Arriving in Tokyo without sufficient knowledge of Japanese, I was overwhelmed with writing. I was used to the signposts of the Roman alphabet, even in places previously traveled where I had not known the language. The Roman alphabet faded into the background contours of the cities I wandered, though I remember a long English description etched on a Helsinki store window that made me laugh aloud as it transformed my language into a whimsical nonsense nature poem. Alan Watts once spoke of “the sensible contexts in which nonsense may have its way.” Here global capitalism—that allegedly sensible model of selling, selecting and buying—revealed itself as the freighter of nonsense.
We invite proposals for an international Romanticism conference, to be
held at the University of Tokyo on June 13–15, 2014. This event will
bring together four scholarly societies from three continents: it is a
supernumerary conference of the North American Society for the Study
of Romanticism (NASSR), also supported by the British Association for
Romantic Studies (BARS), the German Society for English Romanticism
(GER), and the Japan Association of English Romanticism (JAER).
Over the last two decades, there has been sustained scholarly interest
in the connections between European Romanticism and the peoples,
cultures, and literatures of the rest of the world. While our approach
will be informed by the legacy of Saidian “Orientalism,” we are
particularly interested in models of intercultural connection which
refine or challenge totalizing models of domination and subordination.
We welcome papers that shed light upon the question of “connection”
from the broadest range of perspectives: imaginative, linguistic,
material, social, sexual, scientific, economic, and political.
Drawing on our location in Tokyo, we will use this conference to
consider the broader task of forging connections between Eastern and
Western literature and scholarship. In a Japanese context, the idea of
interpersonal “connection” (kizuna) takes on a different resonance,
because of its close connection to the project of recovery (saisei)
following the 2011 Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami. This
conference wishes …read more
By Jo Taylor
Hampshire Field. Photo: Peter Jordan
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.
Even Fuseli’s 1781 painting “The Nightmare” (below) – which seemingly depicts the contents of the female sleeper’s febrile imagination …read more
The Friends of Coleridge, an open society dedicated to the appreciation of the poet, have recently launched a new website that offers a number of useful resources.
They’ve provided a collection of graphic and written portraits by his contemporaries, an edited and contextualized selection of his poetry, a timeline of the major events in his life, and a guide to corrections to the Princeton Poetical Works series, among others.
In addition, the site offers information about the Friends, their semi-annual publication The Coleridge Bulletin, and their other Coleridge-oriented programs of interest to both scholars and enthusiasts.
The fascinating and unexpected connections between Romanticism and Japanese culture are displayed in a number of temporary exhibitions on show in Tokyo.
The recently-finished “Imaginary Architecture from Piranesi to Minoru Nomata,” at the Machida City Museum of Graphic Arts, traced a tradition of artwork depicting architecture that does not exist in real life from Romantic-period London to contemporary Tokyo.
The exhibition featured a number of notable Romantic works, including English painter John Martin’s sublime and terrifying 1823 illustrations of Paradise Lost and the eighteenth-century Italian artist Giovanni Battista Piranesi’s Imaginary Prisons, a series of prints imagining vast subterranean vaults with distorted staircases and labyrinthine machines. By placing these pieces alongside more recent works such as the contemporary Japanese artist Minoru Nomata’s images of fantasy architecture, the show highlighted surprising and illuminating points of connection and contrast.
Fuji seen from Lake Kawaguchiko (image by Midori)
The mountain is 100 km from Tokyo and clearly visible in good weather – although nowadays you generally need to find a higher vantage point than a “Fuji viewing hill.”
Folks at Vancouver Island University have created a video detailing their interpretation of William Blake’s Printing process. Thanks to Roger Whitson on the NASSR Listserv for alerting us to this video.
Led by Kate Katigbak (Durham)
We discussed the choices of poetry in Jennings’ film, commenting that they were linked by a theme of conflict that transcended historical timeframes. For example, William Blake’s ‘Jerusalem’ lyric, reflecting on the failures of the French Revolution, and Rudyard Kipling’s poetry, lamenting the fall of the British Empire, seemed strikingly appropriate for …read more