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The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) was set up in 1989 by academics to promote the study of the cultural history of the Romantic period. Since then, BARS has organised biennial International Conferences at various locations across the UK, has published the BARS Bulletin and Review twice-yearly, and currently has more than 400 members.

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BARS Postgraduates - Day Conference

Romantic Textuality

13th November 2004


British Association for Romantic Studies
Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, University of York


ROMANTIC TEXTUALITY: 1770-1835


A one-day interdisciplinary postgraduate conference
Saturday 13 November 2004
King's Manor, University of York

Late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century British literary culture was marked by its fascination with the materiality of the text. The works of antiquarian editors, such as Thomas Percy, and forgers, such as Thomas Chatterton and James Macpherson, initiated a sophisticated awareness of the text as a cultural artefact bound in historical conflicts, negotiations and appropriations. Such volumes also generated widespread enthusiasm for literary works that combined poetry or prose with a wide variety of textual forms: lexicographical indexes, marginal glosses, explanatory footnotes, polemical headnotes, pseudo-historical documents, catalogues of antiquities, topographical and architectural drawings, genealogies, histories and bibliographies. At the same time, market competition encouraged authors and publishers to pay more attention to book design, typography and illustration.

In recent years, scholarship in many disciplines has drawn renewed attention to the text as it is realised in the physical form of a book. Romantic-period scholars have furthered our understanding of Romantic textuality and the context(s) it operated within: the diffusion of texts through circulating libraries and in clubs, associations, debating societies, salons, taverns, coffee houses; the increasing fragmentation of the reading public; changes in the nature of authorship; the emergence of the professional critic; authors' revision of successive editions of their work.

In association with the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York , the British Association for Romantic Studies is holding a one-day postgraduate conference on the subject of 'Romantic Textuality'. The papers focus on a number of different authors - such as William Blake, Mary Wollstonecraft, Anna Laetitia Babauld, William Wordsworth, Walter Scott, Anna Eliza Bray, Charlotte Smith, Mary Robinson, Ann Radcliffe - and address a wide range of topics: who read which texts - and why; how texts were bought and sold in the period; how authors and editors modified the material forms of certain texts to ensure they would be read, studied and consumed in certain ways.

If you are interested in attending the conference, or if you have any further enquiries, please e-mail or write to Alex Watson, BARS Postgraduate representative and Conference Co-ordinator at Alex_Watson_8@hotmail.com , or Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies, King's Manor, University of York , York , YO1 7EP .