BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

Aggregated blogs on Romantic Studies – please click through to read full posts.

The Byron effect

By Lynn Shepherd

by Miranda Seymour

Any study of the lives of Lord Byron’s wife and daughter points towards one inescapable conclusion: the enduring power of Byron’s personality.

Annabella Milbanke married Byron in January 1815. Ada, born towards the end of their first turbulent year as a married couple, was only a few weeks old when Lady Byron removed both herself and her baby daughter from the marital home on Piccadilly Terrace in January 1816. She never went back.

George Hayter painted Annabella Milbanke in 1812, just before she met Byron

Few couples can have proved themselves to be more hopelessly ill-suited than Miss Milbanke and Lord Byron; she so virtuous, he so wild; she so rational, he so mercurial; she so earnestly faithful, he so brutally promiscuous. But why, precisely, did she choose to leave him? Rumours of sodomy, incest and even a historic murder ( it was whispered that Byron, when young, had killed one of his servants) swirled around the gaming clubs and assembly rooms of the day. Lord Byron had been both cruel and inconstant as a husband: this was established beyond any doubt.

Annabella’s need to establish the reasons for a separation at a time when it was almost unheard of …read more


London-Paris Romanticism Seminar, The Romantic Lecture and Its Institutions, Friday 18 May 2018, Senate House, London



The final meeting of this year’s London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will take place on Friday 18 May and feature an international panel on The Romantic Lecture and Its Institutions. As our guest speakers, we are delighted to welcome Sarah Zimmerman (Fordham University, New York), whose paper is entitled The Romantic Literary Lecture: A Short History, and Judith Thompson (Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia), who will speak on John Thelwall and the Uses of Oratory. Abstracts appear below.

The seminar will be held in the Room 349 (3rd floor) at Senate House, University of London, starting at 5.30. The papers will be followed by a discussion and wine reception. Everyone is invited, including postgraduates and members of the public. Admission is free.

SZ mugshotSarah Zimmerman is Professor of English at Fordham University. She is the author of Romanticism, Lyricism, and History (SUNY, 1999) and, forthcoming with OUP, The Romantic Literary Lecture in Britain. In these studies and in essays on Percy Bysshe Shelley and others, she has focused on the material cultures of lyric poetry and public lectures, with a particular interest in what their historical …read more


Book and Illustration at the Turn of the Century in Britain + America

By marylshannon

A public symposium presented by the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies

Saturday, May 19, 2018 · 1:30 pm
Delaware Art Museum
2301 Kentmere Parkway, Wilmington, DE

Free for Museum Members or with Museum admission

In conjunction with the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies’ (FABS) Tour of Delaware and the Delaware Bibliophiles, the Delaware Art Museum will hold “Books and Illustration at the Turn of the Century in Britain and America,” a symposium with three speakers. These talks will focus on illustration and book design—a strength of the collections of the Delaware Art Museum and the University of Delaware Library. A tea reception will follow.

Please visit for details and registration.


– “Ouida Illustrated: Commerce, Politics, and Representation in the Illustrated
Editions of Ouida’s Works”
Jesse R. Erickson, Postdoctoral Researcher in Special Collections and Digital
Humanities, University of Delaware

– “Rediscovering an American Woman Illustrator, Alice Barber Stephens”
Martha H. Kennedy, Curator, Popular & Applied Graphic Art, Library of Congress

– “Christina Rossetti’s …read more


Archive Spotlight: correspondence between James Northcote and Peter Pindar in Durham’s Special Collections

By Anna Mercer

A new Archive Spotlight post on the blog today by Val Derbyshire (University of Sheffield). Val has kindly contributed details of her research to this series before, in another Spotlight post entitled ‘Archive Spotlight on the Derbyshire Record Office: A Marriage of the Romantic and the Scientific’. Val has also been awarded a 2018 BARS Stephen Copley Award, and we look forward to hearing more about her work at the Royal Art Academy and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London later this year.

If you’d like to contribute to this series, please find more information about how to get in touch with your ideas here.

Enjoy Val’s exploration into a heated exchange of letters that may have inspired Northcote’s Diligence and Dissipation.

‘[A] simple act of fornication’[1]: Diligence and Dissipation, James Northcote and Peter Pindar by Val Derbyshire, School of English, University of Sheffield

Just recently, I was fortunate enough to have been awarded a Stephen Copley Research Award from BARS in order to research the letters and other personal writings of portraitist James Northcote (1746-1831). My interest in Northcote was sparked by the discovery of his personal friendship with the subject of my …read more


Call for Papers – CRECS Summer Conference 2018

By jamiecastell Call for Papers Where: Cardiff University When: Monday, 18 June 2018, 10:30-7pm The Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Studies Seminar (CRECS) is pleased to announce our first CRECS Summer Conference with our colleagues from Bath Spa, Bristol, Exeter, and Reading universities. The event will be the first large gathering of staff, postgraduates, and undergraduates in the … Continue reading Call for Papers – CRECS Summer Conference 2018 …read more


Spring shoots and green peas: the Wordsworths and their kitchen garden

By Lynn Shepherd

DC garden

by Gareth Evans

Following six months of settled living with his sister Dorothy, one May morning William Wordsworth left Dove Cottage with his brother John to walk through Yorkshire. Separated from her brothers in early childhood only to be permanently reunited as adults, an understandably emotional Dorothy found ways of coping with what was clearly an acute sense of loss on their departure. That day, 14 May 1800, she resolved to start writing what was to become The Grasmere Journal. The following morning she went out into the garden and hoed that season’s first row of peas, an activity that was both a distraction and a necessity.

Away from the steeply-rising pleasure garden at Dove Cottage, Dorothy chiefly organised and tended the productive kitchen garden as part of her housekeeping tasks. This she undertook with the help of the out-living day servants Molly, Aggy and John, who with William, helped perform heavy tasks: ‘Sauntered a good deal in the garden, bound carpets, mended old clothes. Read Timon of Athens. Dried linen – Molly weeded the turnips, John stuck the peas’ (19 May 1800). Garden peas were a nutritious staple of the cottage economy they appear …read more