On This Day: 19th April 1824 – Lord Byron dies in Missolonghi, Greece

Byron died far from home, in Missolonghi, Greece, where he played his role (most often as mediator or financier) in the Greek struggle for independence. He did not die in battle, but rather on a bed of sickness after convulsions, a fever, and a programme of bleeding which, of course, weakened rather than revived him.

Portrait by Thomas Phillips, c. 1813 (c) Newstead Abbey; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Byron died when he was 36 years old after an eventful life, full, almost to the brim, of words. Thousands of letters and thousands of verses. And yet, in the last months of his life, words slowly, almost imperceptibly left him, until, with his death, his living, active, irrepressible, sometimes infuriating, voice fell into silence.

He continued to speak and write, of course, in those months: letters of business and pleasure, memoranda, reflections on ‘the present state of Greece’. However, his journals cease on February 15th (written February 17th), where he reports that

‘I had a strong shock of a Convulsive description but whether Epileptic – Paralytic – or Apoplectic is not yet decided by the two medical men who attend me.’ [1]

The fit puzzled the doctors and Byron, who stressed it was his first experience of such convulsions and that such attacks did not run in the family. He puzzled through a number of possible causes, including overwork and overexertion, but there is also though a curious reticence, even in the relative privacy of his journals, when he suggests that a primary cause may be the fact that he has been ‘violently agitated with more than one passion recently’. [2] A dangling fragment of revelation.

As was so often the case with Byron, his poetry is more forthcoming about matters of the heart than his prose. It reveals more about the passions so ‘violently agitating’ him. But during his last few months, his poetic output was minimal. Pietro Gamba recounts how Byron presented them all with one of his last poems, ‘On this day I complete my thirty-sixth year’, with the words, ‘You were complaining, the other day, that I never write any poetry now.’ [3]

On this Day I Complete my Thirty-Sixth Year

‘Tis time this heart should be unmoved,

       Since others it hath ceased to move:

Yet though I cannot be beloved,

                                    Still let me love!

   My days are in the yellow leaf;

       The flowers and fruits of Love are gone;

The worm—the canker, and the grief

                                    Are mine alone!

   The fire that on my bosom preys

       Is lone as some Volcanic Isle;

No torch is kindled at its blaze

                                    A funeral pile.

   The hope, the fear, the jealous care,

       The exalted portion of the pain

And power of Love I cannot share,

                                    But wear the chain.

   But ’tis not thus—and ’tis not here

       Such thoughts should shake my Soul, nor now,

Where Glory decks the hero’s bier,

                                    Or binds his brow.

   The Sword, the Banner, and the Field,

       Glory and Greece around us see!

The Spartan borne upon his shield

                                    Was not more free.

   Awake (not Greece—she is awake!)

       Awake, my Spirit! Think through whom

Thy life-blood tracks its parent lake

                                    And then strike home!

   Tread those reviving passions down

       Unworthy Manhood—unto thee

Indifferent should the smile or frown

                                    Of beauty be.

   If thou regret’st thy Youth, why live?

       The land of honourable Death

Is here:—up to the Field, and give

                                    Away thy breath!

   Seek out—less often sought than found—

       A Soldier’s Grave, for thee the best;

Then look around, and choose thy Ground,

                                    And take thy rest.

The poem speaks of an unrequited love, silenced in part by the indifference of the recipient, but also because of who the object of Byron’s passion was – his page, Loukas Chalandritsanos. There is a note of bravado in which he throws this poem at his friends, calling forth commendations from more than one that it is some of his finest poetry, which half reveals what some of them, at least, would most like to have hidden. Much of Byron’s final poetry focuses on this desperate unrequited passion, and is an exercise in revelation and obfuscation, of sound and silence; much is hinted and little said, though the meaning of his lines would be hard to ignore for those familiar with the situation. Such techniques – the removal of names and blurring of specificity, the obscuration of object, the desperate act of self-revelation only half-fulfilled – are found in most of his poetry of queer love and grief, like that found in his ‘Thyrza’ poems. These trace his grief at the death of John Edleston, who he had loved at Cambridge, and use changed pronouns and pseudonyms to suggest a female love interest. The poems reveal and conceal in turn. ‘On my thirty-sixth birthday’ also reveals, half in shadows, a Byron more conflicted and divided than he could publicly admit. A Byron who needs to chivvy himself into the right frame of mind because he is preoccupied by an unrequited desire for a much younger man: ‘Awake (not Greece – she is awake!)/Awake my Spirit!’ A Byron who welcomes death before victory.

Byron’s silence grows more literal in the week leading up to his death, as he suffers increasingly from delirium. In a terrible irony, the great wordsmith, whose verse had enchanted (or enraged) so many, found himself unable to communicate. William Fletcher records some of his last words: mentions of his sister, wife, child, and some of his servants and friends, but Byron’s wishes remain unclear. Slipping in and out of consciousness, no-one can understand what he’s saying. Fletcher’s relates the following exchange:

“Now I have told you all which I hope you will attend to – ” I answered my Lord I am very sorry, but I have not understood one word, which I hope you will now tell me over again – My Lord – in great agitation said, “then if you have not understood me it is now too late.” [4]

Joseph Denis OdevaereLord Byron on his Death-bed (1826)

‘If you have not understood me it is now too late’ offers a broader summary of Byron’s life and end. A man of contradictions, whose words are slippery, whose changing self is revealed in letters and verses which sometimes illuminate and sometimes contradict each other. Conflicted, divided, complex, self-contradictory, elusive. We’ve been arguing about him for centuries. And he remains resolutely uncommunicative. That is, of course, unless you believe Henry Horn’s claims in Strange Visitors (1869) to have contacted Byron through a medium, an encounter through which he gifted us some truly execrable poetry about how he definitely, absolutely didn’t, couldn’t, wouldn’t sleep with his sister.

Byron’s final slip into silence comes after his death. An active silence. An aggressive one. It is not a partial self-concealment or a failure of words. It is a silence that declares itself not only as an absence but as an intrusive presence. A tantalising absence that can promise anything to our imaginations, more, probably, than it could ever have offered. 

His friends, his sister and publisher decide to burn his memoirs. And Byron’s voice dwindles into silence. It has nothing left to say.

We are left with millions of words. Byron’s voice continues to enchant and enrage. It continues to control the narratives of so many of those who lived around him, known to most only through their relation to him. It continues to speak to us across years and miles. 

But it’s just echoes. 

19th April 1824, Byron died and his living, loving, hating, weeping, mocking, roistering, mourning, engaging, seductive, repulsive, provocative, cynical, reactive, evocative, astute, naïve, engaged and engaging voice fell into silence for the last time.

Sam Hirst

Dr Sam Hirst is a post-doctoral Knowledge Exchange Fellow at the University of Nottingham working with Newstead Abbey on the bicentenary of Byron’s death. Their monograph Theology in the Early British and Irish Gothic, 1764 – 1834 was published in 2023 by Anthem Press.

—————————————————————————————————————————-

[1] Byron’s journal, February 15th 2024, collected by Pete Cochran https://petercochran.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/16-greece-1823-18248.pdf

[2] Byron’s journal, February 15th 2024, collected by Pete Cochran https://petercochran.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/16-greece-1823-18248.pdf

[3] Pietro Gamba, A Narrative of Lord Byron’s Last Journey to Greece, first published in Morning Chronicle, October 29, 1824

[4]  William Fletcher to Augusta Leigh, 212 from Missolonghi, April 20th 1824

Call for Volunteer Moderators: BARS PGR/ECR Discord Community

The British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) would like to invite expressions of interest from those interested in becoming a Volunteer Moderator for the BARS PGR/ECR Discord Community which will be launching soon.  

We are looking for postgraduate or early career researchers, working in or interested in Romanticism and who have experience of using Discord previously, to assist in the moderation of our new BARS PGR/ECR Discord Community. BARS endeavours to support PGR and ECRs as much as possible. We hope that this new community will present an opportunity for fostering peer networks and become a place to ask and answer questions, share ideas, and perhaps even organise social events. We think it would be a great idea to form connections ahead of the BARS ‘Romantic Making and Unmaking’ 2024 Conference taking place this summer in Glasgow and online (and we encourage PGR and ECR attendees to join the BARS Discord Community).

Responsibilities as a Volunteer Moderator will include:

  • Monitor user content to ensure it does not break the BARS Discord server rules;
  • Liaise with members of BARS Executive and Volunteer Moderators;
  • Respond to inquiries from BARS Discord server users;
  • Assist users to access and use the BARS Discord server;
  • Report and deal with complaints from BARS Discord server users;
  • Contribute to the development of the BARS Discord server.

The successful applicants will work closely with members of the BARS Executive, and other PGR/ECR Discord Community Volunteer Moderators.

You will have the chance to contribute directly to the BARS postgraduate community and to develop valuable skills in the field of scholarly communications (communication, group moderation, teamwork, problem solving), which will be useful in academic and non-academic roles alike.

Essential requirements:

  • Postgraduate student or early career researcher
  • Interest in Romanticism.
  • Previous experience of using Discord, either as a member of a community or as a moderator.

To apply: Please send 250 words maximum explaining why you are best placed to undertake the duties above to britishassociationromantic@gmail.com by 17 May 2024. Informal enquiries can be directed to Amy Wilcockson at amy.wilcockson@glasgow.ac.uk

Many thanks to Will Sherwood, PGR at the University of Glasgow, for the idea of a Discord Community.

‘The Aziola’s Cry’: Interview with Author Dr. Ezra Harker Shaw

About The Aziola’s Cry

Love, tragedy, and the pursuit of literary greatness intertwine in a tumultuous journey that defies societal norms and tests the resilience of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and Percy Bysshe Shelley.

In the year 1814, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, a gifted teenager born into a family of literary brilliance, falls deeply in love with the youthful rebel, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Defying societal conventions, they embark on a daring escapade, accompanied by Mary’s step-sister Claire, leaving behind their respective families and Percy’s wife and children. However, their journey proves to be far from an idyllic romance, for it is fraught with tumultuous challenges.

In their quest for freedom and expression, Mary and Percy immerse themselves in experimental notions of free love and join forces with the enigmatic and infamous Lord Byron. Amidst these thrilling encounters and adventures, the young lovers are confronted by heart-wrenching tragedies that test their resilience and resolve.

Driven to elude the strict laws of England, which threaten to separate them from their own children, Mary and Shelley embark on a nomadic existence, wandering through the captivating landscapes of Italy while constantly evading their haunting past. As their circumstances become increasingly dire, their shared passion for writing emerges as the sole lifeline that binds them together. Through their literary endeavors, they become each other’s guiding force, ultimately crafting timeless masterpieces that will etch their names into the annals of literary history.

Interview with Dr. Ezra Harker Shaw

1) Were there any texts you took particular inspiration from when writing about Mary and Percy Shelley? 

The genre of biographical fiction with writers as subjects provides an exciting opportunity for an author to engage with an earlier author, not merely to tell the facts of their life, but to present the creator as subject, to show the world through the lens of someone we already know from their own writings. 

I have so many biographical fictions I owe inspiration to, but two that absolutely stand our are Thomas Mann’s novel Lotte in Weimar about Goethe that plunges us into an impression of what the great master’s mind might have been like, and Kate Moses’ novel Wintering about Sylvia Plath that is rich with Plathian imagery. Throughout The Aziola’s Cry I have used the Shelleys’ vocabulary and frame of reference, seeking a voice that is part them, as well as part me.

Another things that was important to me was to show some element of the writing process, to show how the works are constant companions to their authors. Colm Toibin’s The Master and The Magician are excellent representations of craftsmen at their task. 

I wrote an article about this as part of my PhD called ‘The Author As Character.’

2) How long were you working on The Aziola’s Cry for? What was your writing process? How did your role as a performance poet influence your writing process? 

Although the idea was there for a long time, I think it was six years of serious work on the novel. 

My first draft was an outpouring of all my thoughts and ideas, and I’m sure it was very, very messy! I’d be researching both the Shelleys so long I had their lives fairly engraved in my mind. At that point I wasn’t entirely clear of the tense or how I would manage the perspectives. I think I needed to get a version of the story out first, and then I could see what I was trying to do, and from there make descisions about how to tell it. 

From there it was a matter of sculpting, shaping the work draft-by-draft. That’s probably not the most efficient way to write a novel, but it was the way that felt most natural way to me. And everytime I was writing, I’d have the Shelleys works beside me, guiding me. 

I continually went back to their diaries and letters to check I was sticking to the facts, following their moods, and not missing anything significant. 

I found the contributions of others incredibly important; I had regular feedback from my PhD supervisor as well as two writing groups. Collaboration felt a vital part of the process to me. As I shared work with others I’d hear their understanding of what I’d written, which was so useful to help me know if what I’d intended had come across. It also helped me to understand what was important to me: several of my beta readers advised against the inclusion of poetry, and that ended up being something I fought for; on one hand I wanted to reflect the writing of both Shelleys, so it made sense to have prose as well as poetry, and on the other hand I felt there was something internal and essential easier to express in poetry. 

As a performance poet I’m especially aware of sound in both poetry and prose — something I think I share with many of the Romantics, who were after all in regular habit of reading poetry aloud. I know when I’m writing in a certain rhythm is crawls off the page and follows me through my days. I wanted to show the Shelleys rhythms and vocabulary permeating their thoughts. 

3) The story of Mary and Percy Shelley has been told, studied, and adapted many times over. What would you say is new or different about the way you tell their story?

I felt compelled to write this story precisely because I couldn’t find the book I wanted to read. 

The elements integral to The Aziola’s Cry that I felt were missing elsewhere are a sense of the lyricism of their works in adaptations, and the view of the Shelleys as partners in writing. 

Outside of Shelley scholarship I’ve found knowledge of the Shelleys tends to extremes…  ‘Frankenstein was actually written by Percy Shelley;’ ‘He was a genius, she’s just a genre writer;’ ‘Mary Shelley was brilliant, but her husband was incredibly cruel to her, forced her to sleep with other men, and then pushed her to change her works.’ 

There is too often an absence of the Shelleys as collaborators, which was where I started my doctorate. Since I began my book Anna Mercer’s The Collaborative Relationship of Mary and Percy Shelley has come out, and I think in academic circles there’s a better view of the Shelleys as partners in their craft, but that hasn’t reached the wider reading audience. 

One other element that has emerged in my writing is the insight gained from our modern understanding of mental health. I wanted to look at the background of his changeable extremes, and her depression, and to show the struggles of these.

Ultimately, I wanted to give the readers a sense of two brilliant people, both of whom were at times difficult to live with for different reasons, and I wanted to infuse the novel with their works in a way that would encourage readers to return to, or visit for the first time, both Shelleys’ works. 

4) What are your favourite texts by Byron? How did you incorporate them into The Aziola’s Cry? 

I have so many favourite Byron poems! Darkness and The Prisoner of Chillon are the ones I come back to most often, and Don Juan is wonderful. Byron is such a complex character, but so full of charisma and power he was a lot of fun to write. 

His relationship with Percy Shelley is so famous and impressive, but I was especially interested to draw out his relationship with Mary Shelley: I don’t believe it was ever sexual, and they seemed to have a mutual respect and a similar pessimistic outlook on life that was very different to Percy Shelley’s idealism. In her times of loss she did copying work for him, and I found that a fascinating little detail to their dynamic. I think there was support there. But a lot of people had Byron’s ear, and he was deeply suspicious and easily led, and sometimes incredibly cruel and short-sighted. 

Because I’m writing from the perspectives of only the Shelleys, the Byron I present is the one they see, and his works occur as the Shelleys read and think about them. 

5) You mentioned that you dropped out of high school at fifteen. What inspired you to pursue further education? What guidance can you give to  aspiring young adults looking to pursue a career in academia? 

I really fell into academia by accident. I applied to university after several years out of education not really sure if I would fit in, and within a few terms had the most amazing feeling of finding my vocation. 

I remember the energy and enthusiasm of my first semester, devouring reading lists, talking to lecturers, getting guidance for areas of further study. Seeking understanding in an intellectual community was something I’d never encountered before and it was an incredible thing to discover. 

The joy of that experience makes me especially sad to note the very difficult situation of the arts in education today. I absolutely love teaching at university level and have always had an amazing connection with my students — I enjoy research, and am pleased with the work I produce; however, as vital as the work is, with current budget pressures I see so much of a toxic culture within the management structures that leads to a high-stress environment for academics. I have seen a shocking number of really brilliant colleagues go through serious mental health crises specifically due to their working environment. Besides which, entrance level is often low-paying, and I have so many friends doing unpaid work to build up their CVs to improve their chances of getting a permanent position, but only those with financial support elsewhere can afford to do that.

In terms of guidance, I suppose I would say — if you have the passion, pursue it. Don’t follow only one path, but be open to new and different ways of stu

6) Are you working on any new projects at the moment? If so, would you be able to give us any information on them? 

I’m currently working on Mary After Shelley, a direct follow-up to The Aziola’s Cry; it follows Mary as a young single mother and professional writer. There’s so much of her later life that isn’t widely known, and much that’s of interest to queer communities today. As a queer writer I’m often presented with the notion that things like trans identities are a ‘fad,’ so I’m really excited to tell queer histories, like that of Mary’s friend Walter Sholto Douglas (someone we would today consider a transman), to explore that intriguing relationship Mary had with Jane Williams, and to track Mary’s persistent support of queer people. 

I can’t wait to share this book with readers!  

Born in Scotland and now living in London, Dr. Ezra Harker Shaw is a non-binary writer who loves all things Gothic. While earning their PhD, Harker Shaw explored the collaborative writing of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley, a project that led them to write The Aziola’s Cry. A celebrated performance poet, Harker Shaw regularly hosts poetry nights in London and was nominated for the Outspoken Prize for Poetry. Harker Shaw has also showcased their talent as a playwright with works such as Tolstoy Tried to Kill My Partner and The Grouchy Octopus Story, both of which were performed in London by the esteemed Pajoda Theatre Co. Possessing a profound passion for teaching, Harker Shaw often conducts university lectures and workshops with aspiring young writers. 

Georgic Gothic: EcoGothic, Antipastoral and Global Horror

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Essay collection proposed for International Gothic Series, Manchester University Press.

In their most recent overview of ecoGothic research, William Hughes and Andrew Smith note the prevalence of  ‘intersecting and fruitful links between animals, plants, and food’ and that ‘Gothic engagements with food have become a significant area of investigation’ in recent studies. Agriculture is also filled with risk, personal and existential. Tales of horror arise from fear of nonhuman nature overpowering the human. These fears collide at the agricultural interface – the field, the wood, the cow. 

EcoGothic can provide ways of questioning assumptions about human actions and lifestyles, even when they appear positive, and this interrogation can help to change the relationships between human, nonhuman, or more than human Others. Climate breakdown increases pressure on farmers, especially those striving for some alleviation through agriculture itself. 

Environmental studies have recently come to revisit the georgic mode, by which agriculture and its labour can be depicted. In Virgil’s long poem, the Georgics, there is an insistent recognition that farm labour is ‘relentless’, often with meagre reward, and that both practice and politics of land ownership can be dangerous. However, Virgil also detailed the intimate, reciprocal relationship with nonhuman, and how hope was an ever present impulse to further endeavour. Novels, paintings and now films and digital media add to earlier poetic genres, offering new perspectives on ancient combinations of hope and misery. Unease permeates agricultural writing: farming hurts – there are well known examples such as Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles (1891) – hard labour alongside brutal machinery. 

EcoGothic offers a way of way of examining the balance between hope and experience, Virgil’s ‘Fate’, ally and enemy in one. ‘Staying with the trouble’, as Donna Haraway has explored, can be a way of working through disaster. At the beginning of her text, Haraway includes the georgic impulse to recreate through the earth: ‘we require each other in unexpected collaborations and combinations, in hot compost piles’. Compost – decay – renews the earth.

This essay collection seeks contributions that investigate the connections between gothic and georgic which are not limited to the downsides of darkness, but explore how the mysterious, uncanny and disruptive provoke responses in their ability to influence minds and behaviours in order to improve multispecies engagement. Contributors can source material from any nation or period: fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry, film and digital. Of particular interest is farming beyond the UK, for example in Ireland and Australia, Africa and Asia, places that nourish their own ecoGothic elements.

Please direct enquiries and send abstracts as Word docs (400 words plus short bio) to Sue Edney (sue.edney@bristol.ac.uk) by 31st May 2024. If accepted, you will be invited to submit a draft chapter of up to 7000 words by 6th December 2024.         

Themes can include and are not limited to:

  • Extreme weather – drought and flood
  • Encroaching vegetation – ‘invasive species’
  • Animal diseases and mutations affecting human interaction
  • Spirit presences on farms, witchcraft, good and bad
  • ‘Unnatural’ behaviours of animals and crops
  • Psychological disturbance of farmers 
  • Disturbance through innovation – GM crops
  • Machinery and danger
  • Animals and danger
  • Killer bees and other invertebrates
  • Fungi and the uncanny
  • Chemical poison and aerial pollution
  • Industrial farming
  • Folk horror – ‘The Wicker Man’ and rurality
  • Film, gothic-georgic examples: Lamb (2021, dir. Valdimar Jóhannsson), The Levelling (2016, dir. Hope Dickson Leach), First Cow (2019, dir. Kelly Reichardt)

Conference: Transcultural Women

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We are pleased to announce the « Transcultural Women » international day conference on 4 April 2024, in Nancy. Organized by Antonella Braida and Céline Sabiron of the IDEA research centre, in collaboration with Gillian Dow (Southampton, England) and Diego Saglia (Parma, Italy), this event is a key part of the “Transcultural Women: The UK and France, Italy, Germany in 1826” research project.

The conference aims to explore the Romantic period—a pivotal moment in the history of literature and translation—, highlighted by the increased involvement of women in publishing and translating works from Italian and French to English. These multilingual women, British by birth or from exile communities across France, Germany, and Italy due to the French Revolution and Napoleonic era, played a crucial role in bridging languages and cultures. Our aim is to shed light on how these women (writers, translators, critics, editors, salonnières, etc.) navigated a male-dominated editorial landscape to become prominent figures in the literary world, fostering connections between their native and adoptive countries.

This conference is brought to you in partnership with Romantic studies societies SERA (France), GER (Germany), CIRS (Italy), and BARS (UK). We kindly ask for your help in promoting this event within your networks, to colleagues, and doctoral students.

Details on the program and a TEAMS link for online attendance are available on the IDEA website:

You may also attend the conference online through TEAMS

For those interested in attending in person, please reach out to organizers Antonella Braida and Céline Sabiron. 

We look forward to your participation, whether in person or online.

Best wishes

Antonella and Céline 

Call for Chapters – Romantic Trees: The Literary Arboretum, 1740-1840

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Edited by Anna Burton and Amanda Blake Davis (University of Derby)

Collection Prospectus:

Romantic Trees: The Literary Arboretum, 1740-1840 will explore literary responses to a range of individual trees and tree species and the network of international contexts within which they were viewed. The Romantic-period focus of this edited collection will culminate in 1840 with the opening of the first public arboretum, Derby Arboretum. The arboretum, though a man-made space that groups trees formally, is also an environment in which more can be understood about the biodiversity and individuality of all trees on an interconnected, global scale. Grounded in the literature of the Romantic period, this project proposes that the ‘arboretum’, a term coined by John Claudius Loudon in 1838, is implicit within Romantic writers’ interest in specific trees. Rather than concentrating on an author-specific and/or particular thematic approach, our ‘arboretum’ will form a collection of essays, each one focusing on the significance and cultural history of a particular tree species, during this period.

Whilst the Romantic ideation of ‘Nature’ is a heavily traversed, broad-ranging topic, the arboreal lens of The Literary Arboretum will offer a new way of thinking about Romanticism and nature specifically through literary responses to trees in literature of the Romantic period (c.1740-1840). This collection will build upon existing studies that explore the significance of particular tree specimens for notable Romantic writers; see, for example, Tim Fulford’s study of William Wordsworth’s ‘Yew-trees’ (1995), Fiona Stafford’s analysis of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s ‘Only Tree’, the Birch (2021), Frederike Middelhoff’s study of ‘Romantic poplar writing’ (2022), and Peter Dale and Brandon C. Yen’s attention to Wordsworth’s trees (2022). In response to landmark works on arboreal ecology by Suzanne Simard and Peter Wohlleben (2021, 2016), much of the current scholarship in the newly burgeoning field of the arboreal humanities values the community and interconnectedness of trees. This collection will foster such a perspective in the field of Romantic Studies by thinking about arboreal biodiversity and individuality in the Romantic imagination through the ‘literary arboretum’.

Details and timeline of the call:

We invite chapters on individual tree species that are non-native to the British Isles, and we also invite conceptual chapters that address Romantic trees beyond a single identifiable species. We are keen to include chapters by BIPOC authors; postgraduate and early researchers; and chapters that address Global Romantic texts and themes. We welcome interested authors to get in touch with any questions.

As a first step, we welcome abstracts of 200 words. We will be pleased to receive your abstracts by 29 April 2024. Shortly thereafter, we will be able to let you know, based on the abstract, whether your essay has been selected for inclusion. First drafts of complete essays of 6000-7000 words, including notes and references, will be due 27th January 2025. 

Abstracts should be emailed to the editors: Anna Burton (a.burton@derby.ac.uk) and Amanda Blake Davis (a.davis2@derby.ac.uk). 

CFP: Burney Society UK Conference 2024

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When? 13-15 June 2024 Where? Queen Anne Building, Old Royal Naval College, University of Greenwich, Historic Greenwich, London Theme? ‘Exploring Burneys’

The call for papers is now open for this year’s Burney conference. The proposal deadline is 31 March 2024. We are offering two prizes for papers presented at the conference, each worth £100: a President’s Prize for students (including post docs) and a Conference Prize for which all speakers are eligible. The theme of the conference is deliberately designed to be open and encompass a variety of approaches, from exploration and travel by members of the Burney family and their circle, to explorations of their lives and friends, literature, music, art, cultural milieu and significance. The full registration fee, including daytime catering, is £140, with a 50% reduction available for students and the precariously employed.

Please email any queries and all forms to Trudie Messent via ukburneysociety@gmail.com

Details and proposal and registration forms are available at https://burneysociety.uk/conferences

CFP: HistoryLab+ Conference 2024

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Where? Wilberforce Institute for the Study of Slavery and Emancipation at the University of Hull and online
When? 25-26 July 2024
Free to attend? Yes!

CFP deadline? 23:59 on 15 May 2024

We welcome paper proposals that engage with one or more of these images on the theme of human, animal, and environmental exploitation and its legacies.

A collage of images of different people

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We are, as ever, particularly interested in receiving proposals from early-career historians that

· apply atypical methods and/or technologies;

· result from collaboration between job sectors or countries;

· are interdisciplinary;

· have attracted new audiences.

Please send either an individual proposal or a proposal for a panel or roundtable to conference.historylabplus@gmail.com by 23:59 on 15 May 2024.

Individual proposals should contain: an abstract (250 words), a short biography (100 words), and, in order of preference, how you are able to present your research (in a 20-minute paper, 10-minute paper, 5-minute lightning talk, or a poster).

Panel or roundtable proposals should contain: a description of the panel or roundtable theme and format (250-words) and, for each speaker, an individual abstract (250 words) and a short biography (100 words).

For either proposal type, please also indicate whether and why you would like to be considered for a conference bursary to defray your travel and accommodation expenses, should funding become available.

If you have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at the same email address: conference.historylabplus@gmail.com.

Keep a weather eye on our conference webpages and Twitter/X posts for further updates!

Event: Life After the PhD

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Where? Wolfson NB01, Institute of Historical Research, London and online
When? 13 April 2024 (Saturday), 11:00-16:00
Free to attend? Yes! Register here now to secure your spot!

HistoryLab+ and HistoryLab are pleased to invite you to ‘Life after the PhD’ at the Institute of Historical Research on Saturday 13 April.

The event will spotlight personal experiences – the joys and challenges – of postdoc life, the diversity of pathways available, and ways to understand the UK’s Higher-Education landscape, for PhD students looking forward and early-career historians finding their way post-viva.

Programme 

11:00-11:20: Registration

11:20-11:30: Opening remarks

11:30-13:00: Session 1 | Post-PhD Pathways 

Short talks by recent PhD graduates in History or related disciplines who have had a range of experiences within and beyond the university. Followed by a Q&A and discussion.

Speakers:

Dr Beth Kitson, Research and Policy Analyst, Pro Bono Economics

Dr Kathy Davies, JustHeat Postdoctoral Researcher, Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University

Dr Joe Stanley, Senior Education Outreach Officer, University of Leeds

Dr Melissa L. Gustin, Curator of British Art at National Museums Liverpool

13:00-14:15: Lunch

14:15-15:45: Session 2 | Higher Education Today: The Debate 

Discipline-leading historians will debate the realities of working in higher-education, the present state of the higher-education sector, and what both do or might mean for early-career historians. Followed by a Q&A and discussion.

Speakers: 

Prof. Margot Finn, Professor of Modern British History, University College London

Prof. Matthew Hilton, Professor of Social History, Queen Mary, University of London

Prof. Rohan McWilliam, Professor of Modern British History, Anglia Ruskin University

Chaired by Prof. Claire Langhamer, Director of the Institute of Historical Research

15:45-17:00: Closing remarks

You can download the full programme, which includes details about our fantastic speakers, here.
Register using this form today!