BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

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

Archive for November 2017

London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Byron and Romantic Realism, Friday 8 December 2017, Senate House, London


Byron advert

The next meeting of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will take place on Friday 8 December 2017 and feature an international panel on Byron and Romantic Realism. As our guest speakers, we are delighted to welcome Richard Lansdown, Professor of Modern English Literature and Culture at the University of Groningen, whose paper is entitled Novelistic Realism in the English Cantos of Don Juan, and Rosa Mucignat, Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature at King’s College London, whose topic is Byron and Realist Time-Space: Metonymy and the Chronotope in Childe Harold Canto IV. Abstracts appear below.

The seminar will be held in Senate House, University of London, Room G3 (ground floor), starting at 5.30. The papers will be followed by a discussion and a wine reception, to which everyone is invited, including postgraduates and members of the public. Admission is free.

richard picRichard Lansdown is Professor of Modern English Literature and Culture at the University of Groningen; before that he taught for 25 years in Australia, mostly in the tropics. He is the author of studies of Byron with both Oxford and Cambridge University Presses (1992 and 2012), and the editor …read more


Five Questions: Beatrice Turner on Romantic Childhood, Romantic Heirs

By Matthew Sangster

Beatrice Turner is Research Facilitator in the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Roehampton. She completed her undergraduate education and Master’s degree at Victoria University of Wellington before moving to the UK to pursue a doctorate at Newcastle University. She is broadly interested in Romantic afterlives and periodicity, and has worked on nineteenth-century children’s literature, the Godwin-Shelley circle and the Coleridge family; the latter two threads come together in her first monograph, Romantic Childhood, Romantic Heirs: Reproduction and Retrospection, 1820-1850, which was recently published by Palgrave Macmillan and which we discuss below.

1) How did you first become interested in the children of canonical Romantic-period writers?

Quite a few years ago now, my Master’s supervisor at Victoria University of Wellington, Harry Ricketts, read me Hartley Coleridge’s sonnet ‘Long Time a Child’. I can’t remember what we were talking about – probably Swallows and Amazons, and definitely not Romantic poetry – but the line ‘For I have lost the race I never ran’ seized me absolutely. It seemed to express a complexly doubled feeling about being entered into something unconsciously, or without having a choice, and about failure being a form of both …read more


Introductory Email for Institutions as Actors

By msangster

In advance of the ‘Institutions as Actors’ workshop, we’ve circulated some general questions that we’re hoping the workshop will address – we’ve reproduced the email setting these out below for those who are unable to join us in York.

Dear All,

We’re looking forward to welcoming you all to York at the end of the week for the ‘Institutions as Actors’ workshop. The workshop begins at 9:30am on each of the two days (Friday 1st and Saturday 2nd). The Friday sessions (at York Medical Society) conclude at 6:30pm; the Saturday sessions (at King’s Manor) close at 5:30pm. A full programme is attached (please be aware that we’ve made some small adjustments to the running order that we initially circulated).

As most of you will know, this is the third of three AHRC-funded events organised as parts of the ‘Institutions of Literature, 1700-1900′ network. Some of you have attended past events, but for those of you who weren’t able to come to these and who would like to get a sense of what was discussed, we’ve published a series of reflections by participants on our website (‘Institutions as Curators’:; ‘Institutions as Networks’:

The programme has slots …read more


Defining Institutions

By msangster

(In advance of ‘Institutions as Actors’, some thoughts toward a revised definition of ‘institution’, based on the network’s discussions – M.S.)

When we wrote the proposal for the ‘Institutions of Literature, 1700-1900′ network in 2015, and when we advertised via our open call for participants in the autumn of 2016, we left what we meant by ‘institution’ purposefully hazy. The closest that the call came to providing a definition was a description of the functions that we claimed institutions came to occupy during the period we proposed to examine: ‘Between 1700 and 1900, institutions came to play integral roles in literary culture: teaching people how to value writing; providing sites for discussion and networks for circulation; serving as archival repositories; raising and disbursing money; inventing new genres; distributing laurels and condemnations; and authoring works and conducting readings.’[1] Our invitation to ‘stakeholders and curators who work in surviving institutions originating from [the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries]’ perhaps implied we were privileging definitions focusing on organisations over those centred around practices, but in seeking participants and collaborators, we were keen not to be too prescriptive. In part, this was because the network was designed to facilitate rather than …read more


The Language of Semblance in The Prelude

By Lynn Shepherd

by Chris Townsend

There are features of Wordsworth’s poetry that are so obvious as to not really need stating; he was obviously concerned with visual perception, and he very clearly had an interest in nature. But sometimes when we let the most obvious parts of poems slip by us, they silently carry with them a wealth of significance that might change how we read the rest of the work. It’s for that reason that it’s not a bad idea to take a close look at Wordsworth’s all-but ubiquitous language of semblance — that is, his frequent use of words like seems and appears.

‘Semblance’ relates to external appearances — especially when the appearance of a thing is different from its reality. But we all use terms of semblance so often and casually that’s it’s not always clear what we mean. If you ask a friend what they think of your boyfriend or girlfriend and they reply “they seem very nice”, you might be satisfied with the response — or you might wonder why they only “seem” nice, as if your friend is really thinking “they seem nice, but…”. The verb ‘to seem’ is a ghostly relative of the verb ‘to …read more


Archive Spotlight: The Royal Irish Academy and Global Connections in Martha Wilmot’s Russian Journals

By Anna Mercer

Today we welcome Dr Pamela Buck to the BARS blog. Pamela is an Associate Professor of English at Sacred Heart University. Her research focuses on British women writers and material culture during the French Revolution and Napoleonic period. She is currently working on a book project concerning the souvenir as an object of political and cultural exchange in Romantic women’s travel writing. Here she tells us about her research at the Royal Irish Academy, Dublin.

Global Connections in Martha Wilmot’s Russian Journals

In July 2016, I traveled to Dublin, Ireland to examine the works of Martha Wilmot (1775-1873) in the Wilmot-Dashkova Collection at the library of the Royal Irish Academy.[1] Wilmot was an Anglo-Irish writer from a well-connected, wealthy family in County Cork. In 1803, she traveled to Russia after receiving an invitation from Princess Ekaterina Dashkova, who met Wilmot’s father while on a tour of Ireland in 1779-1780. One of the foremost women of the Russian Enlightenment, Princess Dashkova was instrumental in the coup that had brought Catherine the Great to power. During Wilmot’s five years in Russia, an intense friendship formed between the two women, and Dashkova often referred to herself as …read more


Archive Spotlight on The Derbyshire Record Office: A Marriage of the Romantic and the Scientific

By Anna Mercer

Mary Ann Flaxman, Detail of portrait of Eleanor Anne Porden, undated.

Thank you to Val Derbyshire (University of Sheffield) for this intriguing and charming account of her experience carrying out research at the Derbyshire Record Office – and the letters she spent time reading there. You can also read Val’s BARS blog report from the Thelwall Conference here.

‘Unrestrained Epistolary Intercourse’: A Marriage of the Romantic and the Scientific


Val Derbyshire, PhD Researcher, School of English, University of Sheffield

Mary Ann Flaxman, Detail of portrait of Eleanor Anne Porden, undated.

I first stumbled across the works of Eleanor Anne Porden (1795-1825), Romantic poet and first wife of Arctic explorer, John Franklin (1786-1847) quite by chance whilst working a night shift on an out of hours helpline at Derbyshire County Council. I quite often used these night shifts – which were invariably quiet – to study for the MA I was completing at the time. During one shift, I was researching an assignment on Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), and reading Jen Hill’s excellent study from 2008, White Horizon: The Arctic in the Nineteenth-Century British Imagination (New York: University of New York Press, 2008), when I came across Hill’s analysis of Porden’s The Arctic Expeditions: A Poem (1818). Hill’s research had …read more