BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

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

Archive for November 2016

Image of the Month: Theodore von Holst, ‘Frankenstein’ (1831)

By dustinfrazierwood

In November 1831, a new edition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein was published by Richard Bentley and Henry Colburn in their recently launched ‘Standard Novels’ series. The publishers were responding to a major shift in the fiction market as expensive three-decker fiction gave way to cheaper, octavo-sized single-volume novels which could be purchased rather than borrowed.[i] Significantly, this new format included illustrations as a ‘standard’ of quality and value for money. Following on from Robert Cadell’s successful, illustrated reprinting of the Waverley novels in 1829, Bentley and Colburn provided the reading (and viewing) public with two images per volume: a vignette on the title page and a frontispiece. For Frankenstein, they hired a young protégé of Henry Fuseli named Theodor Von Holst (1810-1844). The son of émigré Russian parents who fled Napoleonic conflict, Holst’s talent for drawing was spotted by both Fuseli and Sir Thomas Lawrence, and he entered the Royal Academy in 1824. Holst’s renown as a master of Fuselian themes and forms made him an obvious choice for being the first illustrator of Shelley’s novel, though his famous image outlived his own reputation, and it was not until the 1990s that he merited a major retrospective.<a target="_blank" …read more


Editorial Transitions II

By Anna Mercer

Editorial Transitions

To all members of BARS, and readers of the blog –

I am honoured to take up the position of Blog Editor. I am now your first point of contact for the following areas of the blog (Matthew Sangster will continue to edit the ‘Five Questions’ series):

  • Calls for papers
  • Conference reports
  • The ‘On This Day’ series
  • Stephen Copley Award research reports
  • All other general notices

If you have any ideas about a new series of posts related to the study of Romanticism that we could potentially set up in 2017, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me. One-off posts are also welcome.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter for all the latest blog updates; you can also the join the British Association for Romantic Studies Facebook group.

I’d like to extend a special thank you to Matt for training me up for this role, and allowing me to curate the ‘On This Day’ series, which has now been running for over a year, and which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed doing (we are still seeking posts for 2017!). Thank you also to the contributors we’ve had on all the different strands of the blog. …read more


Editorial Transitions

By Matthew Sangster

Over the past few years, BARS has begun to conduct a lot more of its activities online – as well as the website, we now have this active blog, the BARS Exchange, The BARS Review and our social media accounts on Twitter (which I co-run with Dan Cook) and Facebook.

Keeping all of these things updated at this point is a rather bigger job than it was when I originally took up the position of Website Editor, so the Executive has decided to appoint a second person to edit the blog so that I can work on improving our (somewhat ancient) main website and continue enhancing the Review. From this point forward, therefore, Anna Mercer – who you’ll already know from the long-running series of On This Day posts that she’s curated – will be taking over the editorship here. She’ll now be the first point of contact for submitting material for posting and for conference reports, as well as for On This Day. She’s been a joy to work with over the past year, so I’m very glad to be placing the blog in an extremely capable pair of hands.

I’ll still pop …read more


A Newbie Learns to Read Blake

By joeykingsley

Since this is my first semester working with the Blake Archive—and all of my previous interaction with Blake’s work has consisted of reading his poems in relative isolation in my house—my main concern has been trying to understand Blake’s handwriting and figure out how the XML tag set works. More specifically, I have been trying to identify the places in the text where Blake scribbles over words or crosses them out. In some instances, the word underneath may be legible, but as a newcomer to reading Blake’s original manuscripts, I have trouble asserting anything with authority. Similarly, it has been difficult deciphering the way in which Blake renders some individual letters. For example, his “s” often looks like an “f” and his periods sometimes look like commas. I realize that recognizing things quickly is an issue of experience, and I do find that copyediting the XML against the original images of the letters is very helpful. The process of working backwards—looking at the XML, then the handwriting—seems far more useful than trying to look at the letter and blindly translate Blake’s handwriting.

I am currently copyediting a letter from September 11, 1801, in which Blake writes to Mr. Butts in London. …read more


Five Questions: Emma Peacocke on Romanticism and the Museum

By Matthew Sangster


Emma Peacocke is currently a Banting Post Doctoral Fellow at Queen’s University, Ontario. Before moving to Queen’s, she completed her PhD at Carleton University. She has published articles and book chapters that examine historiography, circulation, periodical culture, collecting and visual culture and that deal with figures as diverse as Walter Scott, William Paley, William Buckland and Thomas Moore. Her first monograph, Romanticism and the Museum, which draws together many of these interests and which we discuss below, was published by Palgrave Macmillan in 2014.

1) How did you come to decide that you wanted to write a monograph on museums in the Romantic period?

It happened in a coup de foudre as I was reading The Wanderer, Frances Burney’s final novel, published in 1814. The heroine, Juliet, is fleeing in disguise from her forced marriage to a murderous Jacobin ruffian, so you can imagine how anxious she is throughout the novel. Near the climactic showdown, her eccentric elderly protector Sir Jaspar Harrington decides on a whim to pass Juliet off as his grandchildren’s new nursemaid and have her shown all around the glorious art collection at Wilton. Juliet feels so harried and miserable that …read more


London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Pamela Clemit and Jeremy Elprin, Senate House, 9 December 2016



The next meeting of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will take place on Friday 9 December and feature an international panel on The Poetics of the Letter. This is the first of our seminars with paired speakers from the UK and France, and we are delighted to welcome two outstanding scholars: Pamela Clemit of Queen Mary University of London, speaking on the topic Difficult to Make and Difficult to Fake: Signalling in Romantic-Period Letters, and Jeremy Elprin of the University of Caen, whose paper is entitled ‘Qui me néglige me désole’: The Neglected Countenance of Keats’s Letters. The abstracts appear below.

The seminar will be held in the Woburn Room at Senate House (ground floor, G22), starting at 5.30 (please note this is a change from the previously advertised room). The talk will be followed by a discussion and an extended wine reception, to which everyone is invited. Admission is free.

img_0623Pamela Clemit is Professor of English at Queen Mary University of London and a Supernumerary Fellow at Wolfson College, University of Oxford. She is the author of The Godwinian Novel (OUP, …read more