Five Questions: Mary Fairclough on the Romantic Crowd

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The Romantic Crowd - Mary Fairclough

Mary Fairclough is a Lecturer in English Literature in the Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies and the Department of English and Related Literature at the University of York, where she also completed her PhD; before rejoining York in 2012, she taught for four years at the University of Huddersfield. Her research explores the intersections between literary, political and scientific developments in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, focusing particularly on the ways that different disciplinary discourses employ, inform and complicate each other. In the interview below, we discuss her first monograph, The Romantic Crowd: Sympathy, Controversy and Print Culture, which was published by Cambridge University Press in January last year.

1) What brought you to realise that the crowd was a topic you wanted to consider at length?

I have Thomas De Quincey to blame for my interests in crowds – in the first term of my PhD research I was reading as much De Quincey as I could, and remember being struck by the peculiar way in which he described crowd behaviour: ‘Many a man has been drawn, by the contagion of sympathy with his own …read more


British Society for Literature and Science Conference 2014: Registration Open

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Gregory Tate writes with more details of this year’s BSLS conference, including information about speakers, trips and how to register:
Registration is now open for the ninth annual conference of the British Society for Literature and Science, which will take place at the University of Surrey, Guildford, on 10-12 April 2014. Keynote talks will be given by Professor Jim Al-Khalili (University of Surrey), Professor Bernard Lightman (York University, Toronto), and Professor Mary Orr (University of Southampton). The conference will finish with an opportunity to visit Down House, the home of Charles Darwin, on the afternoon of Saturday 12 April.
Accommodation: please note that those attending the conference will need to make their own arrangements for accommodation. Information on local hotels is available on the conference website.
Membership: conference delegates will need to register as members of the BSLS (annual membership: £25 waged / £10 unwaged). It will be possible to join the BSLS when registering for the conference.
To register for the conference please visit the University of Surrey online store at The deadline for registration is 27 March 2014.
Information about how to get …read more


Week 4 – ‘Hume, Shelley and the Evolution of Myth’

By Honor Rieley

Pablo San Martín Varela, University of Edinburgh
This week sees the second part of our Edinburgh double-header, as Pablo San Martín speaks on the shift from an Enlightenment to a Romantic definition of ‘myth’.


This paper explores the history of the modern conception of ‘myth’ as it emerged during the Enlightenment, …read more


Fontastic Mr Blake: tagging A Descriptive Catalogue

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By Laura Whitebell

Thanks to the addition of two BAND assistants (hi Megan and Margaret!) to the A Descriptive Catalogue project, we now have a complete (and typo-free!) transcription of the text. The three of us are currently working on marking up the BAD and adding textnotes to the transcription in order to describe the details of the work as completely as possible.

As I’ve discussed on another occasion, A Descriptive Catalogue is a typographical work, which means that a lot of the standards and conventions we’ve developed in line with manuscript transcription aren’t applicable. Take the title page, for example.

As well as the handwritten addition by Blake, which we have noted with both a note and a tag, there are a number of different typefaces on this object, most notably the gothic script of “Sale by Private Contract.” Should we also tag instances where a different font is used? And if so, should we include a description of that font? Given that we already have tags that tell users what kind of medium is employed, like or , it is not hard to imagine something like . But do these fonts even have …read more


Romantic Locations Programme

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The basic text of the programme for Romantic Locations is reproduced below for your perusal. The full version, in all its carefully-formatted glory, can be downloaded from the BARS website.

– – – – – – –

The Early Careers and Postgraduate Conference for The British Association for Romantic Studies


At Dove Cottage and the Jerwood Centre, Grasmere

Wednesday 19th March

1200: Those who have requested transfers will be picked up from Windermere Station.

1300 – 1345: Tea and Registration (at the Jerwood Centre)

1345 – 1400: Welcome

1400 – 1630: Afternoon Sessions

Panel One: ‘That’s the Spot?’

  • Kate Ingle (Lancaster) – Personal Place-names and Dorothy Wordsworth’s Writing of Grasmere
  • Helen-Frances Pilkington (Birkbeck) – ‘Plead for thy peace, thou beautiful romance / of nature’: Wordsworth’s opposition to the Kendal and Windermere Railway
  • Polly Atkin (Lancaster) – ‘Most Constant and Most Fickle Place!’: rethinking Wordsworth’s local poetry

Panel Two: ‘Complicating Romantic Space’

  • Daniel Eltringham (Birkbeck) – The Cumbrian Exception: upland enclosure, ‘Michael’ and anti-pastoral’
  • Lucy Johnson (Chester) – ‘Vexed Perspectives: Troubling the Aesthetics of Space in History of a Six Weeks’ Tour
  • Anna P.H. Geurts (Sheffield) – Un-Romantic Locations: the common view

1630 – 1700: …read more


Introductory post: Blathering about transatlantic law and literature

By Thanks to Anthony and the rest of the Romantic Textualities team for letting me chime in here. I’m planning on being a semi-regular contributor to the site whilst I dodge inquiries from my supervisor about progress on my thesis (I see you watching, Penny!), and I’m delighted to have the chance to introduce myself. First […] …read more


Week 3 – ‘The Antiquarian Collections and Fictions of Horace Walpole and Walter Scott’

By Honor Rieley

Lucy Linforth, University of Edinburgh
We’re very happy to have Lucy Linforth with us this week, all the way from Edinburgh! She’s going to be speaking about antiquarian objects and the important role they play in the writings of Scott and Walpole.


This paper explores the antiquarian collections held by Walpole and Scott at Strawberry Hill and Abbotsford House respectively, examining their historical and material significance upon the works of both authors. My paper will explore how the object of and objects in these collections might find resonance and representation within the pages of Walpole and Scott’s fictional works.

Teaching Romanticism: Scottish Literature

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By danielcook by Daniel Cook This semester I’m convening a new upper-level undergraduate module: Scottish Literature before 1900. A couple of years ago our resident Scottish literature expert, a highly affable and active George MacDonald scholar, David Robb, retired. He had long taught two Scottish modules, one up to and including the Victorians and another on the […] …read more


Thelwall Conference: CfP Extension, Details and Fee Announcement

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If you were wavering about whether to put in an abstract for the Thelwall conference this July, you might well be persuaded by the revised announcement below, which includes details of a series of exciting additions to the conference and an announcement regarding the fees. If you’re swayed, you now have until February 28th to submit.

Further details can be found on the John Thelwall Society website.

John Thelwall at 250: Medicine, Literature, and Reform in London, ca. 1764-1834

The inaugural John Thelwall Society conference

July 25-27, 2014
University of Notre Dame London Centre
1 Suffolk Street, London, England

Keynote speakers: Sharon Ruston (Professor of English, Lancaster University), Penelope J. Corfield (Emeritus Professor of History, Royal Holloway, University of London), and Sir Geoffrey Bindman, QC.

To mark the 250th anniversary of the birth in London of the reformer and polymath John Thelwall (1764-1832), we invite papers and panel proposals on any aspect of his diverse career, or on the medical, literary, or political life of London in his time. We are particularly interested in generating further attention to the interrelations among medical science, literature, and political culture — a nexus to which Thelwall greatly contributed. An outspoken advocate of democratic reform …read more


Five Questions: Anthony Mandal on Self-Control

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Brunton Self-Control

Dr Anthony Mandal, Reader in English at Cardiff University, has published widely on Romantic and Victorian fiction and culture, focusing particularly on Jane Austen, book trade history and the Gothic novel. Among many other things, he is the developer of British Fiction 1800-1829: A Database of Production, Circulation & Reception, the author of Jane Austen and the Popular Novel: The Determined Author (Basingstoke: Palgrave, 2007), the editor of the open-access online journal Romantic Textualities and one of the General Editors of The New Edinburgh Edition of the Works of Robert Louis Stevenson. He is also co-organising (with Dr Jane Moore) the 14th BARS International Conference, Romantic Imprints, which will take place in Cardiff in 2015. Below, we discuss the process of preparing his new edition of Mary Brunton’s Self-Control, which was published last year by Pickering & Chatto.

1) How did you first come across Self-Control?

My first encounter with Self-Control, and Mary Brunton, was while undertaking research for my PhD in the late 1990s. I was looking at the intersections between …read more