BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

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

Archive for March 2019

19th Century Matters: Digital Mapping Training Day, May 2019

By Anna Mercer

Are you an Early Career Researcher working on the long nineteenth century? Have you ever wondered why bother with digital mapping and what it could contribute to your research?

Registration is now open for a one day research and training event in digital mapping for Early Career Researchers, including current PhD students, in English and History, 29 May 2019, 10.30-16.30, at the Ruskin Library and Research Centre, Lancaster University. The day aims to support and inspire absolute beginners in considering using Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology in their own research. The day will include two training sessions in using ArcGIS Online, a keynote speaker and two researcher talks that will showcase successful research projects which use GIS to study historical and literary texts. The event should appeal to Early Career Researchers in English and History whose research spans across the nineteenth century, from the early Romantics to the Victorians.

Keynote Speaker:

Professor Ian N. Gregory (Lancaster University)


Dr Christopher Donaldson (Lancaster University)

Dr Patricia Murrieta-Flores (Lancaster University)

ArcGIS Online Training Sessions Facilitator:

Dr Joanna Taylor (University of Manchester)

The event is free, and limited to twenty places. If you are interested in attending the event please use this link to register. Please …read more


Call for papers – a Palgrave special issue on ‘Monsters: interdisciplinary explorations of monstrosity’

By Anna Mercer

‘Monsters: interdisciplinary explorations of monstrosity’

Palgrave Communications the open access journal from Palgrave Macmillan (part of Springer Nature), which publishes research across the humanities and social sciences, is currently inviting article proposals and full papers for a research collection (‘special issue’) on ‘Monsters: interdisciplinary explorations of monstrosity‘.

This collection is being edited by: Dr Sibylle Erle (Reader in English Literature), Dr Pat Beckley (Senior Lecturer in the School of Teacher Development) and Dr Helen Hendry (Senior Lecturer in Education Studies, Bishop Grosseteste University, Lincoln, UK)

Collection scope

There is a continued fascination with all things monsters, which is partly due to the critical and popular reception of Mary Shelley’s creature termed a ‘new species’ by its ambitious and over-reading creator. Victor Frankenstein regards himself a scientist, but his creature’s existence is bodged from the start. The aim of this ‘Monsters’ collection of articles is therefore to examine the legacy of Shelley’s novel as well as the different incarnations of monsters in contemporary research and teaching contexts. Attempting to explain the appeal of Shelley’s story, this collection offers a unique opportunity to promote dialogue between the social sciences and the humanities.

Paper are invited that explore the concepts of monsters, monstrosity and the …read more


Conference Report: Women & the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century

By Anna Mercer

Women & the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century

Friday 8 March 2019, University of Sheffield

By Hannah Moss, PhD Researcher in the School of English

Scheduled to coincide with International Women’s Day, Women & the Arts in the Long Eighteenth Century took place on Friday 8 March at the University of Sheffield’s Humanities Research Institute. I organised this one-day conference, kindly sponsored by BARS, to reappraise the role women played in the arts during the period. As a PhD candidate specialising in the representation of women’s art in the Romantic-era novel, my aim was to bring together fellow researchers working on connected topics in the hope of fostering interdisciplinary thought.

With 2019 marking the 250thanniversary of the inaugural Royal Academy exhibition, I felt that it was both important and timely for an event to bring female creativity in the period to the forefront of discussion. Women & the Arts brought together those specialising in Art History, Literature, Theatre, and Music to share their research, with the event particularly targeted at those working on the intersection between literature and the arts in order to explore the ways in which writers represent artistic endeavour. The international reach of the call for papers saw …read more


Stephen Copley Research Awards 2019: The Winners

By Anna Mercer

The BARS Executive Committee has established these bursaries in order to support postgraduate and early-career research within the UK. They are intended to help fund expenses incurred through travel to libraries and archives necessary to the student’s research. As anticipated, this year we received a large number of applications, many of which were of a very high quality indeed. Please do join us in congratulating the very worthy winners. Romanticism is alive and kicking, we’re pleased to say!

  • Valentina P. Aparicio (University of Edinburgh)
  • Gabriella Barnard-Edmunds (University of York)
  • Stephen Basdeo (RIASA Leeds)
  • Eleanor Bryan (University of Lincoln)
  • Hiroki Iwamoto (University of Bristol)
  • Francesco Marchionni (Durham University)
  • Alice Rhodes (University of York)
  • Katie Snow (University of Exeter)
  • Jonathan Taylor (University of Surrey)

Once they have completed their research trips each winner will write a brief report on their projects. These will be published on the website and circulated through our social media. For more information about the bursaries, including reports from past winners, please visit our website.

Daniel Cook, Bursaries Officer, BARS. University of Dundee.

19 February 2019

…read more


Call for Papers: Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century

By Anna Mercer

University of Lincoln, 23rd July 2019 – website here

Organisers: Dr Alice Crossley, Dr Amy Culley, and Dr Rebecca Styler

Plenary Speaker: Prof. Devoney Looser, Arizona State University

‘Ageing in Public: Women Authors in the Nineteenth Century’

This conference responds to the burgeoning critical interest of humanities scholars in age, ageing, and stages of life from childhood to old age in the nineteenth century.

The figure of the child and the imaginative investment in the idea of childhood are the focus of seminal studies of ageing in this period.

However, recent critical engagements have suggested the value of exploring ageing identities and cultural articulations of age across the life course, in dialogue with one another, and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

In light of this development, this conference seeks to address the experiences, conceptions, and representations of the ageing process in the literature and culture of the nineteenth century.

W.P. Frith’s ‘Many Happy Returns’ (1856) ‘Harrogate Museums and Arts, Harrogate Borough Council’

We welcome papers from all humanities disciplines (including, but not restricted to, English, History, Art History, and Religious Studies) and covering a diverse range of media, forms, and genres, such as fiction, poetry, drama, life writing, conduct literature, children’s literature, religious writing, periodicals, portraiture, photography, …read more


‘Some curious disquiet’: Polidori, the Byronic vampire, and its progeny, 6-7 April

By Anna Mercer

Open Graves, Open Minds presents:

Some curious disquiet’: Polidori, the Byronic vampire, and its progeny

A symposium for the bicentenary of The Vampyre

6-7 April 2019, Keats House, Hampstead

(part-sponsored by BARS)

Image via British Library

John Polidori published his tale The Vampyre in 1819. It is well known that his vampire emerged out of the same storytelling contest at the Villa Diodati in 1816 that gave birth to that other archetype of the Gothic heritage, Frankenstein’s monster. Present at this gathering were Polidori (who was Byron’s physician), Mary Godwin, Frankenstein‘s author; Claire Clairmont, Percy Shelley, and (crucially) Lord Byron.

Byron’s contribution to the contest was an inconclusive fragment about a mysterious man characterised by ‘a curious disquiet’. Polidori took this fragment and turned it into the tale of the vampire Lord Ruthven, preying on the vulnerable women of society. The Vampyrewas something of a sensation and spawned stage versions and imitations that were hugely popular.

Sir Christopher Frayling declares The Vampyreto be ‘the first story successfully to fuse the disparate elements of vampirism into a coherent literary genre’. Polidori gave the creature the form that largely persists through subsequent vampire narratives, transforming it from the animalistic monster of the Slavic peasantry to something that can haunt …read more


London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Keats and France, international panel, Friday 15 March 2019, Senate Hosue, London


keats ad

The next meeting of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will be held on Friday 15 March 2019 and feature an international panel on Keats and France. We are delighted to welcome as our guest speakers two distinguished scholars: Caroline Bertonèche, Professor of English Literature at Université Grenoble Alpes, who will talk on Keats’s Frenchness, and Emily Rohrbach, Lecturer in British Literature at the University of Manchester, whose paper is entitled Reading Keats with Rancière. Abstracts of their talks appear below.

The seminar will be held in the Bloomsbury Room (G35, ground floor) at Senate House, University of London, starting at 5.30. The papers will be followed by a discussion and wine reception. Everyone is invited, including postgraduates and members of the public. Admission is free and no registration is needed.

caro2 cropCaroline Bertonèche is Professor of English Literature at Université Grenoble Alpes, President of SERA (Société d’Études du Romantisme Anglais) and a member of the Paris steering group of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar. She studied Romanticism at the University of Oxford and holds a doctoral degree from the Université Sorbonne …read more


Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein: The Birth of a Monster

By annamercer90


A piece I wrote last year summarising the timeline for the conception and composition of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.

Sources: Letters of Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley, Mary Shelley’s Journal, and the text available here via Romantic Circles and the Shelley-Godwin Archive.

All images from Shelley’s Ghost.

I shall thus give a general answer to the question, so frequently asked me—”How I, then a young girl, came to think of, and to dilate upon, so very hideous an idea?”

– Mary Shelley, 1831 Introduction to Frankenstein

Switzerland, 1816: an eighteen-year-old girl has a nightmare, and the ‘grim terrors’ in her ‘waking dream’ deliver a flash of inspiration. The teenager is a would-be writer in search of a story, and this night terror coupled with her literary prowess will produce two of the most enduring figures in English literature: Victor Frankenstein and his monstrous creation.

The Villa Diodati (Bodleian Libraries)

Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, later Mary Shelley, is spending the summer by the shores of Lake Geneva. She is accompanied by the poets Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley – the latter being her lover and eventual husband, who during 1816 is still married to another woman. Percy and Mary …read more