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BARS Blog

News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

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BARS First Book Prize 2019: Judges’ Report

Thanks to everyone who submitted their first books to the 2017-2019 round. In total, the judging panel received 29 titles from which we created a short list of 8. In terms of gender breakdown, 14 of the nominated books were by men and 15 by women. Of the final 8, 3 books were by men and 5 by women with 3 published by Cambridge University Press, 2 by Oxford University Press, 1 by University of Virginia Press, 1 by Bucknell University Press and 1 by Palgrave. Shortlisted authors were based in the UK, the US and Australia. It was a real privilege to read across our dynamic field and encounter so much excellent work. Warm congratulations to all authors of first books, especially to the winners and runners up!

Claire Connolly (University College Cork; Chair), Daniel Cook (University of Dundee), Jane Moore (Cardiff University) and Mark Sandy (University of Durham).

WINNER

Thomas H. Ford, Wordsworth and the Poetics of Air (Cambridge UP)

We are familiar with atmosphere as a figure that names the air that surrounds us: as historical situation, emotional environs or prevailing psychological climate. These metaphorical meanings draw on early modern discoveries in the natural sciences and began to circulate more generally in culture from around 1800. Thomas Ford’s book, Wordsworth and the Poetics of Air thinks about how, when and where this powerful new vocabulary of atmosphere took shape. The book guides readers through territory at once literal and figurative, helping us to see anew the elements, moods and impressions that seem to surround and pervade poems, novels and plays. In the writing of William Wordsworth in particular, and amidst the ‘winds, clouds, fogs, mists, breezes, breaths and sighs’ of romantic poetry more generally, Ford finds a vocabulary and grammar of atmosphere and air. The result is a wholly original and deeply researched book that joins literary, historical and environmental forms of interpretation in harmonious ways and offers a genuinely original reading of ‘Tintern Abbey’. Wordsworth and the Poetics of Air draws an impressive range of critical sources into the flow of its own argument and moves beyond new historicist and ecocritical readings alike in its reinterpretation of the ways in which form both breathes and is shaped by climate. The very permeability of atmosphere seems to be reproduced in the disciplines that surround and support Ford’s approach, as anthropology, chemistry, politics, philology, physiology, meteorology, philosophy and aesthetics all mediate and colour the work of literary criticism. Above all, Wordsworth and the Poetics of Air enables an address to Romanticism both as defined period or object of knowledge in the past and as the writing of an unfixed and uncertain present. For that we thank Thomas Ford warmly and are proud to confer upon him the BARS First Book Prize for 2019.

RUNNERS UP

Melissa Bailes, Questioning Nature: British Women’s Scientific Writing and Literary Originality: 1750-1830 (Virginia UP)

An impressive new history that allows the natural sciences to reclaim a central cultural place via a close focus on the work of women writers of the period. The book shows how women writers appropriated the hierarchies of contemporary natural history and geology in order to subvert them for their own artistic, social, and political means. The book makes a very strong and deeply researched case for rethinking Romanticism’s engagement with discourses of natural history and revising established gendered readings of the period.

Manu Samriti Chander, Brown Romantics: Poetry and Nationalism in the Global Nineteenth Century (Bucknell UP)

A strikingly original analysis of late nineteenth-century colonial poets who testify to the influence of an earlier nineteenth-century Romanticism while simultaneously calling into question its imperial ideology. The book tracks the experience of colonial marginalization across the empire, considering the crossing of universalist ideals and particular cultural experiences in the work of three poets in particular (Henry Derozio in India, Egbert Martin in British Guiana, and Henry Lawson in Australia). In its detailed research and close attention to newspapers as a publishing output for colonial poets, the book expands our understanding of Romanticism and reorients the field.

Dahlia Porter, Science, Form, and the Problem of Induction in British Romanticism (Cambridge UP)

An original and deeply researched book that makes a case for a new understanding of induction as both method and form in Romanticism, fresh and compelling in its attention to the composite forms that shape the Romantic book. Porter’s monograph addresses a key Romantic idea – that print is out of control – and finds historical, critical and cultural ways to reimagine that diagnosis as a constitutive aspect of Romanticism. Her argument extends from citational practices around 1800 to thinking about how composition becomes self-referential and historical by the 1820s and 1830s.

Call to share online resources

We hope all friends of BARS are keeping well in these challenging times. BARS Communications is seeking to develop our online community and conversations during this difficult, isolating period. Do you have any recommendations for online resources, related to teaching/research in Romanticism, that you think could be useful for members and followers of BARS? If so, please send ideas for bulletins to: britishassociationromantic@gmail.com and we will circulate a collated list via email and on social media. 

You can join the BARS community on Twitter (@BARS_Official), and on Facebook by searching for ‘British Association for Romantic Studies’.

– Anna Mercer (Communications Officer)

Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity – Free, Online, Course

A message below from Gillian Dow, Vice-President of BARS.

Dear Colleagues,

The free, online, course Jane Austen: Myth, Reality and Global Celebrity – designed by me and colleagues at the University of Southampton – first ran via FutureLearn in early 2018, and started its 6th run yesterday, 16th March 2020. I draw it to your attention now, because I am aware that many of our community are moving to online teaching and learning in the light of COVID-19 coronavirus restrictions, and that you may be looking for online resources for your students. Do encourage them to sign up – there are learning activities focusing on Austen and her novels, but also sections that present extracts from Mary Wollstonecraft and Hannah More on female education, early biographies and translations of Austen, as well as material on adaptation and more. There are learning activities that use a variety of online resources, and many videos filmed at both Chawton House and the Jane Austen House museum and beyond.

https://www.futurelearn.com/courses/jane-austen

I’ve been thinking about Humberstall in Rudyard Kipling’s “The Janeites” – “There’s no one to touch Jane when you’re in a tight place”. Although we do our best to complicate ideas of the cosy, domestic ‘Jane’ on the course, it’s clear from the first day of this run of the course that many of our current participants are seeking diversion and online company in difficult times, and that reading/re-reading Austen might help.

Best wishes to all,

Gillian Dow

University of Southampton, Vice-President of BARS

Stephen Copley Research Awards 2020

The BARS Executive Committee has established these bursaries in order to support postgraduate and early-career research within the UK. They are intended to help fund expenses incurred through travel to libraries and archives necessary to the student’s research. As anticipated, this year we received a large number of applications, many of which were of a very high quality indeed. Please do join us in congratulating the very worthy winners. Romanticism is alive and kicking, we’re pleased to say!

•       Hadi Baghaei-Abchooyeh (Swansea University)
•       Amy Louise Blaney (Keele University)
•       Ellen Bulford Welch (University of Sheffield)
•       Roger Hansford (Independent Scholar)
•       Annise Rogers (University of Lincoln)
•       Natalie Tal Harries (Independent Scholar)

Once they have completed their research trips each winner will write a brief report on their projects. These will be published on the website and circulated through our social media. For more information about the bursaries, including reports from past winners, please visit our website.

Daniel Cook
Bursaries Officer, BARS
University of Dundee
d.p.cook@dundee.ac.uk

The BARS Review, No. 53 (Spring-Autumn 2019)

William Blake, Illustration to Dante’s “Divine Comedy”, ‘Paradiso’, Canto XXV – St Peter, St James, Dante and Beatrice with St John (1824-27). © Trustees of the British Museum. Reproduction used under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.

We are glad to announce the publication of the most recent issue of The BARS Review (No. 53, Spring-Autumn 2019).  The issue contains a total of fifteen reviews of recent scholarly work within the field of Romanticism, broadly conceived.  Six of the reviews compromise a ‘spotlight’ section on ‘Romantic Ideas’.

If you have comments on the new number, or on the Review in general, we’d be very grateful for any feedback that would allow us to improve the site or its content.  Mark Sandy would also be very happy to hear from people who would like to review for BARS.

Editor: Mark Sandy (Durham University)
General Editors: Ian Haywood (University of Roehampton) and Anthony Mandal (Cardiff University)
Technical Editor: Matthew Sangster (University of Glasgow)


No 53 (2019)

Table of Contents

Reviews

Christina Lupton, Reading and the Making of Time in the Eighteenth Century
Sophie Laniel-Musitelli
Joanna Wharton, Material Enlightenment: Women Writers and the Science of Mind, 1770-1830
Olivia Murphy
Sibylle Erle and Morton D. Paley, eds., Reception of William Blake in Europe
Susan Matthews
Jeff Strabone, Poetry and British Nationalisms in the Bardic Eighteenth Century: Imagined Antiquities
David Stewart
Brandon C. Yen, The Excursion and Wordsworth’s Iconography
Brandon Wernette
Stephanie Elizabeth Churms, Romanticism and Popular Magic: Poetry and Cultures of the Occult in the 1790s
Tim Sommer
Robin Schofield, The Vocation of Sara Coleridge: Authorship and Religion
Amy Wilcockson
Jessica Fay, Wordsworth’s Monastic Inheritance: Poetry, Place, and the Sense of Community
Adam Potkay
Heather Tilley, Blindness and Writing: From Wordsworth to Gissing
Jayne Thomas

Spotlight: Romantic Ideas

Paul Cheshire, William Gilbert and Esoteric Romanticism: A Contextual Study and Annotated Edition of The Hurricane
Jacob Lloyd
Dahlia Porter, Science, Form, and the Problem of Induction in British Romanticism
James Morland
Maximiliaan van Woudenberg, Coleridge and Cosmopolitan Intellectualism 1794–1804: The Legacy of Göttingen University
Chris Townsend
Evan Gottlieb, Romantic Realities: Speculative Realism and British Romanticism
David Higgins
Brian Rejack and Michael Theune, eds., Keats’s Negative Capability: New Origins and Afterlives
Amina Brik
Charles Morris Lansley, Charles Darwin’s Debt to the Romantics: How Alexander von Humboldt, Goethe and Wordsworth Helped Shape Darwin’s View of Nature
Daniel Vázquez Calvo

Whole Number

The BARS Review, No. 53 (Spring-Autumn 2019) – review compilation
The BARS Review Editors

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.