BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

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

Archive for August 2017

Wordsworth’s ‘Daffodils’ and ‘The Barberry-Tree’: A curious relationship

By Lynn Shepherd

Barberry 1

by Fred Blick

The close relationship between Wordsworth’s 1804 ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ (commonly called ‘Daffodils’) and his 1802 ‘The Barberry-Tree’ has been largely overlooked. The principal reason for this is that the 113 lines of ‘The Barberry-Tree’ were not discovered until 1964 and the poem was only accepted as part of the Wordsworth corpus after Jonathan Wordsworth, an Oxford academic and descendant of William, illustrated its parallels with ‘Daffodils’ in 1966. In 1986, he asserted again that the Barberry poem ‘screams out Wordsworth’. Indeed, the description of the blossoms of ‘The Barberry-Tree’ which the speaker recollects that he saw when, he says, ‘I wander’d forth’ (l. 3) and which ‘in hill or vale’ (l. 9) ‘laugh’d and danc’d upon the gale’ (l. 11) is clearly echoed in Wordsworth’s 1804 ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud … o’er vales and hills’, all at once meeting ‘dancing Daffodils’ in ‘laughing company’. Notably, the daffodils became ‘golden’ (like the Barberry’s ‘golden blossoms’, l. 26) as well as ‘dancing’ in the 1815 version.

‘The Barberry-Tree’ contains seemingly frivolous lines, as do ‘The Idiot Boy’ and ‘The Tinker’ (written on 27 April 1802). It reads like a self-parody – a bumbling recollection, …read more


David Hume and the National Library of Scotland: Copley Report

By Anna Mercer

See below for a report from Rebecca Davies (NTNU, Trondheim, Norway). Rebecca was awarded a BARS Stephen Copley Research Award, and she explains her subsequent research activity here.

Rebecca Davies – Stephen Copley Award Report

I used the award to visit to the National Library of Scotland‘s special collections to begin what will eventually be an extensive examination of the letters of David Hume, as part of a broader consideration of his epistemology. This research will be incorporated into my current project on the treatment of ‘genius’ and precocity – or ingenia proecocia – in educational writing of the long eighteenth century. I am interested in how Hume – in his unguarded moments where he is not consciously the philosopher – represents human ‘powers and faculties’, and the nature of knowledge, relative to both childhood education and knowledge acquisition into adulthood. The work carried out in the NLS informs a chapter exploring the treatment of genius, learning and cognition in Enlightenment epistemology, to reassess and relocate Romantic conceptions of creative genius. As Paul Bruno has observed, Hume does not explicitly comment upon genius in the sense of originality and untutored talent in his published works. Consequently, my key focus for …read more


Staging Nineteenth-Century Melodrama at the Georgian Theatre Royal

By Anna Mercer


Staging Nineteenth-Century Melodrama at the Georgian Theatre Royal

The Fortress on the Danube is being performed at the Georgian Theatre Royal, Yorkshire, on Friday 25 August, 7.30pm. Director: Sarah Wynne Kordas; Musical Director: Diane Tisdall; Dramaturge: Sarah Burdett. Tickets can be purchased here.

By Sarah Burdett (University of Warwick)
For the past five months, I have been working as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Warwick on the exciting practice-based research project ‘Staging Napoleonic Theatre’. The project, led by Dr Katherine Astbury, and funded by the AHRC, has involved staging two nineteenth-century French melodramas in translation. Roseliska, a melodrama of 1811, written and performed by French prisoners of war at Portchester Castle, was revived at the site of its original production in July 2017; and La Forteresse du Danube, (translated as The Fortress), by prolific French playwright Guilbert Pixerécourt, initially staged at the Théatre de la Porte Saint-Martin in 1805, is being revived at the Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond, on 25 August 2017. One down, one to go!

As a British theatre historian who has spent the last four years hunched over manuscripts of Georgian play-texts in dark and silent libraries, the experience of bringing these scripts back to life …read more


BARS 2017 Reports: Part I

By Anna Mercer

Conference Banquet. Via @BARS_official on twitter

Thank you to everyone who came along to our international biennial conference:

BARS 2017

Romantic Improvement

The University of York

27-30 July

This was the 15th conference of the British Association for Romantic Studies.

Postgraduate bursary winners have been invited to write short reports on their experience as a delegate and/or speaker at the event. Here are the first three – more to follow at a later date.

Enjoy! You can also see the storify of the tweets, and pictures from the event, here.

Sarah Faulkner (University of Washington)

I had a wonderful time at BARS–and that wasn’t just because of the discounted ice cream, though that was a serious plus. I really enjoyed the collegiality of the conference, especially between Romanticists at all stages of their career. I felt invited to speak with senior faculty, and found new, wonderful friends among other graduate students. Having just come from the wonderful Austen/Staël conference at Chawton House Library, it was wonderful to reconnect with other Chawton delegates, and to really feel like I was a part of the Romanticist community. I have always felt a bit like an imposter in Romanticism since I study women’s novels rather than male poetry, but this conference changed that …read more


Sarah Comyn’s SouthHem Write-Up on Institutions as Networks

By msangster

Sarah Comyn, who gave an excellent paper on mechanics’ institutes in the colony of Victoria as part of a panel of presenters from the SouthHem project at ‘Institutions as Networks’, has written an illuminating breakdown of the workshop’s discussions, which can be seen on the SouthHem project site.

…read more


‘The light in the depth of the Temple’: Wordsworth and Rembrandt

By Lynn Shepherd

Storm over the Mountains c 1842-3, Joseph Mallord William Turner, Tate London

by Brian Miller

The sculptor Auguste Rodin once denied the suggestion that he shared an ounce of genius with that Dutch nonesuch: “Compare me with Rembrandt! What sacrilege! With Rembrandt, the colossus of Art! We should prostrate ourselves before Rembrandt and never compare anyone with him!”

The imperative to place Rembrandt on a pedestal might have come from Rodin’s idea that art was a quasi-religion and the artist at his best (as Rodin considered Rembrandt to be) was very near a god. Even today, like Rodin we’re quite comfortable compartmentalizing not only personage and period, but artistic medium. Case in point: few people today, when they think of Wordsworth, tend to think of Rembrandt. Perhaps naturally so. One was a poet, the other a painter, and if there’s any misgiving, they were separated by 100 years and at least five times as many miles.

And, also quite naturally, we usually associate Wordsworth more with his artistic contemporaries. Fragments of the unique quality that filters through Wordsworth’s poetry are certainly identifiable in the pastoral scenes of John Constable, particularly in his attention to capturing the true face of his native Dedham Vale. And the diffusions of cloud, light, and land evident …read more


Susan Bennett on the Society of Arts

By msangster

(Many thanks to Susan Bennett (William Shipley Group for Royal Society of Arts History) for allowing us to publish the wide-ranging talk that she gave on the RSA’s eighteenth- and nineteenth-century connections at the ‘Institutions as Networks’ workshop.)

‘Little more…than of a Society in the moon’: Publicising the work of the Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (1754-1900)

Often confused with its sister societies, the Royal Society and the Society of Antiquaries and, because of the shortened form of its name also the Royal Academy of Arts, the Society of Arts’ membership represented the ‘Nobility, Clergy, Gentry, Merchants, etc’ from its very first meeting in 1754. Through this network, through its activities and through its publications the Society presents a wide variety of connections and networks, which this paper attempts to illuminate.

Foundation meeting of the Society of Arts, held at Rawthmell’s Coffee House 22nd March 1754, by Anna Zinkeisen, 1954. (c) RSA.

In a footnote in the first volume of his Annals of Agriculture and other Useful Arts, the agriculturist, Arthur Young hoped that ‘the excellent Society…of Arts…will not be forgotten’. In my opinion’, he added, it has ‘done by far more good with an income …read more