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.

Romanticism and Self-Destruction

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The University of Bristol’s Centre for Romantic and Victorian Studies will be holding a one-day conference on Romanticism and Self-Destruction on May 9th next year, with plenary talks by Andrew Bennett and Caroline Franklin.  The Call for Papers can be found on the conference website; 250-word proposals should be emailed to the conference organisers, Stephanie Codsi and Jimmy Packham, at by December 1st.