Simon Kövesi is Professor and Head of the Department of English and Modern Languages at Oxford Brookes University. He tweets as @kovesi1. He has published widely on contemporary fiction (with a particular focus on the Scottish novelist James Kelman), on working-class literature and on the relationship between writing and the natural world. At the heart of his work, though, is his abiding interest in and love for John Clare, on whom he has published numerous essays and book chapters. He is the editor of the John Clare Society Journal and the co-editor (with Scott McEathron) of New Essays on John Clare: Poetry, Culture and Community (Cambridge University Press, 2015). He has recently led a high-profile campaign to highlight the threat posed to Clare’s archives by ongoing local authority cuts. His passion for Clare’s work has also led to his being one of the very few academics to have sparred with a straw bear on the silver screen. Below, we discuss his most recent monograph, John Clare: Nature, Criticism and History, which was published by Palgrave in September 2017.
1) What first drew you to John Clare?
By Anna Mercer
The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) is looking for contributors to write for our blog: an online collection of news/notices and longer posts, all of which celebrate and promote research in Romanticism. Would you like to contribute to a) The ‘Archive Spotlight’ series or b) The ‘On This Day’ series?
Please get in touch by sending a short pitch of what your post will include, and a short bio. Final posts should be around 1000 words.
Posts should be a blog about your experience of using an archive. You could use the space to discuss one or two things of interest you found at the archive, perhaps things that are intriguing, but that you cannot fit into your thesis, book, or other written work.
The post could also be an account of the archive itself as well as some things you’ve studied there that relate to the Romantic Period (1770-1830). You could focus more on the latter if you prefer. Previous examples can be found here.
‘On This Day’:
This is a Romantic bicentenary series that has been running since July 2015. We have been inspired to create this series following the popularity on Twitter of the ‘OnThisDay’ hashtag. We want …read more
By Anna Mercer
See the full list of 2018 winners here.
Eleanor Bryan – Stephen Copley Award Report
The Stephen Copley Award funded my visit to the British Library Doctoral Open day on Monday 19th March. The purpose of the open day was to acquaint new PhD students with the variety of resources that the British Library offers, and to explain the best ways of using its services and navigating its collections, both physically and online. This particular open day took an interdisciplinary approach to the British Library’s nineteenth-century collections and, as such, provided a holistic overview of a plethora of potential resources. Presentations were given by a host of librarians, all with different areas of expertise, who provided information on the nineteenth-century printed collections, modern archives, and manuscript collections.
My research focuses on dramatic adaptations of Gothic novels, namely Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I was therefore particularly interested in the British Ephemera collections, which include playbills, prints, and drawings. The other doctoral students and I were able to peruse some of the historical manuscripts. We were shown a variety of …read more
By The Keats Letters Project Today’s letter to Bailey includes a wealth of intriguing things–which our contributor Renee Harris picks up on and runs with by following Keats’s grouping of threes in the letter–and this should come as no surprise for regular readers. Keats seems to have a particular affinity for sharing lots of thoughts with Bailey. Three of the… Letter #58: To Benjamin Bailey, 13 March 1818 …read more
William Hogarth, Characters and Caricaturas (1743)
Deidre Lynch’s The Economy of Character (1998) emphasises the cultural capital of figures who are larger than life. ‘Character to Caricature’ aims to build upon Lynch’s transmedia conception to explore the wider narratological and satirical implications of character in the eighteenth century. This conference brings together those working on different conceptualisations of character in the period to ask questions such as: Why were character types so popular in the period? How did the ‘types’ transfer across genres and mediums of print? What can the differing ‘types’ and their interactions with one another tell us about attitudes in the period? We invite papers which look at any aspect of this topic, including: the creation of ‘stock-figures’ such as fops, nabobs, mollies, the Scot and the English John Bull; the use of characters types in dictating and shaping acceptable modes of conduct; the relationship between linguistic configurations of character and visual depictions of caricature; and the significance of character types in relation to the social and political climate of the period.
We invite abstracts of no more than 250 words, for 20 minute papers. We welcome proposals for panels as well as ideas for alternative format sessions.
Please …read more
This post originally appeared on Romantic Circles
Mary Shelley – Mathilda, edited by Michelle Faubert. Reviewed by Anna Mercer
Mary Shelley, Mathilda, ed. Michelle Faubert (Broadview Press, 2017). 208 pp. (Pbk. £14.95, ISBN 9781554812271)
“I offer the present edition as an effort to release Shelley’s Mathilda from its readerly purgatory, for it deserves a wider audience than it presently enjoys” (33): so Michelle Faubert closes her introduction to the Broadview edition of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novella Mathilda. The editor writes with a clear sense of hope that the text may find new readers thanks to this publication. I share her optimism.
The Broadview editions should be praised in general: they provide introductions that often represent a particular critical moment and which therefore reflect the scholarly ‘mood’ at the time when that edition first appeared. Along with this important framing material they include carefully selected appendices, usually excerpts of related texts. They are indispensable to scholars of Romanticism; we need Broadview editions of all of MWS’s novels, and as I will explain in this review, Faubert’s superb work confirms this. We now wait eagerly for Falkner and The Fortunes of Perkin Warbeck.
MWS’s Mathilda, her second extended prose work after Frankenstein, was written …read more