Romantic Connections deadline

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The deadline for next year’s Romantic Connections conference in Tokyo, which BARS is supporting, is coming up at the end of the month.  More information from the organisers below, including the exciting lineup of plenary speakers:

“Romantic Connections” (University of Tokyo, June 13-15, 2014).

NASSR supernumerary conference, supported by BARS, GER, JAER, RSAA.

Deadline for submissions: November 30th, 2013

Plenary speakers:

Christoph Bode (LMU Munich)
James Chandler (University of Chicago)

Angela Esterhammer (University of Toronto)

Peter Kitson (University of East Anglia)

Jonathan Lamb (Vanderbilt University)

Kiyoshi Nishiyama (Waseda University)

Over the last two decades, there has been sustained scholarly interest in the connections between European Romanticism and the peoples, and literatures of the rest of the world. In addition to discussing representations of the “East” by Romantic authors, there has been a growing trend towards viewing Romanticism itself in a global context, as a movement shaped by wider eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century forces of trade, migration, material circulation, intellectual exchange, slavery, and colonialism.

While our approach will be informed by the legacy of Saidian “Orientalism,” we are particularly interested in models of intercultural connection which refine or challenge totalizing models of domination and subordination. We welcome papers that shed light upon the question of Romantic “connection” from the broadest range of perspectives: imaginative, linguistic, material, social, sexual, scientific, economic, and political.

For more information, visit our website:

We look forward to welcoming you to Tokyo next year!


Five Questions: Daniel Cook on Chatterton

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Daniel Cook - Thomas Chatterton and Neglected Genius

Dr Daniel Cook is currently Lecturer in English at the University of Dundee and has previously worked at the University of Bristol and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  His first monograph, Thomas Chatterton and Neglected Genius, 1760-1830was recently published by Palgrave.  He kindly answered the following five questions on his work on the Marvellous Boy.

1) How did you first get interested in Chatterton and his afterlives?

Well, I’ve been reading Chatterton’s poems since I was a teenager, before university.  Nick Groom — still my favourite Romanticist — published and edited some of the key modern Chatterton criticism in the late 90s, which I read at school and then as an undergraduate in the noughties.  Keats was always my poet, though, and so when I began to see some verbal echoes of Chatterton’s works (particularly Aella and the Saxon epics) in Keats’ own, it seemed like something I wanted to know more about.  I wrote an undergraduate dissertation on Keats and Chatterton, and, I think, another for my taught postgraduate.  When I started my PhD it seemed sensible to take it further still, and I certainly remember mentioning Coleridge and Shelley in my proposal.  In fact, I spent the first month or two in graduate school reading every bit of secondary criticism on Coleridge that I could find on the assumption that he’d be as prominent a figure in my thesis as Chatterton or Keats.  When, a few months further in, I began to spend a lot of time in the rare books room at Cambridge, poring over the various newspapers and periodicals of the 1770s, 1780s — I mean, the Gentleman’s Magazine and The Monthly Review and the like — it became increasingly obvious that I should be focusing on Chatterton’s critical reception rather than on his influence on other poets.  After all, there have been a (perhaps surprisingly) large amount of excellent studies of Keats and Chatterton — by the great Robert Gittings, among others — and Clare and Chatterton, and even more so on Coleridge and Chatterton.  No one had really considered the scholars’ interest in the poet, though.  I’m thinking of scholars such as Thomas Warton, Thomas Tyrwhitt, Edmond Malone, William Hazlitt and a whole host of the most influential literary critics of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.  Even Dr Johnson had his say.

2) In what ways did Chatterton’s legacies differ from your initial expectations?

The most surprising thing would have been the sheer volume of material.  Each of the monthly issues of the 1777, 1778 Gentleman’s Magazine features at least a short letter, but more often than not a lengthy essay or three, on Chatterton and the Rowley poems.  There are clear peaks of interest, most of which coincide with the publication of a new edition of his works or a contentious revelation, to be sure, but the interest in Chatterton never really waned, at least not until the twentieth century.  Scores of biographies, literary-critical and philological essays, editions, anthologies, imitations, abridgements and such things flooded the print culture of the long eighteenth century.  Dozens and dozens of odes, elegies and monodies were written in his memory.  In the end, I had to focus far less on Keats, Wordsworth and the various other prominent Chatterton acolytes and more on the scholars and critics.  I had planned to have at least one fairly detailed chapter on the Victorian responses to Chatterton.  Browning, Rossetti, Wilde, and others took an interest in the youngster both as a writer and a literary phenomenon.  Fortunately, it turns out, the Victorian Chatterton has been addressed fairly comprehensively by modern scholars in the last ten years or so.  I wouldn’t even know where to begin with modern treatments of Chatterton.  Peter Ackroyd’s counterfactual novel Chatterton would have to feature; but each year sees a new production or engagement with the life and works of the marvellous boy.  In Sydney last year a young librettist performed a one-act piece, for example.  So I’m glad that I attended to might seem pretty traditional a topic: the Romantic cult of Chatterton.  It’s traditional but still under-furrowed ground, I hasten to add.

3) This project began as your doctoral thesis. How did you approach the process of turning this into your book?

In hindsight I was very fortunate insofar as I managed to get a bit of distance between my doctoral project and my new work on Jonathan Swift.  There’s a lot of pressure on early career scholars to turn the thesis into a book, often before they’ve even secured a permanent post — certainly in the middle of a REF cycle.  But the Swift project led to a Leverhulme Early Career fellowship at Bristol during which I planned to study the legacy of Swift, Pope and others in the nineteenth century and beyond (a sort of commingling of my doctoral and postdoctoral interests).  When I turned back to my thesis I had a better sense of both how unique Chatterton’s case was (as a poet much read in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries but relatively unknown today) and how much it intersected with developments in scholarship and criticism in the period.  The main challenge when turning a thesis into a book, I think, is opening it up a bit more, making it far less narrow in its scope without losing its details.  A doctoral thesis is by definition deeply focused whereas a book should feed into further research for others to pursue, often tangentially.  I was tempted, and strongly encouraged, to turn the project into a series of case studies, of which Chatterton would be but one, but a number of publishers were actually keen on Chatterton — Palgrave, in particular, as they’d already published a chapter of mine, and Groom’s Chatterton collection, of course.  It’s quite common to add a chapter or two when revising a dissertation, but in my case I had to cut quite substantially — from something like 100,000 or 110,000 words to around 85,000 — in order to confirm as closely as possible to the publisher’s scope.  I pretty much started the Bibliography from scratch, limiting myself to works cited rather than consulted.  Most of the rewriting centred on the introductory chapters (a brief Introduction proper and a sort of theory chapter), a couple of duff chapters — it’s difficult writing about sensibility as a movement, I find — and the Afterword.  Two or three chapters remained substantially the same but I worked hard to improve the prose.  We’re encouraged to think of the book as a very distinct thing from a doctoral thesis, but I don’t think that’s necessarily true.  They’re perhaps different versions of a common document, if you like, a repackaging of your central findings or new readings.  Is it a rewriting or a rebooting?  Depends on your project, I think.  Publishers prefer to see a completed book typescript from a first-time author, of course, rather than a warmed-up dissertation, or at least a clear indication of where you’ll be working it over.  Certainly it’s difficult to know where to slash or what to remove, or what to add and where to expand.  But it’s important to go through each chapter — assuming you retain the same or a similar structure — and cross out any bits that seem ‘thesisy’ not only in the diction but in scope and arrangement.  You need to retain some semblance of the literary review but you can afford to — indeed, you should — jettison much of the bibliographical work needed in a thesis.  It’s hard to press the delete key — I used to print out every draft, but this became impractical when moving across the country (and even the Atlantic) in pursuit of a job.  Now I have the habit of versioning dozens of very similar documents in my Dropbox.  My final typescript included such files as “ch3 version 36” (77 is as high as I got, I think).  Publishers favour short, purposeful proposals (ideally with very short chapter abstracts).  If you can’t sell the book in 200 words or fewer, then neither can they.  A dissertation supervisor will keep asking you, ‘so what?’  A publisher will ask, ‘for whom?’

4) Chatterton is a figure who’s often more read about than read. Which works would you recommend to scholars wanting to dip into his oeuvre, and are there any of his poems that you think could be taught profitably as part of undergraduate or Masters-level courses?

I’ve always tried to smuggle Chatterton’s works into various courses.  Until I got my position at Dundee I’d taught widely on other people’s modules, mainly period surveys.  Even if there wasn’t a set curriculum of eighteenth-century or Romantic-period texts, there wasn’t any room for him, really: he falls between most versions of the period surveys, such as between the early modern (up to 1750, say) and Romanticism, which still seems to begin (perhaps out of convenience) with Blake or Wordsworth.  It’s also difficult to justify library expenditure on even the handful of Chatterton sources available.  Now that I’ve settled at Dundee we’re building up a bank of texts, so I feel more comfortable asking students both to read and write about Chatterton.  I’ve been evolving a third-year undergraduate module (one that I inherited from a former colleague) on Romantic and Gothic Literature.  Chatterton happens to fit in really well here both chronologically and thematically.  The module begins with Horace Walpole (an infamous figure in Chatterton’s reception, it turns out) and then considers Equiano and Coleridge as writers on race, among other things.  I’ve added Chatterton’s African Eclogues in there (‘Heccar and Gaira’, ‘Elinoure and Juga’, and ‘The Death of Nicou’) but haven’t yet added his more famous works (The Battle of Hastings, Aella, An Excelente Balade of Charitie).  His Ossianic works would profitably be taught alongside Macpherson and his followers.  Chatterton’s satires on hack writers — in the style of Pope and Churchill — would work well in many modules.  Much of Chatterton’s works can be found online or in the standard critical edition: Donald Taylor’s Collected Works for the Clarendon Press.  You can also find a decent selection of Chatterton in some of the major teaching anthologies — Lonsdale, Wu, McGann or Fairer — but not the Norton, as far as I can recall.

5) What’s next for you?

Miscellaneous bits and bobs, really, now that I’ve settled into my teaching.  After my PhD, as a postdoc, I joined the Cambridge Edition of the Works of Jonathan Swift, and since then I’ve been invited to write various chapters on him, particularly on his late poems, early critical reception and the first, posthumous biographies.  Old Swift interests me as much as young Chatterton, it seems.  Now that I live and teach in Scotland I’ve been reading lots of Burns and Scott.  (Scott, as an aside, took an interest in Chatterton).  Next semester I’ve put together a new module on Scottish Literature before 1900.  A logical next step in my research would be to look more closely at the relationship between Scottish and English literary ballads.  Chatterton, like Scott, Wordsworth and others, was a keen student of Percy’s Reliques and the ballad revival of the eighteenth century.  Like them he sought to polish and modernise old ballads.  In the past two or three years I’ve written about the vexed issue of literary property — and authorial proprietorship — in the long eighteenth century.  I’m hoping to tie it all together as a book.  I’ve also written a couple of commissioned essays on Wordsworth.  But I haven’t forgotten about Chatterton.  As we speak I’m writing up a piece on Wordsworth’s use of Chatterton’s works, particularly in the early years of his career.  Its a topic much alluded to but little discussed.  I certainly didn’t have room for it in my book.

Five Questions: Introduction

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The best moments at conferences are often opportunities to talk about projects and their implications in more convivial settings (traditionally, the pub).  In an attempt to bring something of this kind of discussion to the BARS blog, I’m going to be initiating a series of five-question email interviews with Romanticists and groups of Romanticists who’ve either just completed large projects or who are in the process of developing them.  Hopefully, these interviews will allow scholars to discuss their work in a less formal manner than in books, articles or publishers’ blurbs and will help to publicise some exciting new work in the field.

If you’d be interested in taking part in this series, or would like to suggest people from whom you’d like to hear, please email me on

Fashionable Diseases Conference

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Below, the CfP for the Fashionable Disease project’s international conference, which takes place in July next year.  More information can be found through the project’s website, Facebook page and Twitter account (@FashDisease).

Fashionable Diseases: Medicine, Literature and Culture, ca. 1660-1832
The Cholic
An International Interdisciplinary Conference
Newcastle and Northumbria Universities
3rd – 5th July 2014
Between 1660 and 1832 books such as Cheyne’s English Malady and Adair’s Essays on Fashionable Diseases created a substantial debate on the relationship between fashion and sickness, linking melancholy, the vapours, nervousness, gout, consumption and many other conditions with the elite and superior sensibility. This conference aims to include voices from both within the social and medical elite and beyond, and to look at diseases that have not previously been examined in this context and at what can be learned from ‘unfashionable’ illnesses. It also aims to consider not only diseases associated with social prestige, but also with the medical critique of fashionable luxurious lifestyles, and the debate on ‘imaginary’ diseases. The role of culture in creating, framing and spreading conceptions of fashionable disease will also be considered.
Proposals for papers and three-person panels are welcome on topics related to fashionable diseases, including:
·                Patient experience
·                Consumer society and the ‘medical marketplace’
·                Culture (literature, music, etc) and fashionable disease
·                Geographical meanings – travel literature and spa culture
·                Morality, politics and medicine in critiques of fashionable lifestyles
·                Satire, stigma, fashion
·                ‘Imaginary’ diseases
·                Class, gender, race, religion, etc
·                Unfashionable diseases
We are also keen to receive proposals offering interdisciplinary and internationally comparative perspectives, or relating eighteenth-century to contemporary fashionable diseases.
Please submit abstracts (max. 250 words) and a brief biography (max 100 words) to by 31st December 2013.

Fellowships for Exchanges and Temporalities in the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Victorianism

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News of some exciting opportunities in Houston for the next academic year (from Alexander Regier):

The Humanities Research Center at Rice University is accepting applications for yearlong residential fellowships to participate in the 2014-15 Rice Seminar, “Exchanges and Temporalities in the Enlightenment, Romanticism, and Victorianism.”  We are looking to appoint three external faculty members (any rank) and one postdoctoral fellow.  Fellows will participate in the Rice Seminar, a yearlong research seminar designed to study a broad topic from an interdisciplinary perspective.  The seminar will be directed by Helena Michie (English) and Alexander Regier (English).

Full details, including how to apply, can be found here.  The deadline for applications is December 1st.

Fashionable Diseases Workshops

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Below, details of two interesting workshops taking place this month at Northumbria as part of the Fashionable Diseases project.  More information on the project can be found on the project website and blog.

Disability and Fashionable Diseases in Literature and Culture

A Workshop for the Leverhulme Project ‘Fashionable Diseases: Medicine, Literature and Culture, 1660-1832’
14 November 2013, 11am-1:30pm
Boardroom 1, Sutherland Building Northumbria University
Michael Davidson
Professor of Literature, University of California, San Diego
Author of Concerto for the Left Hand; Disability and the Defamiliar Body
Stuart Murray
Professor of Literature, University of Leeds
Author of Representing Autism: Culture, Narrative, Fascination
How do the complicated and contested concepts and fields of disability and fashionable disease relate to each other, if at all?  How are they represented within the spheres of literature and cultural representation generally?  This workshop aims to begin an exploration of the subject with the help of two experts in the field of contemporary literature and disability studies.  The event is free to attend and a light lunch will be provided.  To reserve a place, please email
Fashion and Illness in Georgian Bath
A Workshop for the Leverhulme Project ‘Fashionable Diseases: Medicine, Literature and Culture, 1660-1832’
21 November 2013, 1-3pm
Boardroom 2, Sutherland Building
Northumbria University
Annick Cossic
Professor of English
Université de Bretagne Occidentale, France
Published at different times, Christopher Anstey’s The New Bath Guide (1766), Tobias Smollett’s The Expedition of Humphry Clinker (1771) and Jane Austen’s Persuasion(1818) all testify to the emergence of new forms of social interaction, particularly on display in spas. The role of illness as an agent of sociability in Bath has been variously apprehended by Anstey, Smollett and Austen, who all three share a first-hand knowledge of a city, ironically nicknamed “the hospital of the nation” or, more positively, “the Queen of Watering-Places.”  By offering a comparative study of these texts, this workshop will interrogate the representation of fashionable diseases in three literary genres, themselves highly fashionable, the satirical letter, the epistolary novel and the novel of sensibility.  The event is free to attend.  To reserve a place, please email

Romantic Locations Deadline

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A reminder that the deadline for BARS’ 2014 Early Career and Postgraduate Conference, Romantic Locations, is coming up in a couple of weeks (on November 15th).  This should be a really interesting and convivial event – the organisers are working hard to make sure that the programme is engaging and the conference is affordable.  The Call for Papers and further details can be found here.  Hope to see many of you there.

On History, by Jules Michelet

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Open Book have just published a collection of writings by the French Romantic historian Jules Michelet, edited by Lionel Gossman and featuring new and revised translations by Gossman, Flora Kimmich and Edward K. Kaplan. The volume includes three of Michelet’s programmatic essays: his ‘Introduction to World History’ (1831), his ‘Opening Address at the Faculty of Letters’ (1834) and the preface to the 1869 edition of his History of France. Taken together, the three texts can be read as a kind of manifesto for Romantic historiography, laying out a grand vision of history, what it means, why it matters, and why it is important for citizens to have a lively sense of it. More information on the book can be found on its page on the Open Book site, where the full text can be accessed for free.

CfP Round-Up

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Since there are a whole load of deadlines coming up in the next few weeks, I thought it’d be useful to put together a list of conferences currently seeking papers, with links to the full CfPs  These are given in deadline order (not long for BSECS now…):

BSECS 2014: Pleasures and Entertainments, St Hugh’s College Oxford, 8-10 January 2014 – Deadline 20th October.

NASSR 2014: Romantic Organizations, Washington D.C., 10-13 July 2013 – Deadline for special sessions 1 November, for abstracts 17 January 2014.

Romantic Locations (BARS Early Career and Postgraduate Conference), Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere, 19-21 March 2014 – Deadline 15th November.

Ann Radcliffe at 250: Gothic and Romantic Imaginations, University of Sheffield, 27-29 June 2014 – Deadline 30th November.

Coleridge Summer Conference, Cannington, 28 July-1 August 2014 – Deadline 30th November.

Romantic Connections, University of Tokyo, 13-15 June 2014 – Deadline 30th November.

John Keats and his Circle, Keats House, Hampstead, London, 2-4 May 2014 – Deadline 1st December.

Romanticism and Self-Destruction, University of Bristol, 9 May 2014 – Deadline 1st December.

BSLS Conference 2014,  University of Surrey, Guildford, 10-12 April 2014 – Deadline 6th December.

John Thelwall Society Conference: John Thelwall at 250: Medicine, Literature, and Reform in London, ca. 1764-1834, University of Notre Dame London Centre, 25-27 July 2014 – Deadline 1 February 2014.

Looks like next year’s going to be a pretty busy one.

I’m sure I’ve missed some things, so if you’re holding an event you’d like added to this list, please leave a comment or drop me an email on

British Society for Literature and Science Conference 2014

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The British Society for Literature and Science’s 2014 Conference will take place at the University of Surrey, Guildford between the 10th and the 12th of April.  Keynote speakers will include Professor Mary Orr (University of Southampton) and Professor Bernard Lightman (York University, Toronto).  The Call for Papers and further details can be found here.  Proposals of no more than 250 words, together with the name and institutional affiliation of the speaker, should be sent in the body of messages (not in attachments) to Gregory Tate (  The closing date for submissions is Friday 6 December 2013.