BARS Exchange

BARS Exchange

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

Archive for September 2019

The Artist of the Future Age

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

The Artist of the Future Age: William Blake, Neo-Romanticism, Counterculture and Now

John Rylands Library, Deansgate, Manchester
11 October 2019

Click here to book

Much has been written since the 1940s about the idea of William Blake as a rebel of cultural thought, a dreamer of alternative realities, a preparer of the way, an oracle of unfettered literary creativity and a source of cult-like devotion; but relatively little attention has been given to considering how Blake’s art captured the attention of successive generations of modern artists, art critics and cultural commentators. The purpose of The Artist of the Future Age: William Blake, Neo-Romanticism, Counter-Culture and Now is to investigate how Blake has been imagined as a friend of the future, a revolutionary, whose art – or ideas about art – outran his own period and ‘predicted’ later developments in visual culture.

Within these broad limits, the papers, talks and conversations at the event are intended to explore a range of artistic and critical engagements with Blake from neo-romanticism, the counterculture to the current day. From this we hope to achieve two things. First, to outline the cultural richness and variation of appraisals of Blake’s art and ideas since the 1940s. Second, to spotlight common …read more


Romantic Reimaginings: Beatrice Hastings and ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’

By Eleanor Bryan

Romantic Reimaginings is a BARS blog series which seeks to explore the ways in which texts of the Romantic era continue to resonate. The blog is curated by Eleanor Bryan. If you would like to publish an article in the series, please email

Today on the blog, Daisy Ferris explores Keats’s Romantic influence in the age of Modernism through the writings of Beatrice Hastings.

A lot of people assume that the Modernists defined themselves against the Romantics: flying in the face of tradition in their ardent attempts to ‘Make it New’. In fact, a clear Romantic influence can be seen in much Modernist work—an influence which is even more prevalent in the work of authors who fall outside of the canon of straight, white, upper-middle class ‘Men of 1914′. One example of a lesser-known Modernist figure whose work is heavily influenced by Romanticism is Beatrice Hastings, who wrote for and co-edited British magazine The New Age from 1908-1916. The New Age played an important role in both the political and artistic developments of the Modernist era: introducing British readers to authors such as Ezra Pound and Katherine Mansfield. Hastings, however, reviled what she termed ‘poetical Picassoism’ (NA, 10.10, p.238), instead advocating …read more


London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Timothy Webb, Friday 18 October 2019, Senate House, University of London


webb advert 2

The first seminar in the 2019-20 programme of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will be held on Friday 18 October 2019 at 5.30 in the Bloomsbury Room (G35) at Senate House, University of London. To open the new series, we are delighted to welcome Timothy Webb, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol and a renowned international scholar of Romanticism. His talk, entitled Leigh Hunt and ‘Romantic’ Imprisonment, will be followed by a discussion and wine reception.

As with all our events, the seminar is free and open to everyone, including postgraduates and members of the public. No registration is necessary.

webb mugshot 2Timothy Webb is Senior Research Fellow at the University of Bristol where he was Winterstoke Professor and for nine years Head of the Department of English. He has written and lectured widely on Romantic topics, especially Byron and Shelley (the subject of nine books, written or edited, sometimes jointly), and on Irish topics (including Joyce and Yeats, focus of a pioneering Penguin edition). His two-volume annotated edition of Leigh Hunt’s Autobiography will be published by Oxford University Press in …read more


2020 BCLA Triennial Conference on Randomness

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Randomness CfP

Queen University Belfast

15-17 September 2020

Keywords: Accidental, arbitrary, incidental, slapdash, hit-or-miss, unplanned, unintended (e.g. consequences), unexpected, unanticipated, unpredictable, contingent, volatility, excitement, wonder, fantasy, imagination, creativity, serendipity.

Chance encounters, unforeseen opportunities, and impulsive decisions play a bigger role in our life and work than we wish to acknowledge. Is reading not always random to some extent? It is only retrospectively, in shifting scale from the individual to social or perspective from reading to interpreting, that randomness becomes regularity and can get explained away as purpose and design.

Randomness and chance play a leading role in historical accounts, in narratives of war and battles, victory and defeat, in biographies and travelogues, in narratives of arrivals, encounters and departures. They resurface in stories, setting characters onto a course or hurtling them into the great unknown, towards their fate. People’s bookshelves, readers’ memories, and second-hand bookshops can produce a similar, puzzling – even dizzying – sense of randomness.

Fortunes of literary works and theory are not immune to the dictates of chance. What are the forces that get literary works published, translated, circulated locally or internationally, and nominated for and winning literary prizes? When do managed search algorithms fail and serendipitous connections appear? How do chance encounters …read more


CFP 46th International Byron Conference – 29 June-5 July 2020

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Byron: Wars and Words

The 46th International Byron Conference
29 June-5 July 2020
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece

Call for Papers

Proposals are invited for the 2020 Conference of the International Association of Byron Societies, “Byron: Wars and Words”, to be held at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki from 29th June to 5th July.

The aim of this conference is to look at how war in all its meanings, symbolisms, and manifestations influenced Byron’s words and worlds, and shaped his poetic and political sensibility. Drawing on recent scholarship in Romantic studies, it will also explore Romantic authors’ preoccupations with war, and how these intersected with Byron’s. How are the events of wars transformed into words, images and spectacle? Conversely, how do words become weapons and trigger literary, cultural, and political struggles? What kind of ideological conflicts, dilemmas, and anxieties does the print culture of the time embody when treating the issue of war? How does Romantic-period conflict extend our understanding of modern warfare?

The conference welcomes 20-minute proposals for papers on topics including, but not necessarily limited to:

  • Byron as revolutionary fighter and/or critic of war
  • Byron and Napoleon
  • Byron and epic
  • Warfare as inspiring force for poetic subjects, new genres, language forms and styles
  • Romantic nationalism
  • “Intellectual war”: newspapers, magazines, reviews and broadsides
  • The …read more


Five Questions: Anna Mercer on the Shelleys’ Collaborative Literary Relationship

By Matthew Sangster

Anna Mercer is a Lecturer in the School of English, Communication and Philosophy at Cardiff University. She is particularly interested in the dynamics of literary relationships, the works and experiences of women writers and the possibilities unlocked by manuscript studies, and has published a number of articles on these topics. She organised the Shelley Conference in 2017, works closely with Keats House and the Keats-Shelley Association of America, has served on the BARS Executive as Blog Editor and was recently elected to the new role of BARS Communications Officer. Her first book, The Collaborative Literary Relationship of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, which we discuss below, was recently published by Routledge.

1) How did you come to realise that you wanted to write a book on the collaborative relationship between the Shelleys?

My first engagement with the Shelleys was when I had the opportunity to study Frankenstein and A Defence of Poetry as an undergraduate – which is surely a very common way to initially encounter these two writers. A section of research that features in my book probably appeared in some form in a second-year undergraduate essay on Romanticism (well, according …read more


Seventh Bicentennial John Keats Conference: 15-17 May 2020, London

By Anna Mercer

Preliminary Announcement

Seventh Bicentennial John Keats Conference

John Keats in 1820

A Three-Day Keats Foundation Conference at Keats House, Hampstead, London

Friday 15 – Sunday 17 May 2020

Keynote Speakers: John Barnard, Richard Lansdown, Sarah Wootton

The Keats Foundation is delighted to announce its seventh bicentenary conference, ‘John Keats in 1820′, which will be held at Keats House, Hampstead 15-17 May 2020.

1820 was the year that saw the publication of Keats’s third collection — Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St. Agnes and Other Poems. A little over two months after the book appeared, Keats boarded the Maria Crowtherat Tower Wharf, and sailed for Italy where he aimed to pass the winter.

In due course we will be inviting proposals for 20-minute papers for presentation at the 2020 John Keats Conference. Possible themes, which are not exclusive, might include:

Keats’s 1820 collection and the poems in it. Unpublished Keats in 1820. New poems. The 1820 letters. The Keats Circle in 1820. Keats and melancholy. Keats and tuberculosis. Friendships. Journeys. Financial entanglements. Keats and copyright.

For obvious reasons, all papers should have a significant Keats dimension.

Lectures and papers will be presented in the spacious Nightingale Room adjacent to Keats …read more


CRECS 2019-20

By annamercer90 Anna Mercer and Josh Powell are delighted to announce the following events for CRECS 2019-20 Autumn Term. All sessions are held at 6pm in Room 2.47, John Percival Building, Cardiff CF10 3EU. Refreshments provided; all welcome! Mon 14 Oct Introductory session. Dr Anna Mercer (Cardiff) and Dr Josh Powell (Cardiff) ‘New directions in the field of eighteenth century and Romantic studies’. … Continue reading CRECS 2019-20 …read more


Call for Papers: The Limits of Life, Death and Consciousness in the Long Nineteenth Century

By Anna Mercer

In Extremis:

The Limits of Life, Death and Consciousness in the Long Nineteenth Century

University College Dublin, 10-11 January 2020

Keynote Speaker: Professor Angela Wright

This interdisciplinary conference seeks to explore the ways in which the fundamental understanding of embodied human life and consciousness was challenged by developments in science and medicine in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Spurred on by public experiments and mass casualties resulting from war, famine, disease, poverty and oppression, natural philosophers, poets and novelists, spiritualists and enthusiasts interrogated the limits of death and life. Social and intellectual cross-currents between imaginative and scientific discourses produced a flourishing culture of enquiry in which old certainties and taboos no longer defined the parameters of human existence. However, the body, rather than being tamed and comprehended by advancements in science, seemed more alien than human, a thing apart from consciousness yet intimately tied to mental processes. From the grotesque and mutilated female bodies of William Hunter’s The Anatomy of the Human Gravid Uterus (1774) to the distorted figures of Henry Fuseli’s nightmarish paintings and on to Stevenson’s metamorphic identities in The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), eighteenth- and nineteenth-century intellectual life reimagined the boundaries of sex, disease and …read more