We’ve now finalised the programme for the ‘Institutions of Literature, 1700-1900′ network’s last workshop, ‘Institutions as Actors’, which can be viewed here. The workshop is open to a limited number of non-speaking delegates; if you’d be interested in coming along, we’d love to hear from you on firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll be publishing some thoughts on where the network’s discussions have got to thus far in the period leading up to the workshop and will also be publishing reflections from our participants after it’s happened as we move towards the end of this initial phase of the project and think about where it would be useful to go next.
I know it’s almost three years away – or only three years away – but 7 April 2020 is the 250th anniversary of Wordsworth’s birth, and the Wordsworth Trust want to celebrate it in style. There will be conferences, parties, walks on fells, radio and television programmes readings among daffodils, on Westminster Bridge – and wherever you can think of. We’ve even got hopes of ‘Romantics’ stamps, though nothing may come of this! So this is an invitation to all Wordsworth fans, and everyone interested in the Romantics, to join in looking ahead, planning, getting together with ideas world-wide.
No one ‘owns’ a great poet, and the Wordsworth Trust (where I’m a Trustee) is far from being the only group who want to mark this anniversary. However, it seemed a good idea to post something to tell you what we’re thinking. A small team has gathered, co-ordinated by Simon Bainbridge of Lancaster University, and including the Wordsworth family, the Wordsworth Trust, the team at Rydal Mount and the National Trust, who run Wordsworth’s House in Cockermouth. In time, there will be a separate website for Wordsworth 250, which will publicise all the events. Your ideas are welcome!
Please see below for details of the Wordsworth Annual Lecture 2017, to be held in London on Halloween.
Byron and Wordsworth: Art and Nature
Tuesday 31 October, 6.00 – 7.00pm
The 2017 London Lecture with Professor Sir Drummond Bone
Wordsworth and Byron fell out in a not very dignified way over politics, and there was heavy co-lateral damage in their opinion of each other’s poetry. But there was a fundamental intellectual difference too. Despite his flirtation with Wordsworthean pantheism at P B Shelley’s behest in 1816, Byron came to believe that moral and existential value could only be human constructs, whereas Wordsworth of course saw these very constructs as the barrier to an existential value inherent in Nature, the perception of which was the necessary ground of moral behaviour. Sir Drummond Bone will use this contrast as a way into reading their poetry, and spend some time specifically on their differing attitudes to city life and the nature of art.
Sir Drummond Bone graduated from Glasgow University, and was a Snell Exhibitioner at Balliol from 1968 to 1972. He is an acknowledged expert on the poetry of Byron and is President of the Scottish Byron Society. He became Professor of English Literature and Dean of …read more
By danielcook As part of this ongoing series on Teaching Romanticism we will consider the ways in which we lecture on and discuss individual authors, whether during author-specific modules or broader period surveys. I thought it would … Continue reading → …read more
Note from Anna Mercer, BARS Blog Editor: The Shelley Conference 2017 was a two-day event sponsored by BARS. As the organiser I am very grateful to BARS for the support, and then also to Ana Stevenson for compiling the following detailed report. You can see the full programme including all the parallel sessions here, and I am hoping to work on a published collection of essays, or a special journal issue, of some of the wonderful papers I heard at the conference. The keynote speakers’ talks will be available online very soon. Without further comment from me, please enjoy Ana’s account of this gathering of Shelleyans:
The Shelley Conference 2017. 15-16 September. Institute for English Studies, London.
By Ana Stevenson
Delegates outside the mural dedicated to PBS (Poland Street)
It took almost the length of Shelley’s lifetime for another event celebrating his life and work to be organised – the last one took place on the bicentennial of his birth, in 1992. For this and other reasons, Anna Mercer was determined to organise this exceptional two-days conference. After realising that most of PBS’s contemporaries enjoy various symposiums, Mercer took it upon herself to side with Harrie Neal and organised The Shelley Conference 2017, …read more
By The Keats Letters Project Keats is now back in London, after his productive stay at Oxford with Benjamin Bailey for all of September 1817. Keats completed Book III of Endymion while there. Over the coming weeks he’d finish the poem, then start getting to the work of copying and revising as he readied the poem for publication with his… Letter #30: To Benjamin Bailey, 8 October 1817 …read more
My new book What the Victorians Made of Romanticismoffers a new way of understanding the reception history of Romantic writers and their works in Victorian Britain. Other scholars have told this story before, of course. But they have mostly focussed on the ways in which Romantic writers influenced their Victorian successors. They tell us about how Alfred Tennyson responded to Byron, or how Matthew Arnold responded to Wordsworth. I’m interested in a different kind of story. The story I tell is about the material artefacts and cultural practices that remediated Romantic writers and their works amid shifting understandings of history, memory, and media. I pay attention to the things Victorians made – including illustrated books, anthologies, statues, postcards and memorial plaques – as well as to what they did with Romantic writers – citing and reciting them, including them in sermons, placing busts of them on their mantelpieces, and a host of other practices. These artefacts and practices made sure that the Romantics were renovated for new generations of readers – and non-readers – while recruiting them to address new cultural concerns in the process.
For a while, it seemed that the Romantics would not be …read more
Today I am sharing my talk from earlier this year: an introduction to Mary Shelley. Enjoy! (Apologies for the referencing being less robust than I’d usually endeavour to carry out – if you have questions you can always get in touch with me on Twitter, or send an email).
Beyond Frankenstein: the writings of Mary Shelley
A talk for International Women’s Day, 8 March 2017, Humanities Research Centre, University of York
My aim with this talk is to give a run-through of the author Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, her life, and her writings. If I can do anything today I hope I can encourage some of you to go and read another MWS novel that isn’t about a reanimated corpse! I’d also like to focus on the fact that it is Frankenstein‘s birthday in the years 2016-2017. Exactly 200 years ago MWS was writing her masterpiece, to be published on the 1st January 1818.
Some of the things I will discuss in this talk are as follows:
What was MWS doing 200 years ago?
Portraits of MWS
Her literary family
Brief timeline of her life and works, emphasising her complex and varied life afterFrankenstein was published.
Spotlight on Valperga: her second novel to be published in 1823