’s London:Dr Matthew Sangster (University of Glasgow) explores Romantic London via Richard Horwood’s “NEVER BEFORE ATTEMPTED” plan of the city, engraved in painstaking detail over a period of nine years.

The above blog posts, along with a whole host of other exhibits exploring the material (and sometimes immaterial) objects which define Romantic Europe can be viewed here.

The associated AHRC-funded project Dreaming Romantic Europe (DREAM) led by Professor Nicola J. Watson (Open University) and Professor Catriona Seth (All Souls, Oxford) launched in autumn 2018 and is due to run until June 2020. Its core endeavour is to continue to build RÊVE to 100+ exhibits through running three major workshops and associated satellite events. More generally, it is designed to build an extensive pan-European network of scholars, scholarly associations, and museums. Workshop 1 ‘Consuming Romanticism’ was held November 9-10, 2018, Maison de Chateaubriand, La Vallée-aux-Loups, Paris. The Maison de Chateaubriand was marking the 250th anniversary of Chateaubriand’s birth, staging events and exhibitions including one devoted to Napoleon, ‘L’Empire en Boîte’, so ERA members were delighted to be the guests of the museum as part of these celebrations. 16 participants were asked to address a core question – ‘How did contemporaries construct themselves through objects (broadly conceived) as consumers of Romanticism?’ – through producing an exhibit for RÊVE, consisting of an image plus a micro-essay of no more than 1000 words drawn from original research. They were also asked to reflect upon the experience of rethinking Romanticisms in terms of the microhistories of Romantic objects, addressing questions such as: What has RÊVE so far revealed about previous and potential ways of thinking about Romanticism as a pan-European phenomenon? What has working with the RÊVE format taught us so far? How might we best develop RÊVEas a virtual museum? Workshop 2 is planned for October 2019 in Ravenna at the Museo Byron under the rubric ‘Romantic Authorship’, and Workshop 3 ‘Romantic Media’ is scheduled for June 2020 in association with the Wordsworth Trust in Grasmere.

Maison de Chateaubriand

We are also delighted to be bringing DREAM and RÊVE to this year’s BARS conference, where we’ll be presenting two panels: Dreaming Romantic Europe: facts and their fantasies, which will bring together 9 senior scholars of Romanticism to present their own innovative research in the form of RÊVE exhibits and a partnered ECR workshop which will use RÊVE’s approach of object microhistories to investigate a further 5 Romantic objects.

If you’d like to know more, find us at the BARS 16th International Conference, ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’, in Nottingham, follow ERA on twitter @euromanticism and view the exhibition here.

‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies: Culture and Heritage of the Romantic Age, c. 1780-1840’ Exhibition Opening

‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies: Culture and Heritage of the Romantic Age, c. 1780-1840’ Exhibition Opening

by Amy Wilcockson 

After months of hard work and sifting through the plentiful archives of Manuscripts and Special Collections at the University of Nottingham, Thursday 9 May 2019 saw the private view and official opening of the ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies: Culture and Heritage of the Romantic Age, c. 1780-1840’ exhibition.

All image credits to Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham

The exhibition centres on key themes including science, travel, industry, communication and exploration in the Romantic period, alongside focusing on a number of authors, poets and key figures irrevocably linked with the East Midlands.

As part of the team co-curating this exhibition, it was astounding to see all the pieces of the jigsaw, so to speak, put together. From October 2018, the exhibition has been conceptualised, items chosen for inclusion, and then board texts, case backs and captions written, and then of course, loan items sourced from a variety of locations including Newstead Abbey and Derby Museums. To see it all in one place, and open to the public was an amazing feeling. The private view invited members of the BARS Executive Committee, local news outlets, University of Nottingham and other institutions’ staff and students, and enjoyed a large turnout, with over one hundred people hearing Professor Jeremy Gregory, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the Faculty of Arts, and Professor Lynda Pratt, one of the exhibition’s academic leads, officially open ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’ to the public.

Key items on display include Joseph Wright of Derby’s ‘Cottage on Fire’, kindly loaned by Derby Museums, which evinces Wright’s innovative use of light and shadow, and a number of wonderful loans from Newstead Abbey, including Lord Byron’s calling card, and a copy of Thomas Phillips’ famous 1813 portrait of Byron.

Many of Manuscript and Special Collections’ items are on display to the public for the first time and include first and second editions of Lord Byron’s poetry and juvenilia, autograph copies of poetry written by Henry Kirke White, and a selection of letters from Amelia Opie, Robert Southey, Joanna Baillie, Maria Edgeworth, Sir Walter Scott, Mary Howitt and Percy Bysshe Shelley. Richard Arkwright, Derbyshire’s innovator and inventor is heavily featured, and visitors to the exhibition will also view anatomical drawings, scientific equipment and dinosaurs in an exploration of early nineteenth century science.

It is hard to choose a favourite item in the exhibition, and I am torn between a couple of items. The first are two locks of James Thomas Townley Tisdall’s hair, one taken aged four, and one upon his deathbed. As you can imagine, it was quite a surprise when we opened these little bundles and found what was within… Another favourite has to be the beautiful drawing of the ‘Crimson Cliffs’, an odd phenomenon witnessed by early Arctic explorer, Major John Ross and his crew, who initially believed that the red hue of the rock face was due to the droppings of seabirds (this isn’t the case!). ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies:Culture and Heritage of the Romantic Age, c. 1780-1840’ is full of an array of wonderful curiosities like those featured, and well worth a visit.

Open in the Weston Gallery at the University of Nottingham’s Lakeside Arts Centre, the exhibition is running to coincide with the British Association of Romantic Studies’ 2019 Conference, ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’, held at the University of Nottingham in July 2019. The organisational team of the conference are also the co-curators of the exhibition, and we encourage all conference delegates to visit the exhibition and explore the University of Nottingham’s unique and varied manuscript collections on show.

This exhibition has been jointly curated by a team from the School of English (Professor Lynda Pratt, Dr Máire ní Fhlathúin, Johnny Cammish, Colette Davies, Ruby Hawley-Sibbett, Jodie Marley, Amy Wilcockson and Dr Charlotte May) and Manuscripts and Special Collections, University of Nottingham. The exhibition continues until Sunday 25 August, and is open Tuesday-Friday, 11am-4pm, Saturday and Sunday, 12noon-4pm. Admission is free.

 

A series of wider engagement talks, gallery tours and film screenings are also available during the run of the exhibition which include –

Free Lunchtime Talks: Held in the Djanogly Theatre, Lakeside Arts Centre. All talks begin at 1pm and last for approximately one hour. Advance booking is recommended.

Gothic Haunting from the 1790s to the Present – Wednesday 5 June 2019.
The condition of haunting is central to the gothic mode. Dr Matt Green, Associate Professor in the School of English, University of Nottingham, explores haunting and being haunted, discussing creative artists and writers from William Blake to Alan Moore in a survey of texts and narratives of the gothic tradition from its hey-day in the 1790s into the 21stcentury.

Romantic Reputations: Angelic Austen and Beastly Byron? – Tuesday 2 July 2019.
Was Lord Byron really ‘mad, bad and dangerous to know’, and was Jane Austen ‘a narrow-gutted spinster’? As two of the most enduringly popular writers of the Romantic period, their lives have been scrutinised and their moral reputations polarised. University of Nottingham PhD Researchers Ruby Hawley-Sibbett and Amy Wilcockson ask whether their lives, loves and works have been misrepresented.

Paupers and Poetry: The Workhouse at Southwell – Friday 26 July 2019. [During the BARS Conference].
The early 19thcentury is often seen as a time of invention, creativity and technology. However, it also saw the development of an institution that shaped the lives of less fortunate members of society for decades to come – the Workhouse. This talk by Dr Charlotte May will focus on the Workhouse at Southwell, Nottinghamshire, whose founder was a close connection of the poet Lord Byron.

Romanticism, Caricature and Politics – Tuesday 20 August.
The years 1780-1840 are sometimes regarded as the ‘golden age of caricature’. In this illustrated talk, Dr Richard Gaunt, Associate Professor in the Department of History, considers the rough, boisterous sensibilities which caricaturists brought to their craft.

 

And:

Gallery Tours: Join the exhibition curators for a guided walk through of the exhibition and learn about the stories behind the items on display.
Weston Gallery, free, advance booking required.
Wednesday 5 June, 2.30-2.30pm
Tuesday 2 July, 2.30-3.30pm

Film Screening of Mary Shelley (2017) – Tuesday 25 June, 7pm.
Running time 2 hours. Held in the Djanogly Theatre. Tickets are £5 (£3 concessions).
A romance based on the relationship of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin (Elle Fanning) and the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley (Douglas Booth). When the couple leave England with Mary’s step-sister Claire to stay at Lord Byron’s villa near Geneva, Mary is inspired to write one of the most important novels of the nineteenth century, Frankenstein. The film will be introduced by Dr Charlotte May.

Romanticism at The Royal Institution: 7 June 2019

For those in or near London this summer…

 

Join fellow Romantic enthusiasts at The Royal Institution on 7th June for a FREE half-day symposium in association with the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar and the Fordham Romanticism Group, New York. Listen to talks by leading scholars who will restore the forgotten literary history of the Royal Institution and highlight its unique interdisciplinary contribution to British Romantic culture.

The event will conclude with a wine reception to celebrate the launch of Sarah Zimmerman’s new book The Romantic Literary Lecture in Britain (Oxford University Press).

Book here.

19th Century Matters: Digital Mapping Training Day, May 2019

Are you an Early Career Researcher working on the long nineteenth century? Have you ever wondered why bother with digital mapping and what it could contribute to your research?

Registration is now open for a one day research and training event in digital mapping for Early Career Researchers, including current PhD students, in English and History, 29 May 2019, 10.30-16.30, at the Ruskin Library and Research Centre, Lancaster University. The day aims to support and inspire absolute beginners in considering using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology in their own research. The day will include two training sessions in using ArcGIS Online, a keynote speaker and two researcher talks that will showcase successful research projects which use GIS to study historical and literary texts. The event should appeal to Early Career Researchers in English and History whose research spans across the nineteenth century, from the early Romantics to the Victorians. 

 

Keynote Speaker:

Professor Ian N. Gregory (Lancaster University)

 

Speakers:

Dr Christopher Donaldson (Lancaster University)

Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores (Lancaster University)

 

ArcGIS Online Training Sessions Facilitator:

Dr Joanna Taylor (University of Manchester)

 

The event is free, and limited to twenty places. If you are interested in attending the event please use this link to register. Please note, attendees will need to bring their own fully-charged laptop to participate in the two training sessions.

The training day is sponsored by the British Association for Romantic Studies and the British Association for Victorian Studies and is an outcome of their joint Nineteenth-Century Matters fellowship. There are eleven £50 travel grants available for ECRs living 30 miles or more from Lancaster; please find details of how to apply at the above link.

Report from ‘Romantic Novels 1818’ – Charles Maturin’s Women

A final 2018 report from the ‘Romantic Novels 1818’ seminar. This series is sponsored by BARS and seminars are held at the University of Greenwich. 

 

Charles Robert Maturin, Women; or, Pour et Contre (1818), as discussed by Christina Morin (University of Limerick)

Blog post report by Victoria Ravenwood (Canterbury Christ Church University)

 

 

The highly-anticipated final seminar in the ‘Romantic Novels 1818’ series was delivered by Christina Morin, of the University of Limerick, on Charles Robert Maturin’s Women; or, Pour et Contre. Interestingly, Morin opened the discussion with talk of another notable 1818 novel – namely, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein– and the Frankenreads project directed by Neil Fraistat to mark its 200-year anniversary. With this in mind, she presented the question: Why are we celebrating Frankensteinalone, and not any of the other great works published in that same year? Morin offered Maturin’s Womenas an equally fascinating alternative to Shelley’s seminal Gothic work.

Women; or, Pour et Contrewas Maturin’s fourth novel, and centres around the lives of two women – Eva, a deeply religious but naïve young girl; and Zaira, a beautiful, talented and successful actress – and their romantic involvements with the same man, the charming De Courcy. The novel was supposed to be published in 1816, but was not actually published until several months after the publication of Shelley’s Frankensteinin 1818. Although Shelley is highly unlikely to have read Women before this time, we do know that she was reading other works by Maturin (such as Melmoth the Wanderer) whilst she wrote and prepared Frankensteinfor publication. From this, Morin suggested, we can surmise not only the influence that Maturin’s writing had on Shelley, but also the ways in which he is responsible for contributing to the formation of the literary Gothic.

To be sure, Maturin’s works were popular and influential in the early decades of the nineteenth century. They are not as widely read today, however – evidenced in the fact that a copy of Maturin’s 1818 novel was hard to locate. Likewise, scholarship on Women; or, Pour et Contre,is limited. Morin suggested that the main reason for this erasure is that defining and identifying Irish Gothic fiction in the Romantic period is difficult, with criticism tending largely to overlook works which fall outside of the retrospectively defined boundaries of Romantic fiction (which, she added, is very much held to an ‘English standard’).

Morin explained that Irish writers had been contributing to the Gothic all along, with notable writers such as Regina Maria Roche utilizing the tropes of the genre as early as the 1780s, and yet she also noted that works by these writers are little read now. Moreover, they are continually written out of literary criticism, or else mentioned only to be dismissed as opportunistic imitators of more widely-acclaimed Gothic writers such as Ann Radcliffe. Morin argued, however, that works by the likes of Maturin cannot, and should not, be dismissed as such.

– Victoria Ravenwood