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BARS Blog

News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

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Call for Expressions of Interest: BARS 2023 INTERNATIONAL BIENNIAL CONFERENCE

Deadline: 23 February 2020

Send your EoI to Jennifer Orr (Jennifer.Orr@newcastle.ac.uk)

THE BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR ROMANTIC STUDIES is pleased to invite Expressions of Interest for the 2023 International Biennial Conference. The last two BARS conferences (York 2017 and Nottingham 2019) were very successful, and we will be co-hosting a large conference with the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism at Edge Hill University in Summer 2021.

Since 2015, attendance at BARS conferences has grown to around 250 and delegate feedback has been very positive. We are very much looking forward to working with institutions in continuing to build on and to diversify the successful BARS model. Please consult the programmes for Cardiff, York and Nottingham as guides for your proposal.

A decision will be made by the BARS Executive at its next meeting in March 2020 and the successful applicants will be invited to submit a report for the following Executive meeting, which will be held electronically in July 2020. The successful applicants will also be expected to make a presentation at the next conference, Edge Hill 2021.

Host institutions are expected to take account of the following in preparing their Expressions of Interest:

Venue location, capacity and accessibility

We expect numbers could range between 250 to 275 delegates: please bear this figure in mind when bidding. You will need a plenary lecture hall large enough to accommodate these numbers, plus a sufficient number of breakout rooms and catering facilities (BARS conferences can normally have around ten parallel sessions). For North American colleagues in particular, the distance from a major airport and transport links will be an important factor, so please bear this in mind.

We expect organizers to offer a range of accommodation from traditional student-type lodgings through to hotel-level facilities. Sufficient cheaper accommodation to allow postgraduate participation is desirable: such accommodation should be within reasonable walking distance of the conference venue or the organizers should make suitable travel arrangements to take delegates to and from the venue.

The venue is expected to meet the usual requirements for facilities in academic meetings, including Wi-Fi and PowerPoint/projection facilities in all rooms. It is desirable that the meeting rooms are in reasonably close proximity to each other and that there is a communal meeting area or foyer, preferably with refreshment facilities so that delegates can socialize and browse publisher stands.

In order to comply with BARS’s commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion, conference organizers should ensure that the venue, accommodation and transportation are fully accessible.

Conference theme

This should be of sufficient scope and significance to allow the Association’s members to take part. Recent themes have been ‘Romantic Imprints’, ‘Romantic Improvement’, ‘Romantic Facts and Fantasies’ and ‘New Romantics’. The full list of previous conferences can be found on the BARS website.

Timetable

The conference has typically run from Thursday to Sunday in the second half of July, with the conference commencing on the afternoon of the first day and finishing on Sunday afternoon. However, this is a flexible schedule and proposers are encouraged to deviate from this model, for instance proposing a Monday-to-Thursday event (indeed, BARS 2021 will be running from Tuesday to Friday).

The BARS Executive normally meet on the evening before the conference begins: organizers will need to arrange a suitable venue for this (two-hour) meeting. The meeting typically concludes with a short tour of the conference venue for the Executive members in attendance. In fixing on a date, it is especially important organizers should check which conferences are already scheduled for what is often a busy time in the calendar and liaise with conference and society chairs in order to avoid clashes wherever possible and facilitate attendance at all events. Conferences which run during summers and are likely to be attended by BARS delegates include those hosted by the British Association for Victorian Studies, the International Conference on Romanticism, the International Gothic Association, the International Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies and the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism.

The CFP is usually circulated by October of the preceding year (2022) and the outcome of the refereeing process confirming speakers is usually made by the middle of January.

Vetting of papers

It is usual for members of the BARS Executive to serve on the panel which referees the proposals for panel papers, though the local organizers have the final right of veto. (It is desirable that papers are refereed not only for the integrity of the event, but also to help delegates secure financial support from funding bodies and institutions.)

Programme

The programme usually takes the form of parallel sessions consisting of panels where delegates deliver 20-minute papers. BARS welcomes convened and themed panels that reflect cutting-edge projects and collaborative research, and other formats such as roundtables and workshops. In addition, there are usually four or five plenary lectures, one of which is designated the Stephen Copley Lecture and another the Marilyn Butler lecture in memory of BARS’s founding members and much-loved scholars. Plenaries are chosen by the local organizing committee, though BARS expects this to reflect a gender balance and a mixture of national and international scholars. In the arrangements of the panel sessions and the timing of the plenary lectures the organizers are asked to consider seriously the responsibility of offering all speakers a reasonable size of audience (it is now standard practice to end the conference on the final day with a keynote). BARS expects panels to incorporate postgraduate and early career researchers opportunities alongside more established academics. The programme should also include specific sessions targeted at professional development for ECRs.

Reception, Book Prize, Banquet, PGR/ECR reception

The BARS conference includes a reception (normally on the first night), a slot for the BARS First Book Prize awards (this can be done at the reception or can be separate), and a banquet on the third night. It has increasingly been the case that informal meals are offered on the second night, although this depends on local factors such as whether the conference venue is campus-based or near a well-provisioned civic centre. Payment for the banquet is optional and can be purchased during registration. There should also be an evening slot for a reception aimed specifically at postgraduate and early career researchers: this typically takes the form of informal drinks and/or dinner, and often runs on the second night but should not be scheduled against the Banquet, in case PGRs/ECRs wish to attend.

Refreshments and lunches 

BARS expects the conference registration fee to include refreshments (before the first sessions each day and regular 30-minute coffee breaks), buffet food for the reception, and lunches on Days 2 to 4 (one of these can be a brown bag lunch on the excursion day). Please build this into your costs.

Conference excursion

It is usual to arrange an excursion or choice of excursions with laid-on transport within the schedule, to take place usually on the Saturday (i.e. Day 3) afternoon, and to a ‘Romantic’ venue with general relevance to the conference e.g. a museum, estate, birthplace, gallery. We are keen to explore offering the excursion on another day (e.g. the final day of the conference, or before the main activity of the conference commences), for reasons of inclusivity. The excursion is always an optional extra in terms of costings and can be purchased during registration.

Biennial General Meeting

The conference organizers are required to find a central time (at least one hour, which can be the lunch hour) within the schedule to host the BARS BGM. Key aspects of the BGM are: presentation of reports from the Executive to Membership; election of the new BARS Executive for 2023–2025; presentations on the PGR/ECR conference in 2024 and BARS 2025.

Cost

Organizers are asked to keep costs as low as possible without compromising the quality of the event. Please provide as much information as you can about the predicted registration fee, including a day rate and discounted rates for PGRs, ECRs, retired and unwaged, as well as whether you propose to include discounted ‘early bird’ rates. In order to maximize inclusion, day rates must feature as part of the package offered to delegates.

BARS is willing to provide an appropriate level of support to its international conference; any profits are expected to be shared 50/50 with BARS. 

The selection committee strongly encourages proposers to include indicative budgets with projected income and costings, in order to confirm the event’s viability and affordability for delegates.

Liaison

Organizers will maintain contact with the BARS Executive throughout the planning process. This is usually managed by the co-option of a local organizer onto the BARS Executive for a period of two or more years. A delegation from BARS will also make a site visit in 2021 or 2022 to check through logistics, run through the programme and offer general advice. The BARS Executive will also approve the final programme.

Recipients of the BARS/Wordsworth Trust Early Career Fellowship 2020

BARS and The Wordsworth Trust are delighted to announce that two fellowships have been awarded for 2020.

We received a number of excellent applications, and the two Early Career Researchers taking up the fellowships in 2020 are:

Dr Alexis Wolf

Dr Francesca Mackenney

Congratulations to Alexis and Francesca, and on behalf of everyone at BARS and the Wordsworth Trust, thank you to all those who applied.

The Fellowship invites ECRs to work with Jeff Cowton (Curator and Head of Learning) during one of the most exciting and transformative times in the Wordsworth Trust’s history. The major HLF-funded project ‘Reimagining Wordsworth’ is due for completion in time to celebrate Wordsworth’s 250th birthday on 7 April 2020. The Wordsworth Trust is committed to embracing the Creative Case for Diversity and believe that by welcoming a wide range of influences, practices and perspectives, we can better understand the collection in Grasmere and the stories it can tell, thereby enriching public programmes. The purpose of this Fellowship is to help the Trust to achieve just that – to examine the collection from a different perspective, and to use that perspective and knowledge to help audiences better understand and engage with Wordsworth’s life and work.

Read more about the fellowships here.

We look forward to hearing the outcomes of the fellowships undertaken by Alexis and Francesca. Reports from both successful applicants will be posted on the BARS Blog.

– Anna Mercer (Communications Officer)

 

New BARS Treasurer and New BARS Membership Secretary

An announcement from the BARS Secretary, Dr Jennifer Orr, below.

Dear BARS members,

As you will know, our current Treasurer is stepping down after many years of service to the organisation. We have divided the role to create two new Executive posts of Membership Secretary and Treasurer and I am delighted to announce that Dr Tess Somervell and Dr Cassie Ulph will be taking up these posts, respectively.

As the new membership year will soon be upon us, please note Tess’s details below for any cheques and membership correspondence:

Dr Tess Somervell
Email: t.e.s.somervell@leeds.ac.uk
Tel: +44 (0)113 343 1690
Address: School of English, University of Leeds, LS2 9JT

On behalf of the BARS Executive, I would like to extend our warmest thanks to outgoing Treasurer Dr Jane Moore for her service to BARS over the years.

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas,

Jennifer

Welcome to the team, Dr Cassie Ulph and Dr Tess Somervell! Thank you again, Dr Jane Moore, for your wonderful work with BARS.

BARS STEPHEN COPLEY RESEARCH AWARDS 2020

Postgraduates and early career scholars working in the area of Romanticism are invited to apply for a Stephen Copley Research Award.  The BARS Executive Committee has established the bursaries in order to help fund expenses incurred through travel to libraries and archives, up to a maximum of £500. A postgraduate must be enrolled on a doctoral programme in the UK; an early career scholar is defined as someone who holds a PhD (from the UK) but has not held a permanent academic post for more than three years by the application deadline. Application for the awards is competitive, and cannot be made retrospectively.

Successful applicants must be members of BARS before taking up the award. The names of recipients will be announced on the BARS website and social media, and successful applicants will be asked to submit a short report to the BARS Executive Committee within four weeks of the completion of the research trip and to acknowledge BARS in their doctoral thesis and/or any publication. Reports may also be published on the BARS Blog where this is appropriate. Previous winners or applicants are encouraged to apply again.

Please send the following information in support of your application (up to two pages of A4 maximum in word.doc format):
* Your full name and institutional affiliation (if any).
* The working title and a short abstract or summary of your PhD or current project.
* A brief description of the research to be undertaken for which you need support.
* An estimated costing for the proposed research trip.
* Estimated travel dates.
* Details of current or recent funding (AHRC award, &c.), if applicable.
* The name of one supervisor/referee (with email address) to whom application can be made for a supporting reference on your behalf.
* The name and contact details (including email address and Twitter handle) of whomever updates your departmental website or social media, if known. And your own Twitter handle, if applicable.

Applications and queries should be directed to the bursaries officer, Dr Daniel Cook (d.p.cook@dundee.ac.uk) at the University of Dundee. The deadline for applications is 1 February in any given year.

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

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

Please click here to view the document containing role descriptions.

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

BARS/Wordsworth Trust Early Career Fellowship 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stephen Copley Research Report: Jonathan Taylor on Alexander Runciman

This report is by Jonathan Taylor (University of Surrey), a recipient of the Stephen Copley Research grant. Find out how to apply for this BARS award here.

My Stephen Copley Research Award funded a trip to Edinburgh to consult the National Records of Scotland and the Scottish National Gallery’s collections of letters and drawings by the painter Alexander Runciman (1736-85).

What interests me about Runciman — who is best known as the creator of the first (now sadly lost) decorative scheme based on James Macpherson’s Ossian epics — is his heroic treatment of female characters from the epic tradition. Whereas other late eighteenth-century artists (most notably Angelica Kauffman) had pioneered painters’ treatment of women as heroic subjects, they also tended to circumscribe the heroism of female epic characters, such as Andromache and Penelope, to passive acts of suffering and endurance. In several instances, Runciman went a step further, representing the suffering of female epic heroes not as something in which they have no agency, but something that they bravely elect to undergo. This is most obviously the case in Runciman’s depiction of Corgan Carglâ, a hunter from Macpherson’s Ossian, who chooses to be imprisoned in a cave for life rather than submit to her husband’s murderer.

Before my research trip, I thought I had discerned the origins of Runciman’s contemporarily unusual approach to female heroism in preparatory drawings for a rendering of the death of Dido, which appear to give Virgil’s tragic heroine more and more agency in successive sketches. The truth was, as I found out, both more interesting and more confusing. The drawings (held by the Scottish National Gallery) do gradually shift away from the passive and sentimental renderings of Dido that were popular with earlier eighteenth-century artists, in which the queen typically appears to have died as the direct result of her abandonment by Aeneas, rather than (in any obvious way) by her own hand. However, while what appears to be the final drawing shows Dido very much alive, clutching the sword with which she will end her own life and evidently weighing her options — an artistic choice which emphasises her agency and tacitly associates her with the Classical tradition of tragic but heroic suicide populated by figures including Seneca and Lucan — the painting itself rows back on these innovations and offers a conventional portrayal of Dido as a passive and inert victim.

National Records of Scotland

A year later, as I discovered in a letter held at the National Records of Scotland, Runciman was contemplating an even more drastic return to the gendered conventions of male heroism and female passivity that typify the epic. His original plan for what he would later turn into the Ossian decorative scheme at Sir John Clerk’s Penicuik House (near Edinburgh) was an uncompromisingly manly and conventionally heroic scheme based upon the life of Achilles. The only female character Runciman proposed for this series was Achilles’ mother, Thetis, whose agency, as Runciman’s detailed description makes clear, would not even have extended to untying her own sandals.

Evidently, Runciman later opted for the Ossian illustrations, which put Corban Carglâ centre stage, but even here, he agonised over whether to represent the imprisoned hunter as an awe-inspiring figure in her own right, or as a damsel in distress saved by Macpherson’s epic hero Fingal. Two preparatory drawings (also at the Scottish National Gallery) show Runciman wavering between these options, with a muscled and armed Fingal occupying the foreground in one and a (literally towering) Corban Carglâ dominating the frame (with Fingal relegated to the background and looking up awe-struck) in the other.

My findings have made me reflect upon external factors that may have caused Runciman’s apparent flip-flopping, what his prevarication may tell us more broadly about the difficulties or potential repercussions of portraying female heroes during the Romantic period, and the particular problems he may have faced as a male artist championing this model of heroism. I am very grateful to BARS for funding what has been a very productive few days of confusion!

By Jonathan Taylor (University of Surrey)

Stephen Copley Research Report: Francesco Marchionni on Nietzsche

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

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

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

Nietzsche Archiv Museum

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

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

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

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

Francesco Marchionni (Durham University)

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.

Stephen Copley Research Report: Stephen Basdeo on Robert Southey

Robert Southey’s “Harold; or, The Castle of Morford”—The First Robin Hood Novel

By Stephen Basdeo, Associate Professor at the Richmond American International University (Leeds RIASA).

To find out how to apply for a BARS Stephen Copley Research Award, click here

In August, thanks to a generous BARS Stephen Copley Research Award, between 12–15 August, I was able to visit to visit the Bodleian Library in Oxford to consult Robert Southey’s ‘Harold; or, The Castle of Morford’ (Bodleian MS Misc. Eng. e. 21), written in 1791 and purchased by the Bodleian Library from the famous Bristol booksellers W. George’s Sons in 1895.

The manuscript’s unassuming title obscures its significance somewhat, for this is, as far as I can ascertain, the first attempt by any author to write a novel featuring the legendary English outlaw, Robin Hood, as it predates Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe (1819) by 28 years.

Along with a colleague, Dr Mark Truesdale, I am transcribing and publishing Southey’s unpublished text with Routledge as part of its ‘Outlaws in Literature, History, and Culture’ series, and publication is expected in March 2020. The purpose of my visit, then, was to perform final checks of our transcription, such as making sure we had not misread words (young Southey’s handwriting was not the neatest), for the Routledge edition will reproduce, as far as possible, exactly what was written by Southey 228 years ago.

Bodleian MS Misc Eng e. 21

The manuscript is bound in a maroon binding dating from probably the mid-nineteenth century, with gold embossed title on the spine reading ‘Juvenilia Romances MSS. Southey’. Binding the manuscript in this way has the obvious advantage of keeping all of the leaves together but this has also meant that some words on the margins have been obscured due to the tightness of the binding and the fact that Southey often used the whole page, writing right up to the edges of the leaves. Another issue is that the binders also trimmed the pages at the top, bottom, and sides, meaning some words from the manuscript are forever lost.

Luckily for us, someone in the Victorian era faithfully copied out Southey’s tale in full (presumably before it was bound), which meant that deficiencies in the original manuscript (Bodleian MS Misc Eng e. 21) could be cross-checked with the copy (Bodleian MS Misc Eng e. 114), which was donated by Baroness Paravicini to the library in 1927 — not every eighteenth-century scholar has the luxury of having two manuscripts to check when undertaking similar projects!

Southey’s unpublished tale will be of benefit, not only to Robin Hood scholars, but to the eighteenth-century and Romanticism community at large. In it we find poetry written by Southey which he never published, with some of the poetry, written as it was by a 16 year old boy, preoccupied with women’s ‘charms’:

And oft beneath the glassy wave
Her dainty limbs would hide
And oft above the waves appeared
Her gently heaving breast
That charm alone exposed to view
The waves obscured the rest
Come, Launcelot the nymph exclaimed
Tis now the time for love
For silent is the midnight hour
And pleasant is the grove
With that she leaped from out the wave
Exposing all her charms
Come, Launcelot again she cried
Come riot in my arms (55v–56r)

Southey wrote his novel before his political ‘radicalisation’ in 1794, after meeting with Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Yet in ‘Harold’, we do find that even by the age of 16, Southey had developed a social conscience. For example—and the novel is barely historicised—the Robin Hood considers himself as ‘the overseer of the poor rates’, and delights in levying contributions from the richest in society and redistributing wealth to the humblest class of people (14v). And the forest society of Sherwood is an egalitarian one, where even King Richard, who has ventured back to England in disguise and joined the outlaws, thinks himself neither above nor below any of the other outlaws.

Scholars will not have to wait too long to read Southey’s novel, and I am grateful to the British Association for Romantic Studies for providing me with funding to travel to Oxford and ensure that all of mine and Mark’s transcriptions were correct so we can present scholars with an accurate version of what Southey originally wrote and, if they want to consult Southey’s juvenile tale, not have to make an expensive trip to Oxford themselves.

Dr Stephen Basdeo

20th August 2018