Report from the North West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar on the theme of ‘Melmoth’s Afterlives’.

By Anna Mercer

The North West Long Nineteenth Century Seminar takes place at Manchester Metropolitan University (Manchester Met). This year it has hosted a special seminar on the theme of ‘Melmoth’s Afterlives’ as part of a series of online events to celebrate the bicentenary of C. R. Maturin’s novel Melmoth the Wanderer (1820), supported by generous funding from the Keats-Shelley Association of America and the Byron Society of America’s ‘Romantic Bicentennials’ initiative. The seminar involved contributions from postgraduates, early career researchers and established academics, and was organised by Sonja Lawrenson, Matt Foley and Emma Liggins.

Report by Rebecca Alaise, PhD candidate at Manchester Met’s Manchester Centre for Gothic Studies.

The ‘Melmoth’s Afterlives’ series seeks to explore the lasting influence that Melmoth has had on the Gothic mode and the ways in which the novel’s titular figure, and the Wandering Jew figure in general, have been re-animated by a variety of writers from the nineteenth century until today. The potency of Melmoth is evidenced in homages such as Honoré de Balzac’s Melmoth Reconciled (1835), Oscar Wilde’s moniker ‘Sebastian Melmoth’ and Sarah Perry’s 2018 novel, Melmoth, to name but a few.

The UK’s second coronavirus lockdown made an online presentation of this year’s seminar …read more


CFP: Scott at 250 – History, Landscape, Environment

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By Emily Paterson-Morgan

The Twelfth International Walter Scott Conference

The University of Edinburgh,4-8th July 2021

Plenary Speakers: Prof. Deidre Lynch, Harvard University and Prof. Alison Lumsden, University of Aberdeen

In the 250th year since the birth of Walter Scott the University of Edinburgh, his alma mater, will host a conference on his work and global legacy. Proposals for papers or panels on any aspect of his writing, collecting, or curation of his estate at Abbotsford are invited. Particularly welcome will be those which address Scott’s understanding of the historical landscape, the interrelation of human societies and their environment, and landscape as both aesthetic and economic resource.

Given the continuing uncertainty over international travel due to the pandemic, and (in harmony with the environmental element of its theme) our concern to limit the carbon footprint of our conference, it will be held in a hybrid format, with contributors participating either in Edinburgh or online. All contributors, whether present in Edinburgh or not, will record their papers as audio or video files, and these will be available for participants to view before or during the conference. Discussion of these papers will take place in the afternoon and early evening among those physically present and those joining us by video …read more


Keats House: The Feast of the Poets online event, 29 Jan

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Join Keats House on the last Friday of the month for a wide-ranging and light-hearted discussion on matters poetic, literary and cultural.

‘The Feast of the Poets’ was a poem written by Leigh Hunt, first published in 1811. The poem took a satirical swipe at poets good and bad and was later republished along with an introduction and notes, speculating on the future reputations of what became the British Romantic Poets.
Join us on the last Friday of the month for a wide-ranging and light-hearted discussion ‘from a principle of taste’ to help us decide who should feast with Apollo and Artemis and who should be turned to stone.


Joining Rob Shakespeare (Principal Curator, Keats House) this month will be:

Ian Haywood (Professor of English at the University of Roehampton and working with Keats House to support a TECHNE funded research student placement); and

Anna Mercer (Lecturer in English Literature at Cardiff University who has also been working with Keats House to support the Keats200 project); and

Laila Sumpton (poet and current Keats House Poet in Residence, working on ‘Poetry versus Colonialism’, looking at the colonial histories of the Keats House collections).

Details and booking here.

…read more


‘The Thirty-Third Year of an Ill-spent Life’ – Byron’s Birthday

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

I love birthdays, especially my own. Although last year’s celebrations were non-existent due to Covid, generally I indulge in a week-long round of drinks and dinners and general frolics, using the birthday as an excuse to try and see everyone I care about. The older I get, the more excited I am to see the next birthday come around (I’ve already started planning my 40th, and that’s not for another 5 years!)

However, inexplicably, many people do not enjoy birthdays. Lord Byron is a classic example of this, and never more so than on the occasion of his 33rd birthday, 200 years ago today.

Shortly before midnight on the 21st of January 1821, Byron notes in his journal that ‘in twelve minutes, I shall have completed thirty and three years of age!!!’ Writing of his ‘heaviness of heart’, Byron does not seem to have been overly happy at the prospect, and decides to go to bed and sulk. A few minutes later, however, and he is back at his journal having heard the clock strike midnight. These chimes announce that he is ‘now thirty-three!’, a melancholy signal inspiring Byron to scrawl a quote from Horace, ‘Eheu, fugaces, Posthume, Posthume, / Labuntur anni …read more


CFP: Table Talks 2 – New Approaches to Romantic Studies and Society

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Wednesday 16th June 2021

Table Talks’, interactive workshops linked to the AHRC-funded project ‘The Romantic Ridiculous’, will continue in 2021 with a mixture of lightning talks, Q&A, and conversation – this time with a focus on Romantic Studies and the idea of ‘society’, broadly considered.

Join Dr Andrew McInnes and Dr Felicity James for an exploration of Romantic-period conversation, collaboration, and creativity.

We seek close readings of any aspect of ‘society’ related to Romanticism. This might include, but is not limited to:
• Representations of the city, urban space, the home, and/or domesticity
• Representations of work, labour, and/or economy
• Representations of conversation, collaboration, and/or friendship
• Explorations of genres representing society, for example, Gothic fiction, silver fork
novels, journalistic and/or satirical material
• Explorations of the anti-social

We invite postgraduate and early career researchers to pitch a literary text to close read alongside our selections. This close reading does not have to be linked to ‘The Romantic Ridiculous’ project but should lead to a discussion of a new perspective on Romantic Studies and society.

We have 5 x £100 bursaries for successful pitches. A virtual reading pack will be sent out before the event and successful applicants will be expected to lead an informal discussion of their chosen text.

Please …read more


BARS Digital Event: ‘The Late Mary Shelley’

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By Anna Mercer

News of an extra Digital Event for February 2021 – book your tickets here!

‘The Late Mary Shelley’

18 February 2021

5-6.30pm GMT

Chair: Amanda Blake Davis

Speakers: Antonella Braida (Université de Lorraine), Kathleen Hurlock (University of Georgia), Michael Rossington (Newcastle University), Angela Wright (University of Sheffield), Carly Yingst (Harvard University)

The British Association for Romantic Studies is delighted to welcome you to the fifth session of our Digital Events series: ‘The Late Mary Shelley’. Please join us on Thursday 18 February at 5pm GMT on Zoom for a roundtable discussion between Dr Antonella Braida, Kathleen Hurlock, Professor Michael Rossington, Professor Angela Wright, and Carly Yingst, chaired by Dr Amanda Blake Davis. During the session, our guests will belatedly mark the anniversary of Mary Shelley’s death on February 1st by discussing her later life, works, and legacy, celebrating Shelley’s many achievements beyond and after Frankenstein. After this, the audience will be invited to take part in a moderated Q&A session.

Antonella Braida is Lecturer in English in the Department of Computer Studies at the Université de Lorraine and member of the research centre IDEA (Interdisciplinarity in English Studies). Her publications include a monograph, Dante and the Romantics (Palgrave …read more


BARS First Book Prize 2019-21: Call for Nominations

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By Anna Mercer

The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) is delighted to announce the current round of The British Association for Romantic Studies First Book Prize, 2019-21.

Awarded biennially for the best first monograph in Romantic Studies, this prize is open to first books published between 1 January 2019 and 1 January 2021. In keeping with the remit of BARS, it is designed to encourage and recognise original, ground breaking and interdisciplinary work in the literature and culture of the period c.1780-1830. The prize will be awarded to the value of £250 and will be announced in August 2021.The three runners up will receive £100 each.

Eligibility and nomination procedures

The competition is open to books by authors who have not published a monograph before. Authors must have been awarded their PhD after 2014. Books …read more


Special Issue of European Romantic Review: Worlds of Maria Edgeworth

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

European Romantic Review is pleased to announce the publication of a Special Issue, ‘Worlds of Maria Edgeworth’, guest edited by Susan Manly and Joanna Wharton.

‘The seven new essays published here explore the reach and ambition of Edgeworth’s ideas and writings, showing how she built on and rethought Scottish and French Enlightenment philosophies, experimented with the ideas of fiction and reality, voice and print, and used the opportunities granted to her as a member of the “republic of letters” to gain a political life and influence. They connect her not only to prominent thinkers of her time, many of whom were personally known to her or her father, but also to global networks of commerce, colonization, and empire’ (Manly and Wharton, Introduction).


Introduction: Worlds of Maria Edgeworth, Susan Manly and Joanna Wharton

The Secret of Castle Rackrent, Claire Connolly

Correspondence and Community: Maria Edgeworth’s Scottish Friends, Jane Rendall

Maria Edgeworth and Anna Letitia Barbauld: Print, Canons, and Female Literary Authority, Aileen Douglas

“A desert island is a delightful place”: Maria Edgeworth and Robinson Crusoe, Clíona Ó Gallchoir

Maria Edgeworth’s Private Theatricals: Patronage, Zara, and 1814, Gillian Russell

Maria Edgeworth and the Telegraph, Joanna Wharton

Maria Edgeworth’s Political Lives, Susan Manly

Full details are available here.

…read more


Midlands Romantic Seminar 2021: ‘Burns, Satan, and the Sin of Rhyme’

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Online seminar: Matthew Ward (University of Birmingham): ‘Burns, Satan, and the Sin of Rhyme’

Wednesday 27th January, 17.30-18.45pm (GMT)

The Midlands Romantic Seminar is moving online for a series of talks in 2021.

You are warmly invited to the first of this year’s digital Midlands Romantic Seminar events. Matthew Ward (University of Birmingham) will deliver a paper on ‘Burns, Satan, and the Sin of Rhyme’ (especially fitting as the seminar falls in the same week as Burns Night!). There will also be a short Q&A after the talk.

Seminar abstract:

Matthew Ward’s talk will consider the ways that two of the chief influences on Burns’s creative life, the satanic and the sexual, are bedfellows and reveal Romantic ribaldry. Both sources of inspiration were discovered in his youth; both appear as mysterious, uncontrollable impulses that are not only depicted with humour but also suggest that, for Burns, comedy is drawn from and aligned with transgressive powers that are instinct with the making of poetry. Burns’s comic demonic is crucial to appreciating the distinctive character of his writing, but it also allows us to better appreciate the ways in which the ridiculous is aligned with the Romantic. Burns was no ‘Heaven-taught ploughman’ as we know. Though he …read more


BARS Stephen Copley Research Awards: Deadline 1 Feb

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By Emily Paterson-Morgan

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 research expenses up to a maximum of £500. Expenses may include but are not limited to the cost of travel and accommodation related to archival or research-focused trips, as well as photocopying, scanning, and childcare. 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 …read more