BARS Blog

BARS Blog

News and Commentary from the British Association for Romantic Studies

Posts filed under Conferences

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

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.

 

BARS 2020 ECR & PGR Conference: Volunteer Helpers

The BARS Postgraduate Representatives, Amanda Blake Davis and Colette Davies, invite current postgraduate students with postgraduate status until Summer 2020 to assist with the running of the BARS 2020 ECR and PGR Conference. The conference will be held at Keats House, Hampstead, from 12th-13th June 2020. We are looking for four volunteers to assist with the preparations, set up and stewarding of the conference. An overview of the responsibilities is as follows:

  • Help with preparations beforehand: assembling conference bags, programmes, etc.
  • Help set up the conference: lifting and moving chairs and tables, preparing and replenishing hot and chilled beverages, etc.
  • Steward on the days of conference: assist delegates where needed, such as setting up PowerPoint presentations, etc.

We expect conference volunteers to be available to help on Thursday 11th June to set up. In return, the selected volunteers will be offered a subsidised conference registration fee. Please note that the conference fee does not include accommodation.

Please send expressions of interest, including relevant experience, in no more than 400 words to both of these email addresses: colette.davies@nottingham.ac.uk and abdavis1@sheffield.ac.uk. Please also state what year of your PhD you are in and your affiliated university.

The deadline for applications is midnight on Thursday 25th July 2020. Amanda and Colette look forward to hearing from you!

Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century: Registration Open

Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century

University of Lincoln, 23 July 2019  

Plenary Speaker: Prof. Devoney Looser, Arizona State University, ‘Ageing in Public: Women Authors in the Nineteenth Century’

Organisers: Dr Alice Crossley, Dr Amy Culley, Dr Rebecca Styler

This conference responds to the burgeoning critical interest of humanities scholars in age, ageing, and stages of life from childhood to old age in the literature and culture of the nineteenth century. Scholars from literature, history, art history, and the social sciences will address the experiences, conceptions, and representations of the ageing process in a variety of media, forms, and genres. Panel topics are as follows:

  • Writing and Im/maturity
  • Ageing as Decline?
  • Women Ageing with Authority
  • Recovering the Ageing Body
  • Counter/Stereotypes of Ageing
  • The Bildung Narrative and its Discontents

A selection of papers from the conference will form the basis of a special issue on ‘Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century’ for the journal Age, Culture, Humanities to appear in 2021.

There is no charge for the conference, but registration is required. The deadline for registration is 17 July 2019.

Click here to visit the conference website (with programme and abstracts).

If you have any queries please contact Dr Amy Culley (aculley@lincoln.ac.uk)

 

Conference Report: ‘Romantic Interactions’, Krakow

The following report is by Charlotte May (University of Nottingham).

‘Romantic Interactions’ Conference

Jagiellonian University in Krakow

4thand 5th April 2019

The ‘Romantic Interactions’ conference at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow interrogated two key definitions of interaction: firstly, social, artistic and literary interactions in the Romantic period itself; and secondly, how readers, audiences and writers have interacted with the Romantic period through different mediums over the past two hundred years.

The conference opened with the first plenary lecture delivered by Mary Jacobus, exploring ‘Keats’ Apollonian Afterlives’. The afternoon included panels on German Romanticism, the Classical Tradition, Cross-cultural and Transatlantic Interactions, and Negative Capability and Poetic Imagination. Brittany Pladek (Marquette University) provided one of many fantastic insights into how we might trace the reception of classical tradition in the Romantic period in the current political climate, including how responses to the #MeToo movement could be found in constructions of guilt in the epic tradition. Keats was very much on the mind of participants in the later afternoon session, with discussions on negative capability heavily influenced by Mary Jacobus’s plenary lecture earlier that day.

The day ended with a wonderful conference dinner at Kawaleria restaurant in Krakow. As Keats had been the focus of many conversations, and Byron had only formed the basis of one paper (Rowland Cotterill’s investigation of Don Juan as a Horatian poem), I posed one question to the dinner attendees: Byron or Keats? Without any context provided, the question proved easier to answer over a glass of wine, and we found that Byron was indeed the winner (although Juliette Wells’ response was, of course, Jane Austen).

(c) Newstead Abbey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

 

(c) National Portrait Gallery

The second and final day of the conference opened with an investigation of philosophical and religious interactions and Romanticism across Borders, in which Judith Thompson’s (Dalhousie University) discussion of John Thelwall as a ‘Citizen of the World’ reminded us of absences arising in interactions, and how much we – as historians and critics – must pursue studies of those who have been excluded from contemporary canons, as well as continue to hunt for evidence of interactions.

The day contained two plenary panels before lunch, covering how poets contemporaneously interacted with each other and how the public have been pursuing interaction with Romanticism since the end of the movement (if such an ‘end’ can indeed be agreed upon). Frederick Burwick (UCLA) spoke on ‘Coleridge’s Interaction with Wordsworth: The ‘Dejection’ Dialogue’, and Juliette Wells (Goucher College) focused on ‘William Dean Howells and the Rise of American Janeitism’.  As previous panels had done, this plenary was an important contribution to questioning the role of national identity within Romanticism and its legacy, and truly proved how the cult of personality and literary tastes could change the course of global literary history.

 

 

The conference ended with Nicola Watson (Open University) taking us on a tour of RỆVE (Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition), an invaluable resource on how Romanticism has been defined and charted since its beginnings in the eighteenth century to the present day. Watson provided us with the example of ‘Shakespeare’s chair and the Polish Princess’,  Monika Coghen (our wonderful host at Jagiellonian University) spoke on ‘Kościuszko’s Mound’, and Mirosɫawa Modrzewska (University of Gdańsk) joined us on Skype to speak about ‘Chopin’s Piano’, three important contributions to the visual exhibition. The conference ended with a rendition of the selected works of Frederick Chopin told through the chronology of Chopin’s interactions with his Scottish patron Jane Stirling by Marcin Jaroszek, accompanied by the wonderful pianist Anna Dębowska. This recovery of Stirling as a supporter and driving-force of Chopin’s career showed how instrumental sociability was in the development of artistic careers and the movement of Romanticism itself. The essential role of women in founding and sculpting the movement of Romanticism had been referred to throughout the conference, particularly in the papers of Vitana Kostadinova (University of Plovdiv), Anna Messing (another of our fantastic hosts), Julie Donovan (George Washington University), and Rayna Rosenova (Sofia University).

This conference showcased up and coming work and projects which will further our understanding and definitions of what it means for an author, text, and literary period to interact. The atmosphere of the conference was friendly and supportive, with scholars from different careers and sectors engaging with a truly international body of delegates. There is surely no better legacy of interactions with(in) Romanticism than a conference such as this.

 

– Charlotte May (University of Nottingham)

 

 

Call for Papers: The Liberal Revolutions of 1820 and their Impact on Literary Culture, University of Minho, Braga, June 29th-30th 2020

The Liberal Revolutions of 1820 and their Impact on Literary Culture

University of Minho, Braga | CEHUM

June 29 and 30, 2020

Organised by the Institute of Arts and Humanities, Centre for Humanistic Studies, in association with the Anglo-Hispanic Horizons Network (AHH)

Taking advantage of the bicentenary celebrations of the liberal revolutions that occurred in southern Europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece) around 1820, but with repercussions in other regions and cultures, this international conference aims to constitute a forum of discussion around the impact that these revolutions had on the literary culture of several countries. Driven by the republican ideals of the French and American Revolutions and by the various independence and nationalist movements, the liberal and constitutionalist wave that swept across several European nations (and their respective colonies) in the first decades of the nineteenth century aimed to completely eradicate the absolutism and feudalism that still prevailed within these monarchist nations, at the end of the Napoleonic invasions. Thus, we are interested in analysing the impact that these movements and striking events had on the literary culture of the nineteenth century, particularly in the works that were then produced in several countries; but we are also interested in exploring the decisive role that many writers (in several languages), some of whom in exile, had in these same movements and events. The ultimate goal of the conference will be to find, in this convergence of different cultures in transition, common literary currents or traditions of a strongly liberal political nature.

In the context of this political liberalism and its literary culture, the prevalence of the British constitutional tradition and its republican adaptation by the American Revolution have been singled out as the main motives for the democratic revolutions that took place in the Atlantic world. Nevertheless, the Iberian traditions of freedom – as well as the literature that sustains them – are usually forgotten in this context. Most notably, the Portuguese Revolution of 1820 is strangely absent from many existing historical and literary accounts. However, if we can say that the position of Portugal in this Atlantic context at the beginning of the nineteenth century was central, we can also say that this context is the main explanatory key to understand the motives of the Portuguese Revolution of 1820. From historical and literary perspectives alike, this can be seen as a process of independence, as the abolition of the Old Regime, as the constitution of freedom, and as the foundation of a Portuguese liberal constitutional tradition. But, also, as a response to the extraordinary international challenges that were imposed on Portugal’s independence – by countries such as France, Great Britain, Spain and Brazil. In short, the Portuguese Revolution of 1820, whose main objective was the founding of a new liberal Portugal, combined both liberalism and nationalism, in the manner of the Atlantic Revolutions; and, more relevantly, with that collective manner and purpose attracted and promoted many individual creators.

Paper proposals (for 20 minute-presentations) around this more general theme and/or the following particular aspects are welcome:

  • Representations of the liberal revolutions in the literary culture of the period and of later periods
  • The role of periodicals and of illustration in the (creative) representation of the liberal revolts
  • The links between liberalism and the romantic movements in the European and non-European context
  • Issues of political liberty and freedom of literary creation inaugurated by the liberal revolutions
  • The literary places of European and non-European liberalism: genesis, memory, recreation
  • The emergence of the national literatures and nationalist and independence issues in the period
  • Legends and myths associated with the romantic liberal revolt, including the figure of the hero (revolutionaries and martyrs)
  • The perspective of the Other – the liberal revolts seen from the literary culture of other countries
  • Literary images of refugees and exiles in the context of the liberal revolutions and/or writers in exile
  • Literary representations of secret societies in the context of the liberal struggles (the example of Carbonaria)
  • Liberalism and literary genre: The importance of the historical novel in the representation of the liberal conflicts; the role of lyric and drama in the period
  • The diffusion or expansion of literary culture in the context of the liberal revolutions; reception and translation issues

Organisation: Institute of Arts and Humanities, Centre for Humanistic Studies (NETCult), in association with the Anglo-Hispanic Horizons Network (AHH)

 

Confirmed Guest Speakers:

  • Prof. Ian Haywood (University of Roehampton, UK. President of British Association for Romantic Studies and President of AHH)
  • Prof. Diego Saglia (University of Parma, Italy, senior member of AHH)
  • Prof. Fernando Machado (University of Minho, Portugal)

 

Organising Committee:

  • Paula Alexandra Guimarães (Coordinator)
  • Orlando Grossegesse
  • Ian Haywood
  • Diego Saglia
  • Sérgio Sousa
  • Carlos Pazos
  • Hugo Machado
  • Ana Catarina Monteiro

 

Scientific Committee:

  • Agustín Coletes Blanco (University of Oviedo, Spain)
  • Alicia Laspra Ródriguez (University of Oviedo, Spain)
  • André Corrêa de Sá (Univ. Santa Barbara, California, USA)
  • Angela Esterhammer (University of Toronto, Canada)
  • Carlos Pazos (University of Minho, Portugal)
  • Cristina Flores (University of La Rioja, Spain)
  • Eugenia Perojo Arronte (University of Valladolid, Spain)
  • Eunice Ribeiro (University of Minho, Portugal)
  • Fernando Duraán (University of Cadiz, Spain)
  • João Paulo Braga (Catholic University, Portugal)
  • Jonatan González (University of La Rioja, Spain)
  • Jorge Bastos (University of Porto, Portugal)
  • Manuel Gama (University of Minho, Portugal)
  • Maria de Fátima Marinho (University of Porto, Portugal)
  • Orlando Grossegesse (University of Minho, Portugal)
  • Otília Martins (University of Aveiro, Portugal)
  • Paula Alexandra Guimarães (University of Minho, Portugal)
  • Paulo Motta (University of São Paulo, Brazil)
  • Sérgio Sousa (University of Minho, Portugal)
  • Xaquín Nuñez (University of Minho, Portugal)

 

Information

Submission – abstracts (between 200 and 300 words), with titles, keywords (5) and bionotes (100 words) should be sent to the following e-mail address: litcehum@ilch.uminho.pt.

The languages of communication are the following: Portuguese, English, Spanish, French and Italian.

The paper proposals will be analysed and selected by the scientific committee. At the end of the conference, the organising committee plans to make a peer-reviewed selection of the texts presented for publication: in electronic format and in book form (the latter on request).

 

Important Dates

  • Submission of proposals: until October 31, 2019
  • Notification of acceptance: until December 31, 2019
  • Conference registration (online): until January 31, 2020
  • Programme publication (online): March 31, 2020
  • Registration (for attendants): until May 31, 2020
  • Conference: June 29 and 30, 2020

 

For more information, please see the conference website: http://cehum.ilch.uminho.pt/revolutions.

‘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.

BARS 2019: Romantic Facts and Fantasies – Registration Open

Please see below for a notice from the organisers of BARS 2019 giving more information about the fantastic range of activities they’ve arranged and providing details about registration, accommodation and bursaries.

BARS 2019: Romantic Facts and Fantasies

The BARS 2019 Conference Organising Committee are pleased to announce that registration for BARS 2019: Romantic Facts and Fantasies is now open. For more information and online registration please visit https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/conference/fac-arts/english/romantic-studies/index.aspx

The registration fee includes the opening evening reception and informal dinner on Thursday, a BBQ on Friday, and buffet lunch daily as well as unlimited refreshments available all day at the conference centre (tea, coffee, cappuccinos, lattes, mineral water, biscuits and fresh fruit). Free parking is available on site. Delegates will have free access to the state-of-the-art gym and 25m swimming pool at the University of Nottingham’s new David Ross Sports Village. Other facilities including a climbing wall and squash and badminton courts can also be pre-booked for a small charge.

The conference dinner on Saturday is optional and may be booked at the time of registration, together with a selection of optional excursions on Saturday afternoon (see below).

We hope to release a limited number of single-day tickets in due course, as numbers permit.

Accommodation

Choose from ensuite rooms in either Rutland Hall of Residence or The DeVeres Orchards Hotel.

Membership of BARS

To participate in BARS 2019, you must be a member of the British Association for Romantic Studies. If you are not already a member, please purchase your subscription via the online shop when you register for the conference.

Optional Excursions

·         Derby City Museum and Art Gallery & Pickfords House

·         Newstead Abbey

·         Kedleston Hall

·         Walk to Wollaton Park with tour of Natural History and Industrial Museums (FREE)

·         BARS Exhibition Lakeside Arts Romantic Facts and Fantasies: Culture and Heritage of the Romantic Age (FREE)

Bursaries

The Early Bird rate for PhD/unwaged delegates has been heavily subsidised by BARS and the School of English, University of Nottingham in order to support postgraduate and early career scholars to attend and present their work. We hope to offer some additional bursaries at a later date, depending on numbers and finances, but cannot guarantee that we will be in a position to do so. More information will be made available by 1 July 2019.

We are very much looking forward to seeing you at BARS 2019!

Conference Report: Women & the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century

Women & the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century

Friday 8 March 2019, University of Sheffield

By Hannah Moss, PhD Researcher in the School of English

Scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day, Women & the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century took place on Friday 8 March at the University of Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute. I organised this one-day conference, kindly sponsored by BARS, to reappraise the role women played in the arts during the period. As a PhD candidate specialising in the representation of women’s art in the Romantic-era novel, my aim was to bring together fellow researchers working on connected topics in the hope of fostering interdisciplinary thought.

With 2019 marking the 250thanniversary of the inaugural Royal Academy exhibition, I felt that it was both important and timely for an event to bring female creativity in the period to the forefront of discussion. Women & the Arts brought together those specialising in Art History, Literature, Theatre, and Music to share their research, with the event particularly targeted at those working on the intersection between literature and the arts in order to explore the ways in which writers represent artistic endeavour. The international reach of the call for papers saw delegates travelling to Sheffield from as far afield as France and Canada, with the conference hosting 14 speakers across 4 panels, plus a keynote address from Dr Claudine Van Hensbergen (Northumbria University).

Postgraduate researchers, early career scholars, lecturers and curators all came together to share their research on a diverse range of topics including colour theory, country house collections, collage and copies. I opened the first panel on Characterising the Female Artist with a paper arguing for creativity in the copy, using the artist heroines in Ann Radcliffe’s The Italian (1797) and Mary Shelley’s The Last Man (1826) to show how Radcliffe and Shelley raise the status of the copy in a way that self-reflexively promotes the woman writer. Kim Rondeau (Concordia University) followed with a fascinating insight into her research on Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun as a politically and ideologically undesirable subject for feminist Art History, noting how Simone de Beauvoir criticised her insipid ‘smiling maternity’. Next, Rosie Razzall (Royal Collection Trust) presented on the sacred tokens found pasted to numerous examples of Rosalba Carriera’s pastels, commenting upon how this performative practice contributes to her self-image. Miriam Al Jamil (Birkbeck) rounded-off the panel by discussing Eleanor Coade’s commercial success producing artificial stone, and examining the trade cards in which she characterises herself as an emblematic neo-classical figure, ‘Fiery Force’.

A break for coffee and a selection of vegan and gluten free cakes allowed us to refuel ahead of the next round of presentations. With two parallel panels to choose from, Poetry, Performance & Patronage opened with Eva Lippold (Independent Researcher) discussing the representation of intellectual women on stage, with particular reference to Frances Burney’s The Witlings (1779)Jemima Hubberstey (University of Oxford/English Heritage) followed with her paper exploring the critical voices of Jemima Marchioness Grey and Catherine Talbot in the Wrest coterie, noting how both women had a keen critical eye for literature as well as an avid love for reading, before Léa Renucci (EHESS-University of Verona) spoke on poetry and sociability in relation to the pastorelle of the Accademia degli Arcadi in the Eighteenth Century.

The parallel panel on Women Patrons & Collectors saw Amy Lim (University of Oxford/Tate) question the concept of gendered spheres through her case study of the art patronage of Elizabeth Seymour, Duchess of Somerset. Lizzie Rogers (University of Hull) maintained our focus on the Seymour family, following with a paper on the social and creative worlds of Frances Seymour, Countess of Hertford, and Elizabeth Seymour Percy, First Duchess of Northumberland, noting Elizabeth’s enthusiasm for sharing her collection even though the likes of Horace Walpole mercilessly mocked her as a collector. Elizabeth Ford (IASH University of Edinburgh) presented on the influence of Susanna, Lady Eglinton – a 6ft tall beauty whose eyebrows, and flute-playing, inspired sonnets. This paper included a musical interlude so we could listen to extracts of the songs discussed.

After a break for lunch, and an opportunity to discuss the morning’s papers, we gathered together for our final panel of the day on Material Culture, Art & Society. Susan Bennett (William Shipley Group for RSA History) opened by promoting the Society of Arts as a valuable resource for researchers, charting the Society’s long association of supporting women artists, rewarding many examples of experimental artistic practice with prizes. Freya Gowrley (University of Edinburgh) gave us an insight into her fascinating project on collage before Modernism, covering issues of periodization and the divide between art and craft, whilst Serena Dyer (University of Hertfordshire) used Ann Frankland Lewis’ beautiful ‘Dress of the Year’ watercolours as a means of engaging with women’s material lives, noting the social, political, familial and emotional implications behind the choice of dresses depicted. Finally, Alexandra Loske (University of Sussex/Royal Pavilion) introduced us to Mary Gartside: flower painter, teacher, colour theorist (c.1860s-c.1808). Loske’s research has found that Gartside was probably the first woman to publish on colour theory, and as a special treat for attendees, she brought along her own copy Gartside’s Essay on Light and Shade(1805) so we could view her experimental colour blots at close hand.

A link between many of the papers highlighted during the time allocated for questions was the issue of women’s commercial involvement in the arts, and this was a theme which continued to be explored in our keynote address: ‘Female Wits and Muses: Professional Women and the Arts in the Eighteenth Century’. Claudine van Hensbergen (Northumbria University) challenged the problematic definition of the term ‘professional’ in relation to money rather than skill when we still live with a gender pay gap. One example cited was Mary Beale who is often credited as the first professional woman artist, but it was a move to a fashionable address rather than a notible improvement in skill which marked her transition.

Live Tweeting was encouraged throughout the day in order to engage with a wider audience who were not able to attend in person. In this spirit, Madeleine Pelling (University of York) submitted a wonderfully detailed poster presentation on the Duchess of Portland’s vase and was on hand to answer any questions online even thought she wasn’t able to join us in Sheffield. You can look back at what was being discussed on the day by reading the feed from @WomensArt2019 or by following the hashtag #WomensArt2019.

Positive feedback received on the day via comment cards and Twitter focused on the cultural relevance of the event, the range of papers presented, and the inclusive atmosphere – not to mention the conference cake printed with Adélaïde Labille-Guiard’s Self-Portrait with Two Pupils (1785, The Met: New York). Well, it wouldn’t have been a conference on eighteenth-century art without a portrait cake!

It just remains for me to say thank you to everyone who attended for making Women & the Arts such a friendly and intellectually stimulating environment, as well as to BARS whose generous funding not only helped with running costs, but meant that postgraduate travel bursaries could be offered. I hope that the conversations initiated during the course of the day will continue, and aim to publish a special edition from the conference proceedings to disseminate the research further. I envisage that this will be just the first event of this kind, and would very much like to run another Women & the Arts conference in the near future.

– Hannah Moss  (PhD Researcher at the University of Sheffield & organiser of Women & the Arts)

Read more about BARS conference funding here.