New BARS Communications Assistant

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We’re delighted to welcome our new BARS Communications Assistant, Dr Jack Orchard!

Jack Orchard is the Communications Assistant on the BARS Blog. He is a Post-Doctoral Researcher with the Elizabeth Montagu’s Correspondence Online project at Swansea University, and his research focuses on late eighteenth-century reading practices, literary criticism and women’s correspondence, as well as the parallels between eighteenth-century reading practices and contemporary media engagement.

As BARS Communications Assistant he will be responsible for maintaining the BARS Blog alongside Dr Anna Mercer and Dr Emily Paterson-Morgan.

The ‘Archive Spotlight’ blog will continue to focus on showcasing and exploring physical archives and archival research, but will also now address digital projects as well. ‘On This Day’ will continue to explore the anniversaries of significant, interesting, or amusing, events from the Romantic era, and the new ‘Romanticism Now’ series will focus on Romanticism in pop culture; Historical Fictions, Period Films and TV Drama, Video Games and more.

He will also be assisting with circulating news about Calls for Papers and other events in the Romantic Studies community, if you’d like to be a contributor to any of these Blog series’ or have an event you’d like to circulate, please get in touch

Thank you to everyone who showed an interest in this post, and we hope to renew the post in future years, so keep up to date by following BARS on Twitter @BARS_Official. You can also become a member of BARS to be added to our Mailing List.

BARS is committed to supporting early-career and postgraduate researchers. Check out our funding opportunities here.

BARS Digital Events ‘Re-envisioning Romantic Publishing’ Recording Now Online

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This roundtable addressed trends in Romantic and Romantic-period studies journal publishing, and helped to demystify the practices of journal publishing.

Ideal for graduate students and early career researchers. Enjoy the recording now!

Our speakers were Jonathan Mulrooney (College of the Holy Cross), Emma Hills (University of Southampton), Charles Mahoney (University of Connecticut), Lucy Morrison (University of Nebraska), Jennifer Reed (Boston University), Alexander Regier (Rice University), Matthew Sangster (University of Glasgow), and Alan Vardy (Hunter College, CUNY).

NEXT EVENT 29 July: ‘Seeing Through Whiteness’, tickets here.

19th Hazlitt Day School and Annual Hazlitt Lecture

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Saturday 18th September 2021
University College London

The 2021 Hazlitt Society lecture and the 19th Hazlitt Day School, organized by Gregory Dart, Uttara Natarajan, Philipp Hunnekuhl and James Whitehead, will be held at University College London on Saturday 18th September 2021.

The annual lecture, entitled ‘Hazlitt and Prejudice’, will be given by Dr. Freya Johnston (University Lecturer and Tutorial Fellow in English at St. Anne’s College, University of Oxford) at 4pm in the Gustave Tuck Theatre, UCL.

The day school precedes the annual lecture from 10am – 4pm.

Regrettably, because of the need to determine numbers, this year the annual lecture can only be attended by those registered for the day school.

19th Hazlitt Day School: Programme
Committee and Council Rooms, Wilkins Court, UCL

Morning Session

9.30am-10am – Arrival and registration, tea and coffee
10am-11am – Editing Hazlitt (James Grande and Jon Mee in conversation with Gregory Dart)
11am-11.15am – Coffee
11.15am-12.45pm – ‘Romantic interaction in London: Hazlitt, Keats and the Shelleys’ (Anna Mercer); ‘‘I will yield to none in admiration for Hazlitt’: R. L. Stevenson and the Abandoned Biography of Hazlitt’ (Robert-Louis Abrahamson)
12.45-1.45pm – Lunch

Afternoon Session

1.45pm-3.15pm – ‘Habits of Thought in the Familiar Essays’ (Hannah Tran); ‘On Whether William Hazlitt was a Philosophical Idealist (and Why it Matters)’ (James R. M. Wakefield)
3.15-3.45pm – Coffee
4-5.30pm – The Annual Hazlitt Lecture: ‘Hazlitt and Prejudice’ (Freya Johnston)
5.30pm – Drinks at the Marlborough Arms, Torrington Place

NB We are hoping that the event can take place with attendance in person, but if the circumstances do not permit this, it will move to an online platform. The lecture will be recorded and made available online afterwards in any case.

In order to register for the day school and annual lecture, please email Places may be limited, especially this year, so please do make sure to register in advance to avoid disappointment.

The organizers hope to welcome back regular attendees and new participants alike.

The registration fee for the day school is £20, or £15 concession for the retired and students. This includes morning coffee, lunch, and afternoon tea. Please send a cheque, payable to ‘University College London’, to: Hazlitt Society, c/o Dr James Whitehead, Liverpool John Moores University, John Foster Building, 80–98 Mt Pleasant, Liverpool, L3 5UZ

The Davy Notebooks Project has launched!

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A public-facing project set to uncover previously unpublished material from the early nineteenth century’s ‘foremost man of science’ has launched online.

Sir Humphry Davy (1778-1829) discovered more chemical elements than any individual has before or since. His achievements saw him rise up through society’s ranks from relatively modest origins to become, just over 200 years ago, the President of the Royal Society.

In 1815, he invented a miners’ safety lamp that came to be known as the Davy Lamp, saving countless lives in Britain and Europe, and vastly improving the nation’s industrial capability.

The £1 million project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and led by Lancaster University with the University of Manchester and UCL, will use the people-powered research platform Zooniverse to bring to light Davy’s notebooks – the documents he used to work out scientific ideas alongside lines of poetry, philosophical musings, geological drawings, and accounts of his life.

Davy kept notebooks throughout his life, but most of the pages of these notebooks have never been transcribed before. Most entries have yet to be dated or considered in the light of what they tell us about Davy, his scientific discoveries, and the relationship between poetry and science.

In 2019, AHRC funding enabled Professor Sharon Ruston and Dr Andrew Lacey, both of the Department of English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University, to crowdsource transcriptions of five of Davy’s notebooks, dating from between 1795 and 1805, using Zooniverse.

Following on from this successful pilot project, during which more than 500 participants from around the world transcribed 626 notebook pages in under 20 days, the project team will now crowdsource transcriptions of Davy’s entire 75-strong notebook collection.

Some 70 notebooks are held at the Royal Institution of Great Britain in London and 5 are held in Kresen Kernow in Redruth, Cornwall.

Crowdsourcing is now underway. It’s free to take part, and you can transcribe as much or as little as you like. The edited transcriptions will later be published online, alongside images of the notebooks, on a free-to-access website, as part of Lancaster Digital Collections.

Online and in-person discussions with participants will enable the project team to find out how transcribing Davy’s notebooks changes their views of how poetry and science could co-exist today.

To take part in transcribing Davy’s notebooks, sign up at Zooniverse.

CfP: BSECS 51st Annual Conference “Indifference and Engagement”

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2022 Call for Papers: This call will open  08:00 BST on 1st July 2021 and will close at 23:59 (GMT) 1st November 2021.

Event dates: 5th-7th January 2022

As you will no doubt be aware, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to force a re-evaluation of in-person events around the world. As a conference team we have also had to weigh up our options and decide upon an appropriate course of action for the organisation, balancing the value of an in-person conference with its risks. Ultimately, we have decided that it would not be right to commit to organising an in-person conference in January 2022, and we have therefore decided that BSECS 2022 will be a virtual event. This was no easy decision to make, but we felt that conditions were still too uncertain at the present time to make any other option feasible with our present resources.

Further details about the event will be made in the autumn, but the format will be similar to the 2021 conference: 2 synchronous days and 1 asynchronous to catch up on talks and workshops.

Call for Papers

The vitriolic sign-off that Voltaire increasingly used in his letters from 1759 onwards as part of his attack on abuses of power, “écrasez l’infâme”, or crush the infamous muck, grind it underfoot, seems as indelibly associated with the century we now call the Enlightenment as Rousseau’s counsel to withdraw from society altogether. In this century of campaign, reform, and revolution, how do we understand the rejection of the “esprit de parti” or partisanship?

What happens to notions of civility and concord in an emerging public sphere? How do the notions of indifference or engagement connect to questions of morality? Do they at all? Do these terms even exist in these forms? Do campaigning and reform particularly characterise eighteenth-century society, and if so, in which countries or connected to what activities? How are campaigns mounted, in aid of what, by whom, and who do they seek to persuade? Who refuses to take a position, and how do they justify their refusal? How could and why would a writer like Sade have his most truly sadistic libertines develop a theory of non-feeling or apathy? What is the role of sensibility in all this?

While proposals on all and any eighteenth-century topics are very welcome, this year our plenary speakers at the conference will accordingly be addressing the topic of ‘Indifference and Engagement’, and proposals are also invited which address any aspect of this theme.

The annual meeting of the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies is Europe’s largest and most prestigious annual conference dealing with all aspects of the history, culture and literature of the long eighteenth century. We invite proposals for papers and sessions dealing with any aspect of the long eighteenth century, not only in Britain, but also throughout Europe, North America, and the wider world.

Proposals are invited for fully comprised panels of three papers, for roundtable sessions of up to five speakers, for individual papers of twenty minutes duration, and for ‘alternative format’ sessions of your devising.

Please note, to attend the online conference, you must be a member of BSECS or another national Eighteenth-Century Studies Association. For more information on how to join please visit our ‘Join’ page.

Enquiries: All enquiries regarding the academic programme of the conference should be addressed to Dr Brianna Robertson-Kirkland via the BSECS email address

More information is available here.

Call for papers from the Women’s Studies Group: 1558-1837

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The Women’s Studies Group 1558-1837 is a small, informal, multidisciplinary group formed to promote women’s studies in the early modern period and the long eighteenth century. Established in the 1980s, the group has enabled those interested in women’s and gender studies to keep in touch, hear about one another’s research, meetings and publications, and meet regularly to discuss relevant topics. We organise regular meetings and an annual workshop (see membership application form) where members can meet and discuss women’s studies topics. We can also offer advice and opportunities to engage in activities that increase opportunities for publication, or enhance professional profiles in other ways. The WSG is open to men, women, and non-binary people, students, faculty, and independent scholars, all of whom are invited to join the group and give papers.

The group meets on Zoom at present, but it is hoped that we will be able to resume in-person meetings at the Foundling Museum, 40 Brunswick Square, WC1N 1AZ, for the last two meetings of this series. We will be allowed into the room at 12.30 pm., to give us time to sort out paperwork and technology, but sessions will run from 1.00 – 3.30 pm. So please arrive a little early, whether virtually or in person, if you can. Topics can be related to any aspect of women’s studies: not only women writers, but any activity of a woman or women in the period of our concern, or anything that affects or is affected by women in this period, such as the law, religion, etc. Male writers writing about women or male historical figures relevant to the condition of women in this period are also a potential topic. Papers tackling aspects of women’s studies within or alongside the wider histories of gender and sexuality are particularly welcome; so are topics from the early part of our period. We would also welcome how-to presentations for discussion: examples of suitable topics would include, but are not limited to, grant applications, setting up research networks, becoming a curator, co-authorship, using specialised data, and writing about images. Papers should be 20-25 minutes.

Dates of meetings:

Saturday September 25, 2021 (British Summer Time) – Zoom Saturday November 27, 2021 (Greenwich Mean Time) – Zoom Saturday January 29, 2022 (Greenwich Mean Time) – possibly in-person at The Foundling Saturday March 26, 2022 (Greenwich Mean Time) – possibly in-person at The Foundling

Find our more about us here.

Job Alert: Lecturer in Global Long 19th century

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University of East Anglia – School Of Literature, Drama And Creative Writing

Faculty Of Arts And Humanities                                      

The School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing is seeking to appoint a permanent full-time lectureship within the field of the literature of British Writing of the Long Nineteenth Century and its global contexts (1789-1901).

You will work within the field of British writing of the Long Nineteenth Century contributing to, and complementing and enhancing, our established research and teaching profile in this period. Teaching responsibilities will include core modules in Romantic and Victorian writing, as well as contributing to the teaching of eighteenth-century writing. Candidates are sought with interests in any area and aspect of British writing of the literature of the Long Nineteenth Century and its global contexts, but those with interests in the pre-1850 period, and in colonial, imperial, and postcolonial approaches are especially encouraged to apply.

You will take an active role in working with colleagues involved in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Research Group and contribute to ongoing plans to develop an interdisciplinary MA provision in this field.

You should have a PhD in a relevant subject area, ambitious research, and publication plans, as well as teaching experience at HE level.

This post is available from 1 September 2021 on a full-time indefinite basis. 

We strongly encourage applicants from Black, Asian or other minority ethnic backgrounds and welcome applications from all protected groups as defined by the Equality Act 2010. Appointment will be made on merit.

Closing date: 21 July 2021.

More details available here.

Five Questions: Bysshe Coffey on Shelley’s Broken World

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Bysshe Coffey is a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow at Newcastle University. He is an expert on Percy Bysshe Shelley, having published extensively on his philosophy, prosody, and cultural contexts; his current project considers Shelley’s diverse legacies in the period between the death of Mary Shelley and the centenary of his drowning. His first monograph, Shelley’s Broken World: Fractured Materiality and Intermitted Song, which we discuss below, has just been published by Liverpool University Press.

1) How did you come to realise you wanted to write a book on Shelley’s pauses and intermittences?

The book’s germ lay in my awareness of a peculiarity of Shelley’s expressive repertoire first noticed by his Victorian readers and editors: his innovatory use of pauses, which registered as irregularities in ears untuned to his innovations. It developed into a realisation that intermittence is a pervasive quality not only of his prosody, but of the incidents his verse describes. Intermittent states of being, vacancies, suspensions, strange immaterial formulations, tenuous and porous networks lace throughout his poetry. He is interested in the powerful interval between the course one was on and where one has ended up, and in the intervals of action, feeling, and thinking. Pausing shapes his view of living.

With the book, I wanted to show the ways in which Shelley’s verse, with its repertoire of pauses and intermittences, is philosophically and scientifically astute. Beautiful, assuredly, the verse is also intellectually profound, polymathic in its ambition. For instance, Shelley had an abiding interest in the intersection of manifest and non-manifest material phenomena. As Shelley wrote to Thomas Love Peacock: ‘You know I always seek in what I see the manifestation of something beyond the present & tangible object’. By non-manifest phenomena, I mean formulations posited as material entities that cannot be perceived immediately through our senses, such as the sensorium, Newtonian vis inertiae, the atom, and so on. But Shelley did not intend to resolve the divide between the material and immaterial world of the soul in his poetry (a quite impossible task anyway). Rather, he sought to actuate and enact the dynamic between sensuous reality and the gaps and pauses that punctuate it. Shelley’s imagination did not only think in the terms of reductive materialism with its matter in constant motion (all that talk of balls and the soiled baize of billiard tables), but it challenged such a vision frequently, returning repeatedly to ideas of stasis and limit-points. I hope readers will appreciate the staggering breadth, intensity, and inventiveness of Shelley’s poetic thought.

2) Your book opens by modifying F.R. Leavis to contend that ‘Shelley had a firm grasp upon the weakness of the actual’.  What for you are the most important implications of this insight?

I begin by subjecting Leavis to his own dictum: that every judgement is implicitly cast in the form ‘This is so, isn’t it?’ expecting the response ‘Yes, but . . .’. I wanted to see whether it might be productive to think again about his charge of vagueness levelled against Shelley; the poet had a ‘weak grasp upon the actual’.

Most people get Leavis very wrong. They have an idea of him and that is enough. But it is an impoverishment for he was one of our greatest critics. There is so much to gain from disagreement, and I don’t mean just a stomach ulcer. For Shelleyans, the Leavis story tends to go like this: Leavis hated Shelley, but it isn’t true. So far from telling students that Shelley was not worth reading, Leavis directed students away from the canon set up by Palgrave’s Golden Treasury, the short lyrics, and pointed them toward reading a hard-edged Shelley, the Shelley who wrote Mask of Anarchy and Peter Bell the Third. But whoever talks about that? Towards the end of his life—I won’t give the full story here, you’ll have to read the book for that—Leavis showed his preparedness to rethink his notorious Shelley essay. He was willing to subject himself to self-revaluation. We, in turn, now tend to sneer at Leavis where he is remembered at all. 

I, however, begin with gratitude. As a sixth-former questioning whether I would spend my life in medicine or literature, it was Leavis who confirmed my choice. His evaluative criticism was liberating. With the book, I took the opportunity to revisit his Shelley essay, and cannot but be grateful for his phrase about Shelley’s grasp on the actual, for it stimulated a train of thought that in turn encouraged me to examine the interrelations between philosophy, science, and prosody in the work of Shelley. My modification of Leavis, ‘Shelley had a firm grasp upon the weakness of the actual’, for all its impishness, is serious. The most important implication is that Shelley’s prosody grew to articulate his sense that actuality is experienced as ruptured and fractured with gaps and limit-points. His work is suffused with the philosophical and scientific contexts from which he derived his understanding of the brokenness of materiality itself, the weakness of the actual.

3) Your book makes extensive use of the Marlow List, which details the contents of Shelley’s library in 1818. What can careful analysis of this list reveal, and what are its limitations as a window on Shelley’s intellectual makeup?

The ‘Marlow List’ is an extremely important but virtually unknown document in the Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle in the New York Public Library (Pforz. Shelleyana 1082). Nora Crook, to whom my book is dedicated, made me aware of its existence; she released to me her full transcription and annotated edition. This builds on work previously done at the Pforzheimer Collection in the New York Public Library. It’s due to be published on Romantic Circles, so that it will be available to all scholars. It is a list of books in Shelley’s possession, still unpublished as I write, that he left behind when vacating his library in Marlow in February 1818. It restores to us something we did not know that we had lost, the astonishing variety of Shelley’s reading.  We all know that Shelley had the appetite of a polymath, but the ‘Marlow List’ moves us away from an overreliance on this or that set of authors or texts. Indeed, it uncovers an array of philosophical, scientific, and aesthetic contexts, and many others besides, which mattered to Shelley. Certain works on the ‘Marlow List’ played a significant role in Shelley’s poetic and intellectual development, and their effect can be clearly traced in Shelley’s verse and its technique. Some corroborate or confirm what have been hitherto merely well-founded conjectures, and many are entirely fresh and new.

Whilst careful analysis can cast light on the incidents his verse describes, his thought, and artistry, one must be judicious. I do not aim to present any hitherto unnoticed book or group of books in Shelley’s Marlow library as unlocking the key to his thought. I do not present Shelley as an adherent to any system of thinking, just as the key to his mind is not to be found in any present fashion whether it be a philosophy, concept, sexuality, or political ideology. Poetry offered Shelley a unique means of thinking in its own terms. Poetry makes thought happen. With the ‘Marlow List’ in mind, Shelley’s Broken World seeks to uncover some of those thoughts which have passed by unnoticed.

4) How did you arrive at the book’s current shape, with two initial chapters on eighteenth-century thought that transition through a consideration of Shelley’s own speculations to three chapters examining AlastorPeter Bell the Third and Epipsychidion?

This book contains six chapters and a coda, each presenting a different aspect of the engagement in Shelley’s poetry and thought with ideas of intermittence, rupture, and breakage. Whilst I consider, or touch on, pretty much the whole of Shelley’s career, including poems from the early Esdaile Notebook, Rosalind and Helen, ‘Julian and Maddalo’, Prometheus UnboundAdonais, and ‘The Triumph of Life’, each of these three later chapters homes in on a single long, major poem belonging to a distinct phase of Shelley’s poetic maturity: Alastor (1816), Peter Bell the Third (1819) and Epipsychidion (1821). Poem talks to poem, though each is sharply different from the other two in form (blank verse, ballad metre, heroic couplets), genre (loco-descriptive psychological narrative, satire, erotic confession) and in content.

5) What new projects are you currently working on?

I am happily embarked on a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at Newcastle University. For the next three years, I am focused on Shelley’s reception history. As we approach the bicentenary of Shelley’s drowning, his work seems as timely as in the years between the death of his first editor (Mary Shelley) and his first centenary. During this period (1851-1922), Shelley was canonised in the anglophone world, Europe and even the Far East. Streets were named after him. My project examines the phenomenon of ‘High Shelleyanism’, the international cast of Shelleyans, Shelleyites, and Shelleyphobes, and the differing ideologies and methodologies of the poet’s numerous editors, amateur and professional. But it aims beyond textual scholarship and colourful competing personalities. It charts the diffusion of Shelley’s works through cheap reprints, illustration, music and networks of influence. The research will result in a book, provisionally titled Shelleyolatry and Shelleyphobia, and an annotated digital gallery of illustrated editions of Shelley, visual representations of the poet, and musical settings of his verse between the years 1851-1922. The website, which is in its initial stages, will go live later this year.

Among other things, I am working on an experimental book on Shelley’s time at Marlow with a wonderful publisher, and with Anna Mercer and Consulting Editor Nora Crook, we are nearing completion on The Frankenstein Review Shelley Notebook. A Facsimile and Diplomatic Transcription of MS. 13, 290 (Bucknell University Press, in Association with the Library of Congress). With Amanda Blake Davis, Anna Mercer, and Paul Stephens I am co-organising the Shelley Bicentennial conference at Keats House, Hampstead 2022. For more information you can follow us on Twitter: @shelleyconf2022

Communications Officer : Charles Lamb Society

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The Charles Lamb Society is recruiting a Communications Officer to help with running and promoting its online programme for the academic year 2021-22. This role is open to postgraduate students and early career researchers with a particular enthusiasm for the Lambs and their circle. We are looking for someone with experience in handling Eventbrite bookings, Zoom webinars, and using social media. We hope this role will be a chance for career development, as well as an opportunity to bring new perspectives on the work of the Lambs into the Society. 

This position is paid an honorarium of £500 [based on 3.5 hours x £16.72 rate for each of our 8 seminars]

This role will run from 1 September 2021- 1 July 2022. Primary tasks: 

Working alongside the Chairs of the Charles Lamb Society, Professor John Strachan and Dr Felicity James, to facilitate our 2021-2 programme of 8 Zoom webinars, publicising these through Eventbrite, and promoting these using social media. You will need to be available to help run these events on scheduled Saturdays through the year.

Promoting the events on social media; more broadly, helping develop our social media presence, eg. our Twitter feed, and our Society profile. 

Helping develop our Society website, alongside the Web Officer, Dr Philipp Hunnekuhl. There would also be an opportunity if desired to work with the Bulletin editor Professor John Gardner.

We have an exciting programme already planned for the coming year on the Lambs and London culture. Events include Eric G Wilson on his new biography of Lamb; Judith Thompson on her life of Thelwall; David Stewart on Pierce Egan’s Life in London; Mary L. Shannon on Billy Waters and nineteenth-century popular culture; Andrew McInnes on Lamb, Coleridge and the ridiculous, and Matthew Sangster on writing as a career in the Romantic period). We’d like to make these webinars as widely available and accessible as possible and would welcome innovative ideas to promote the events and recruit new members.

The Society is a fascinating institution with a long history in Romantic studies. It was founded in 1935 to study the life, works and times of Charles and Mary Lamb and their circle. We publish the Charles Lamb Bulletin, a highly regarded biannual peer-reviewed journal, and support research into the Lambs and their circle. Under our current President, Professor Duncan Wu, we also aim to continue the sociable and friendly ethos of the Society founders, and to cultivate the Elian spirit of friendliness and humour.

We welcome any informal enquiries and are happy to provide further information: please contact To apply: by 30 July, please send an academic CV and a one-page personal statement explaining why you are best placed to undertake the duties above to