Five Questions: Nicola J. Watson on The Author’s Effects: On Writer’s House Museums

By Matthew Sangster

Nicola J. Watson is Professor of English Literature at the Open University, a former president of BARS (2011-2015) and the co-ordinator of the European Romanticisms in Association (ERA) initiative. She has published in a formidable array of areas, including the revolutionary contexts of the Romantic novel; the limits of Romanticism; Walter Scott; Shakespeare; the afterlives of Elizabethan England; exhibiting literature; and literary tourism. Her most recent monograph, The Author’s Effects: On Writer’s House Museums, which we discuss below, was published by Oxford University Press in January 2020.

1) How did you first become interested in writer’s house museums?

I first got interested in writer’s house museums when I was writing about the emergence of literary tourism in late eighteenth-century Britain for The Literary Tourist. The writer’s house museum proper, in the sense of a house previously occupied by an author that is now shown to the ticketed public, first comes officially into being with the purchase of Shakespeare’s Birthplace for the nation in 1847. But when I was writing an essay commissioned for the Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare and Popular Culture on Shakespeare and tourism, it became obvious that the idea of visiting …read more


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By Dr Fallon


6-9 August 2020
Toronto, Ontario

North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (NASSR)
28th Annual Conference

“Romanticism & Vision”

Regrettably, the NASSR 2020 conference has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
We wish everyone a safe and healthy summer ahead.

Francis Barber[?]

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New RÊVE Announcement

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By Emily Paterson-Morgan

RÊVE (Romantic Europe: The Virtual Exhibition) is delighted to announce that in addition to its new collections (now releasing bimonthly), all its exhibits are newly searchable. It is hoped that you will find this new facility – along with the recently released pedagogical materials – useful as online resource for teaching at many different levels.

From inkstands, books, and travelling cases to trees, clouds, and volcanos, RÊVE brings together iconic objects of Romanticism from across Europe alongside original commentary and cutting-edge research from academics and heritage professionals around the world.

Visit for more details about this excellent digital resource – particularly valuable as many of us move our teaching and research online.

You might also be interested in a previous announcement on this topic on the BARS Blog, click here.

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Romantic Circles Gallery

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By Emily Paterson-Morgan

The Romantic Circles Gallery invites scholars to develop and submit proposals for virtual exhibitions on art, visual culture, and book history that will be housed on the Romantic Circles Gallery site. Proposals should include a title, a brief rationale explaining the concept or inquiry that will define the exhibit, and a list of ten visual objects for the proposed exhibits.

The digital Gallery is edited by Theresa Kelley and Jacob Henry Leveton. They also encourage prospective gallery curators to submit digital images of those objects if they are available. Current Gallery exhibits are located here:

Our review process is ongoing. Submit exhibit proposals to:

Romantic Circles Gallery is committed to a wide-ranging investigation of Romantic visualities. They invite a rich array of approaches to this topic, from questions asked and emerging in art history to thinking about how visual objects occur everywhere in Romantic texts as well as images. They understand visuality across many platforms, from what has traditionally been described as artworks, to ephemera, works on paper, paper itself, books, and visual artifacts that take in many fields of inquiry beyond what we once thought …read more


Five Questions: Amelia Dale on The Printed Reader

By Matthew Sangster

Amelia Dale is a Lecturer in Eighteenth-Century Literature and Culture at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics. She has published essays on on eighteenth-century and Romantic literary culture, the history of reading and ecocriticism in venues including Studies in the Novel, Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture, Romantic Climates, Passions, Sympathy and Print Culture and Sterne, Tristram, Yorick: Tercentenary Essays on Laurence Sterne. She also creates poetry, including the book CONSTITUTION (Inken Publisch) and the e-objects Tractosaur (Troll Thread), METADATA (SOd) and Grumpy Cat 2 Reads Sanditon Chapter 2 (Gauss Pdf). Her first monograph, The Printed Reader: Gender, Quixotism, and Textual Bodies in Eighteenth-Century Britain, which we discuss below, was published by Bucknell University Press in 2019.

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Call for Papers: The Romantic Spirit in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien

By Matthew Sangster

Call for Papers

The Romantic Spirit in the Works of J.R.R. Tolkien

A volume in the Cormarë Series, edited by Julian Eilmann & Will Sherwood

If we examine Tolkien research since the 1960s, we may conclude that the notion of Tolkien as a Romanticist is not a popular approach of interpretation: “When referring to Tolkien’s works, Romanticism is hardly the first genre that comes to mind” (Birks 28). His work has instead been largely interpreted within the context of his professional background as philologist and expert of medieval literature. The connection between Tolkien and the Middle Ages has thus become a commonplace of Tolkien scholarship: “Tolkien and the Middle Ages: a connection that seems self-evident and has frequently been dealt with by Tolkien scholars over the last years” (Brückner et al. 6). But as important as these studies grounded in history and philology may be, their dominance makes it difficult for other aspects of Tolkien’s complete works to become visible.

While Tolkien research has started to widen its scope with the aim of enlightening readers of Tolkien’s wider literary interests, the Romantic tradition has remained predominantly overshadowed. Scholars have repeatedly identified that the ‘Romantic Gothic opened imaginative spaces for fantasy in the broader sense’ …read more


Five Questions: Robert Morrison on the Regency and Thomas De Quincey

By Matthew Sangster

Robert Morrison is currently a British Academy Global Professor at Bath Spa University and Queen’s National Scholar at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. He is a leading expert on Thomas De Quincey and Romantic-period periodical culture and has published major editions of works by writers including De Quincey, Leigh Hunt, Jane Austen and John Polidori, as well as numerous essays on topics including magazine writing, John Galt, William Blackwood and twentieth-century music. His biography of Thomas De Quincey, The English Opium Eater, was published in 2009. Below, we discuss two books that he published last year: the 21st-Century Oxford Authors edition of Thomas De Quincey (Oxford University Press) and The Regency Revolution (Atlantic Books; published by W.W. Norton as The Regency Years in North America).

1) How did you first become interested in Thomas De Quincey?

My interest in De Quincey began at Oxford, where I did my M.Phil. degree in Romanticism under the supervision of Jonathan Wordsworth. In Hilary term of my first year, Jonathan asked me to write an essay on each of the four major non-fiction prose writers: De Quincey, William Hazlitt, Leigh Hunt, and …read more


Five Questions: Nigel Leask on Stepping Westward

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By Matthew Sangster

Nigel Leask is Regius Chair of English Language and Literature at the University of Glasgow. He will be well-known to readers of this blog from his many publications in the field of Romantic Studies, including the monographs British Romantic Writers and the East: Anxieties of Empire, Curiosity and the Aesthetics of Travel Writing, 1770-1840 and Robert Burns and Pastoral: Poetry and Improvement in Late-18th Century Scotland; the edited collections Enlightenment Travel and British Identities: Thomas Pennant’s Tours of Scotland and Wales and Romanticism and Popular Culture in Britain and Ireland; and the first volume of the Oxford Edition of the Works of Robert Burns, Commonplace Books, Tour Journals, and Miscellaneous Prose. His latest monograph, Stepping Westward: Writing the Highland Tour c. 1720-1830, which we discuss below, was published by Oxford University Press in March. His plenary lecture from BARS’ 2017 conference in York was also recently published as Philosophical Vagabonds: Pedestrianism, Politics, and Improvement on the Scottish Tour.

1) How did you come to decide that you wanted to write a book on the Highland Tour?

There’s a parallel between the genesis of Stepping Westward: Writing the Highland Tour and …read more


Five Questions: David Chandler on Charles Dibdin

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By Matthew Sangster

David Chandler is Professor of English Literature at Doshisha University in Kyoto. His publications range widely across eighteenth- and nineteenth-century culture, including work on provincial society, the Lake Poets, George Borrow, Charles Dickens, Romantic essayists, theatrical performance and musical culture, including opera and popular song. He is also a director of Retrospect Opera and has been involved in two projects reviving and recording the music of Charles Dibdin (1745-1814): Christmas Gambols and The Jubilee. We discuss his interest in Dibdin below.

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Wordsworth250: Online Celebrations and Royal Mail issues ‘Romantic Poets’ stamps

By Anna Mercer

Tomorrow – 7 April 2020 – is William Wordsworth’s 250th birthday.

Look out for exciting virtual celebrations from Wordsworth Grasmere on social media:

Wordsworth Grasmere Twitter: Follow #Wordsworth250 @WordsworthGras @CuratorWT@WTdirector.

Wordsworth Grasmere: Facebook, Instagram.

You can also check out their YouTube channel.

More news for Wordsworth’s birthday…

‘The Romantic Poets – Special Stamp Issues’

Royal Mail issues 10 new Special Stamps on the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Wordsworth.

The stamps also celebrate other major Romantic poets: William Blake; John Keats; Lord Byron; Samuel Taylor Coleridge; Mary Robinson; Percy Bysshe Shelley; Walter Scott; John Clare; and Letitia Elizabeth Landon.

Each stamp uses an extract from one of their most popular and enduring works, along with a specially-commissioned illustration that reflects the theme of the poem.

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