BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

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

Archive for May 2017

CfP: Blocks Plates Stones

By dustinfrazierwood

BLOCKS PLATES STONES: Matrices/Printing Surfaces in Research and Collections
21 September 2017, Senate House, London (reception at British Academy)
Deadline: 30 June 2017, via
Convenor: Dr Elizabeth Savage (Institute of English Studies)


Dr Richard S Field (Yale), Prof James Mosley (Institute of English Studies), Dr 
Ad Stijnman (Leiden), Prof Michael Twyman (Reading)

The material turn in fields that rely on historical printed matter has led to interest in how those texts and images were—and are—produced. Those objects, including cut woodblocks, etched and engraved metal plates, and lithographic stones, could be fundamental to research. Tens of thousands survive from the last 500 years, but the vast majority are inaccessible because they do not fit into the cataloguing structures and controlled vocabularies used by the libraries, archives and museums that hold them. Those that are accessible tend to be under-used, as few researchers are equipped to understand them or communicate about them across disciplinary boundaries. Even the most basic term is debated: in book research, a matrix is the mould for casting pieces of type; in art research, each resulting type is a matrix (and the sheets printed from them are the multiples). As new possibilities to catalogue and digitise these artefacts …read more


Vile Atmospheres and Stagnant Wonders: Clare in the Fens

By Tess Somervell

In our latest Romantic Climates blog post, Dr Erin Lafford (Oxford) writes on John Clare, fenlands, and ‘Romantic air’.

In his essay ‘The Correspondent Breeze’ (1984), M. H. Abrams laid a foundation for thinking about the role of ‘air-in-motion’ in Romantic period poetry.[1] Alongside tracing the significance of air (and its movements in winds, breaths, and breezes) as a key metaphor for emotional and political renovation, Abrams also acknowledged that ‘the moving air lent itself pre-eminently to the aim of tying man back into the environment’. He did not, however, specify what type of environment this is or should be. If the legacy of Abrams’ essay is that there has long been identified a prominent aerial imagination in Romantic poetry and poetics, then there is room now to think about how this aerial imagination might speak to, and be readdressed by, the concerns and approaches of the environmental humanities. Specifically, in this blog post I hope to offer some thoughts about how the trope of aerial inspiration so central to Abrams’ reading of Romanticism can be brought into relationship with ideas about the impact of the environment and its climatic effects on individuals that were circulating in the eighteenth …read more


John Tallis’s London Street Views

By Matthew Sangster

A piece of mine called ‘Transformation and Specialization in London and its Topography’ has just been published by the Journal of Victorian Culture; this is part of a roundtable examining John Tallis’s London Street Views (1838-40). At the moment, not all of the contributions have appeared, but in a few days (and in the physical copy of the journal when it comes out later in the year), this will form part of a wider discussion of the Street Views superintended by Alison O’Byrne and Jon Stobart, arising out of a fun day of conversations at the Royal Institute of British Architects last year.

Romantic London’s map showing the locations of Tallis’s Street Views isn’t part of the main site interface as I don’t have copies of the images available at present, but can be viewed here if you’re interested.

If you’d like to read more about the Street Views, the Museum of London has created a really interesting interface mapping the western streets that Tallis depicted. There’s also a great blog by the mysterious Baldwin Hamey that explores the Street Views in detail.

…read more


The healing power of images in Wordsworth

By Paul Kleian

Rodger Kamenetz

by Rodger Kamenetz

At the beginning of the nineteenth century, William Wordsworth, who was keenly interested in psychology, began looking into the power of images to heal psychological damage. His quest was quite personal, in fact it was a matter of life and death to him. Like many young English people in his generation he was suffering from profound despair in the aftermath of the French Revolution. He had lost his idealism and hope, and much more; his lover and their daughter. He’d been forced to return to leave them behind and return to an England that was quite depressing, for it was having a conservative reaction to the events that had inspired so many young people.

He was in despair but he found a great source of healing in natural images. A great poet, he was also highly attuned to the beauty of natural settings: mountains, woods, lakes, in his rural Cumberland had stirred him from his childhood on. In learning to write a whole new kind of poetry – that stood in stark contrast to the more rationalistic conservative verse he was raised on, he began writing experimentally with close companions, his sister Dorothy and the …read more