Job Advertisement: Senior Lecturer in English Literature, Lund University

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Lund University was founded in 1666 and is repeatedly ranked among the world’s top 100 universities. The University has 40 000 students and more than 8 000 staff based in Lund, Helsingborg and Malmö. We are united in our efforts to understand, explain and improve our world and the human condition.

The Joint Faculties of the Humanities and Theology have eight departments and carries out large and varied work within research and education with the purpose to understand people as cultural and social beings. The faculties have some 700 employees and around 4000 students.

The Centre for Languages and Literature at Lund University (SOL) is Sweden’s largest university department for languages, linguistics, literature and area studies. SOL provides a wide range of freestanding courses complemented with an increasing number of first and second cycle degree programmes. Housing 33 subjects and roughly the same number of PhD programmes, SOL is a solid foundation for broad and deep education and research, characterised by national and international visibility. SOL is managed by a board chaired by the Head of Department. The management also includes two assistant heads of department with special areas of responsibility. More than 250 people are employed and around 3 000 students, including around 100 PhD students, conduct their studies at SOL.

Read more & apply click here

Hannah More and Material Culture: Call for Papers

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A Digital Conference, 24-5 June 2021

Hannah More, one of the most prominent intellectual figures of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, left multiple material traces of her work and activities. From the buildings that housed her Sunday Schools across the Mendips, to the 1,800 surviving letters written by her in her lifetime, to the thousands of inscriptions and autographs written by her in fans’ books, to the copious knitting she produced for friends and loved ones, to the boards holding her poetry in country estates in the south west, a wealth of material evidence has survived. Little has been examined, however, or enjoyed the sort of sustained and serious investigation increasingly offered to material cultures of the eighteenth century by critics including Chloe Wigston Smith, Jennie Batchelor, Maddie Pelling, Freya Gowrley, Elizabeth Eger, Nicole Pohl, Amanda Vickery and others.

This conference, which will be held using digital technologies and platforms, seeks to address this significant gap in More scholarship and it looks to do so by taking advantage of the benefits offered by digital conferencing over face-to-face events. Therefore, contributors are explicitly invited to consider the ways in which they might make use of digital technology to make more visible, or more accessible, or more readable, the material traces left by Hannah More.

Proposals of around 250 words for presentations are invited. The deadline for submission of proposals is 9 April 2021. Submissions should include a title, affiliation if applicable, and a short (100 word) biography. If you are proposing a roundtable please include proposals and supplementary information for all participants.

As a result of our invitation to utilise digital technology to enhance your presentation, we are open to a range of formats including, but not limited to, the following:

•       Virtual tours of repositories, collections or libraries
•       Show and tell
•       Digital manipulation of objects
•       Digital explorations of buildings, blueprints, maps
•       Academic papers with a strong visual element
•       Roundtable discussions with a strong visual element
•       Recreation of objects using digital technologies
•       Theatre
•       Performance

These formats can be on a range of topics including, but not limited to, the following:

•       Hannah More’s letters
•       Textiles
•       Material culture and friendship
•       Object circulation
•       Collection, then and now
•       Barley Wood, its construction, history, use
•       Gardening
•       Botanizing
•       Gifting
•       Autograph hunting
•       Hannah More’s library
•       Sociability
•       Knitting and sewing
•       Material culture and gender
•       Hannah More’s Sunday Schools
•       Philanthropy
•       Inscription poetry
•       The Belmont estate
•       Hannah More’s Pedagogy
•       Museum curation, displays and/or public engagement with objects
•       Preservation and conservation of material objects
•       Buildings
•       Music
•       Church and/or Mendips churches

Please send your proposals to the following address: clearly marked ‘Hannah More and Material Culture’.

There will be no formal conference fee, but participants will be invited to make a donation to The Hannah More Trust, a charity dedicated to promoting knowledge about More’s life and works.

Davy Notebooks Project: Postdoctoral Research Associate Roles

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The Department of English Literature and Creative Writing is seeking to appoint a Research Associate on a full-time basis to work on the AHRC-funded Davy Notebooks Project.

You will assist the Project’s Principal Investigator (PI), Professor Sharon Ruston, and the Senior Research Associate, Dr Andrew Lacey, to work on the transcription and annotation of Humphry Davy’s notebooks using the crowdsourcing platform Zooniverse ( The final transcriptions will be published on the Lancaster Digital Library. You will also participate in the generation of new knowledge from these materials, via journal articles, public outreach activities, and conference presentations. 

You will have a PhD in Literature or History concentrating on the eighteenth and/or nineteenth centuries. Direct experience with eighteenth- and/or nineteenth-century manuscripts is desirable, as are publications on or in a field related to eighteenth- and/or nineteenth-century literature and/or science. Previous editorial experience, particularly previous work on a scholarly edition, would be an advantage as would previous experience on a Digital Humanities project especially one that has applied TEI (Text Encoding Initative) Guidelines. While experience with TEI would be an advantage, full training will be given in the role. There is a specific focus on contexts of slavery and colonialism in one part of the project, as well as more general links to the fields of literature and science and the history of science in the whole project. You will use social media to promote the project and find new audiences for the transcriptions. 

This is an excellent opportunity for an early career researcher to receive training and gain experience in scholarly editing, digital humanities methods, project management, impact and public engagement activities, research networking opportunities, and research mentoring which may lead to joint and sole-authored publication. 

You will join us on an indefinite contract however, the role remains contingent on external funding which, at this time is for 23 months.

For more details and to apply, click here. Applications close 15 March 2021.


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Since December 2018, Keats House, Hampstead has been celebrating the life and works of Keats through the Keats200 bicentenary programme. Although the house remains closed to the public at present, the Keats200 exhibition is accessible online (here), with the final content looking at Keats’s ‘Death and Legacy’ (here).

Thank you to everyone who has helped us deliver #Keats200 and followed its progress online.

Stephen Copley Research Awards 2021 – The Winners

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Stephen Copley Research Awards 2021

The BARS Executive Committee established the Stephen Copley bursary scheme in order to support postgraduate and early-career research within the UK. The bursaries primarily fund expenses incurred through travel to libraries and archives necessary for the applicant’s research, but the remit was this year expanded to include other research-focused costs, such as (but not limited to) photocopying, scanning, and childcare. Please do join us in congratulating the very worthy winners. Romanticism is alive and kicking, we’re pleased to say!

  • Alexander Abichou (Durham University)
  • Amanda Blake Davis (University of Sheffield)
  • Edward Hardiman (Keele University)
  • Emma Stanbridge (Keele University)
  • Maddy Pelling (University of York)
  • Jordan Welsh (University of Essex)
  • Zachary Garber (University of Oxford)

Once they have completed their research projects, as far as the bursary scheme is concerned, each winner will write a brief report. These reports will be published on the website and circulated through our social media. For more information about the bursaries, including reports from past winners, please visit our website:

– Daniel Cook (Bursaries Officer)

On This Day in 1821: Severn’s Accounts of Keats’s Final Days

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The BARS ‘On This Day’ Blog series celebrates the 200th anniversary of literary and historical events of the Romantic period. Want to contribute a future post? Get in touch.

John Keats died on 23 February 1821. Today we’re marking the end of #Keats200 with a post by Ana Stevenson, a writer and independent scholar based in Paris. Ana specialises in English Romanticism with a focus on the life and works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, currently exploring personal accounts recorded by his contemporaries in order to gain an insight of the development of his philosophy. She also writes essays and reflections which are shared on her page. You can also read her previous post for BARS on the ‘Immortal Dinner’ here.

In the evening of the 23rd of February 1821, John Keats quietly passed away in his Roman lodgings by the Piazza di Spagna (‘The Spanish Steps’). The last tortured months of his life were recorded in intimate detail by the painter Joseph Severn, a close friend who accompanied the poet on his last voyage from London to Rome. As sad as these accounts may be, they illustrate the very real horror of Keats’s demise; as we reach the bicentennial of this sorrowful event, I have reviewed Joseph Severn’s reports of Keats’s final months and thus consider the dying Keats as a real man, not just a literary figure.

Peace, peace! he is not dead, he doth not sleep,
He hath awaken’d from the dream of life

Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, XXXIX
Keats-Shelley House, Rome. Wikipedia

On the 17th of September 1820, John Keats and Joseph Severn boarded the Maria Crowther on their way to Italy. Keats’s health had been deteriorating rapidly since his lung haemorrhage earlier in the year, and he believed that the warmer Italian climate would assist his recovery. Keats had also suffered emotionally following the harsh reviews of his poetry. In a letter to John Taylor, Keats’s publisher, Severn wrote:

Would that his enemies could see this martyrdom of the most noble feeling and brightest genius to be found in existence. I only wish this for their punishment.[i]

In the preface to Adonais, Percy Bysshe Shelley made a similar assertion, accusing the Quarterly Review’s ‘savage criticism’ of having a ‘violent effect on his susceptible mind; the agitation thus originated ended in the rupture of a blood-vessel in the lungs’[ii]. Lord Byron, who had previously stated ‘[w]hy don’t they review & praise “Solomon’s Guide to Health” it is better sense – and as much poetry as Johnny Keates’[iii], would also question if the Quarterly Review was not to blame for Keats’s end, for ‘a savage review is Hemlock to a sucking author’.[iv]

Keats, however, knew the symptoms of consumption; not only was he a trained physician, but the condition had caused the death of his mother and brother before him. Yet Severn, and Keats’s doctor Dr Clark, believed he could still recover. In a letter to Charles Armitage Brown, a close friend and fellow poet, Severn provides a detailed report:

I had seen him wake on the morning of this attack, and to all appearance he was going on merrily and he had unusual good spirits, when in an instant a Cough seized him and he vomited near two Cupfuls of blood. In a moment I got Dr Clark, who saw the manner of it, and immediately took away about 8 ounces of blood from the Arm; it was black and thick in the extreme.[v]

Severn tended to Keats’s every need, and for three weeks did not leave his side – although he wanted to be of use, he also feared Keats would take his own life. On one occasion:

He rush’d out of bed and said, “this day shall be my last,” and but for me most certainly it would. At the risk of losing his confidence I took every destroying means from his reach, nor let him be from my sight one minute.[vi]

After leaving England, Severn oversaw all correspondence, for news of London agitated Keats’s nerves excessively. ‘He will not bear the idea of living, much less strive to live’ he notes mournfully, ‘I seem to lose his confidence by trying to give him this hope’.[vii] On another occasion he writes that Keats ‘says no more letters for him’ and notes in tones of weary resignation that:

Even good news will not lift him up. He is too far gone. But he does not know I think this, nor does he know Dr C’s opinion, but his own knowledge of Anatomy is unfortunate.[viii]

Severn was also troubled by the Italian bureaucracy: the laws regarding consumptive patients were strict due to the contagiousness of the disease. All that was touched by Keats would have to be destroyed upon his death. Although this was not communicated to him, the idea of having traces of his existence terminated with his life was his desire. ‘Keats has just said it is his last request that no mention be made of him in any manner publicly – in Reviews, Magazines or Newspapers – that no Engraving be taken from any Picture of him’. He also wished for no name to mark his gravestone.[ix]

Early in 1821, Severn wrote to Mrs Brawne, the mother of Keats’s fiancée, Fanny. They had been neighbours at Wentworth Place, Hampstead (now Keats House), and had rapidly fallen in love. Keats did not possess the means to marry and support a family, but was well-loved by the Brawnes. When his health started to deteriorate, Mrs Brawne recognised his engagement to her daughter, either in hope that it would help with his recovery, or because she knew he would not survive.[x] In the letter to Mrs Brawne, Severn expresses his initial concerns, yet he saw Keats’s current calmness as a sign of improvement. He believed that the fact that Keats mind was ‘in a state of peace from the final leave he has taken of this world and all its future hopes’[xi] meant that he should recover after all. ‘I have just looked at him. He is in a beautiful sleep. In look he is very much more himself. I have the greatest hopes of him.’[xii]

Keats House, Hampstead. Ana Stevenson

These hopes did not last, and days later Severn wrote to his friend, William Haslam, about how he attempted to comfort Keats, assuring that nothing bothered him but the dullness of the uneventful days, ‘but they are all lies; my heart almost leaps to deny them, for I have the veriest load of care that ever came upon these shoulders of mine. For Keats is sinking daily. He is dying of a consumption, of a confirmed consumption’.[xiii] Severn once hoped for Keats’s recovery; now he prayed for death to come in haste. Keats lamented:

Miserable wretch I am. This last cheap comfort which every rogue and fool have is denied me in my last moments. Why is this? O! I have serv’d everyone with my utmost good, yet why is this? I cannot understand this.[xiv]

Severn asked Haslam not to appeal for any further updates, for all days were wretched and letters were no longer a source of comfort. Keats requested for those addressed to him to remain unopened – these would later rest in his grave.

John Keats, Joseph Severn (1821)

John Keats passed away on the 23rd February 1821, aged just 25. In the afternoon he uttered his last words ‘Severn-I–lift me up–I am dying–I shall die easy–don’t be frightened–be firm, and thank God it has come!’[xv] That night he expired, ‘so quiet’ that Severn ‘still thought he slept’.[xvi] 200 years later, the man who believed that his name was unworthy of a gravestone still lives, admired around the globe. His body rests at the Cimitero Acattolico di Roma, where thousands of admirers make the pilgrimage every year to honour the poet. It is cruel for one to suffer such a harrowing end, but thanks in part to Severn’s accounts, Keats ceases to be the idealised, unreal literary figure and is instead transformed into a much-beloved friend who met a tragic and untimely end. As per his request, Keats’s grave bears no name and instead honours him with the quote ‘Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water‘.

John Keats’s grave, Giovanni Dall’orto


Joseph Severn, Letters from Rome – from 17th December 1820 -27th February 1821.

Nicolas Roe, Keats: A New Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.

Percy Bysshe Shelley. Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats. 1821. Oxford University Press, 1921.

[i] Letter from Joseph Severn to Charles Armitage Brown, 17 December 1820.

[ii] Percy Bysshe Shelley, Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats, 1821.

[iii] Letter from Lord Byron to John Murray, 18 November 1820.

[iv] Letter from Byron to Murray, 26 April 1821.

[v] Letter from Severn to Brown, 17 December 1820.

[vi] Ibid.

[vii] Letter from Severn to John Taylor, 24th December 1820.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Roe, Nicholas. Keats: A New Life. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2012.

[xi] Letter from Severn to Mrs Samuel Brawne, 11th January 1821.

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] Letter from Severn to William Haslam, 15th January 1821.

[xiv] Ibid.

[xv] Letter from Severn to Brown, 27th February 1821.

[xvi] Ibid.

BARS Digital Events: ‘The Late Mary Shelley’ Recording Now Online

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You can now watch last week’s event, ‘The Late Mary Shelley’, online on our YouTube channel.

This event was our most popular yet, with 187 attendees!

Read about the speakers here, and book for our next event ‘Romanticism and the Museum’ here.

BARS Digital Events: Romanticism and the Museum

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Join us on Zoom on Thursday 4th March 2021 at 5pm GMT. Tickets here.

This event proposes to discuss the challenges facing museums and heritage institutions and organisations in 2021. We specifically want to explore the role of museums based in the UK that are dedicated to celebrating the works and lives of figures from the Romantic period. These sites are far more than single buildings – they provide a dedicated space for conversation and inspiration. Literary house museums lead the way in championing the importance of preserving the legacy of literary icons, both in their work with collections, but also in their work with the communities that they serve. The event will also seek to ask who such museums are for, and how they can engage new groups beyond their core following.

This roundtable will crucially include a range of speakers: curators, academics, and early career scholars who work with and study literary house museums. 

Some of the issues we will be exploring include: 

  • Diversifying audiences 
  • Digital exhibitions and communications (especially in light of the global pandemic)
  • Funding, including the question of balancing sustainable income as well as providing targeted activities for specific groups
  • Collections: care and promotion 
  • Engaging both local and international audiences
  • The relationship between academia and museums


Jeff Cowton is Curator & Head of Learning at Wordsworth Grasmere. Jeff has worked in the Museums world for 39 years, having begun his career as a volunteer with the Wordsworth Trust in 1981 before becoming Curator in 1994. In 2010, Jeff was awarded an MBE in recognition of services to museums. He is currently leading on the reinterpretation of the site and Museum for the HLF-funded project Reimagining Wordsworth.

Charlotte May (University of Nottingham) is a Trustee of Keswick Museum and has recently finished a post-doctoral project on ‘Robert Southey’s Keswick’, creating educational resources for the public and schools about Robert Southey and his life and times in the North-Eastern Lake District town of Keswick. She is currently working on the letters of the banker-poet Samuel Rogers (1763-1855), a contemporary of Robert Southey.

Rob Shakespeare is Principal Curator at Keats House Museum, Hampstead, and has led the Keats200 project marking the bicentenary of John Keats’s time at the House with a series of exhibitions, events and digital initiatives. Previously Rob worked as a history teacher before moving into the museum sector as an Education Officer in Enfield and then as Education Manager followed by Museum & Archives Manager at the Museum of Croydon.

Nicola Watson holds a chair in English Literature at The Open University. She is a specialist in the cultural history of Romanticism with interests in travel-writing and literary tourism, the writer’s house museum, and more generally in the material culture of European Romanticism. Her publications include The Author’s Effects: On the Writers House Museum. She is the Association Co-ordinator for ERA (European Romanticisms in Association) and is the PI of Dreaming Romantic Europe (DREAM). 

Amy Wilcockson is a PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham, editing the letters of the Scottish Romantic poet, Thomas Campbell. Amy spends a lot of her time lurking in archives, and has completed placements and volunteered at the Boots Archives and Records Centre, Chatsworth House, Nottingham City Museums and Galleries, and the D.H. Lawrence Birthplace Museum. She is also an avid Byron fan and begins a research placement at Newstead Abbey in February 2021. 

Anna Mercer (Cardiff University)

Speakers will give their response to the question: ‘why do literary house museums matter in 2021?’. There will then be time for a Q&A with the audience.

The Keats Letters Project Presents: Weep for Adonais

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The KLP is excited to announce our 23 February event to commemorate the bicentennial of Keats’s death: “Weep for Adonais: A Collaborative Reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s Elegy for John Keats.” Join us via Zoom at 11 pm Rome local time, 10 pm GMT, 5 pm EST.

Why “11 pm Rome local time,” you ask? That’s the time on 23 Feb 1821, according to Joseph Severn’s account, that Keats died in Severn’s arms. (Sure, time zones weren’t yet regularized in 1821, but we’ll act as if they were). Use this link to pre-register here.

We’ll share more information about “Weep for Adonais” as the event date nears, including who will be some of our readers for the event. For now, mark it on your calendar, register for the event, and prepare for the fiery tears and loud hearts (which won’t be quenched or muted).

Keats-Shelley House: Video Story and Panoramic Tours

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‘The Death of Keats’: An Immersive Video Story from the Keats-Shelley House narrated by Bob Geldof premiering 23 February 6.30 pm

This February the Keats-Shelley House will commemorate the bicentenary of John Keats’s death with the release of two immersive video experiences, both of them collaborations with legendary rock star, philanthropist, and Keats-Shelley200 Ambassador Bob Geldof.

On 23 February, the bicentenary of Keats’s death in Rome, we’ll premiere ‘The Death of Keats’ narrated by Bob Geldof. This will be an innovative immersive video story which is best enjoyed with a VR headset but fully accessible without. Recounting, through readings from letters, Keats’s trip to Italy, his time in the House, and his death, this will be the first in a series of video stories from the Keats-Shelley House to mark the bicentenaries of Keats’s and Shelley’s deaths.

Also, don’t miss the Immersive Video Tour of the Keats-Shelley House with Bob Geldof which will premiere on 8 February.

From 23 February it will also be possible to take your own Panoramic Tour of the Keats-Shelley House with a Live Guide.

All details here.