Blake Archive is now on Twitter!

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By Eric Loy

Blake Archive Twitter Profile

We’re excited to announce that the William Blake Archive has [finally] arrived on Twitter. You can find and tweet us using @BlakeArchive.

We often lovingly refer to the Archive as a “mature” digital project–the website first created in the halcyon days of 1996–but expanding the Archive’s online social presence struck us as a good opportunity to connect with other projects and people around the world dedicated to the digital humanities. In other words, we envision social media to be more than a frivolous side enterprise. Understanding the cultural landscape of the modern Web, we see social media as potentially integral to the goals of the Archive and to digital humanities in general.

So what will that look like? We outlined a basic strategy for what you might see in our future Twitter feed:

  • Publication Announcements: Did we mention that we have a new batch of letters coming soon?
  • Blog Posts: Twitter is great way to share blogging content.
  • Blake Content: anything from Blake artwork to excerpts from his letters.
  • Tweets to other projects and library collections: communication, collaboration, support, and maybe a few inside jokes?
  • Re-Tweets of digital humanities / archive news: sharing DH news and encouraging a …read more


Frankenstein and Fantasmagoriana, Story 2: Les Portraits de Famille

By As noted in my previous blogs on Frankenstein and Fantasmagoriana, the first story read by the Byron-Shelley circle on that stormy night in June 1816, L’ Amour Muet, was not as influential and well-known as the second story, Les Portraits de Famille / The Family Portraits. Mary Shelley herself stated that Les Portraits de Famille […] …read more


The Royal Literary Fund and the Perils of Authorship

By admin

David Williams

Please see below for details of a symposium and evening event exploring the history of authorship using the archive of the Royal Literary Fund; these will be held at the British Library on Friday 9th May. I feel that I should declare an interest here (I’m one of the organisers and the most junior of the speakers), but I’m pretty excited by the line-up and think that it should be a really interesting day.

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The Royal Literary Fund and the Perils of Authorship

The British Library Conference Centre

Friday 9th May

10:30-17:45 (followed by a wine reception, then an evening event from 18:30-19:30)

The dissenting minister, philosopher and educationalist David Williams (above) founded the Royal Literary Fund in 1790 in order ‘to withdraw those apprehensions of extreme poverty, and those desponding views of futurity, which lead Genius and Talent from the path of Virtue’, which in practice meant providing confidential financial aid to struggling writers. More than three thousand six hundred writers applied to the Fund prior to 1939, including luminaries such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Clare, Leigh Hunt, Joseph Conrad, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and Dorothy Richardson, but also hundreds of less familiar figures. Their stories …read more


Week 8 (Monday) – America through a British Lens: William England’s Stereoscopic Tour

By Honor Rieley

Professor Bruce Graver, Providence College

* Note: this week’s seminar is on Monday instead of the usual Thursday. Same time, same place (Seminar Room A).

For the final Romantic Realignments of Hilary term, our speaker will be Bruce Graver, with a talk on the early photographer William England’s foray into North America which should appeal to those interested in landscape, travel writing, Anglo-American relations . . . the points of connection are endless! All welcome, come along and help us send off the term in style.

…read more


NENC March Meeting

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By NENC The next meeting of NENC will take place on Tuesday 11th March, at 5.30pm in Room B.30 in the Bedson Teaching Centre at Newcastle University (Location 21 on page two of this campus map:

Dr Leanne Stokoe, of Newcastle University, will be giving a paper on ‘The Misguided Imaginations of Men’: Adam Smith, Jeremy Bentham and the Principle of Self in Shelley’s Speculations on Morals and Metaphysics (abstract below). This promises to be a really interesting talk, hopefully with a lot of discussion.

If you can’t make it to this session, then never fear – we will be planning the meetings for next term shortly, so watch this space! And if you’re interested in helping out in any capacity, then please do get in touch!

Best wishes,

Siobhan and Roisin (NENC Organisers)

Week 7 – "Creative Tension: The post-Frankenstein collaboration of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley"

By Katherine Fender

Anna Mercer

(University of York)

This week*, we’re delighted to be welcoming Anna Mercer – a first-year doctoral candidate from the University of York – to speak to us about the creative collaboration of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley.


Percy Bysshe Shelley (PBS) and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley (MWS) collaborated on the latter’s first major work, Frankenstein. 1816-1818 was a period of shared productivity for the Shelleys; as well as Frankenstein, they also produced a joint publication, History of a Six Weeks’ Tour. Beyond this, however, the Shelleys’ literary relationship and dialogue is little considered by critics, their connection reduced to a source for biographical interpretations of their distinctly separate or individual writings.

My research aims to study the Shelleys’ relationship in a literary sense, considering the connections between their texts, their intellectual responses to each other, and the reciprocal interchange of ideas between a literary couple that were reading and writing together from 1814-1822. This paper explores an approach to the Shelleys’ compositions post-Frankenstein, including MWS’s second novel, Matilda, and its connections to PBS’s verse-drama The Cenci. MWS comments on her involvement with PBS’s composition of The Cenci in 1819: ‘We talked over the arrangements of …read more


To the Letters

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By Shannon Jaime

Since re-grouping in January, the members of BAND have been working earnestly on a variety of new and ongoing projects, including Blake’s Descriptive Catalogue, Receipts, The French Revolution, Chaucer, Prospectus, The Four Zoas, Genesis, Tiriel, and additional groups of Blake’s letters. In an effort to do more shameless plugging for our imminent letters publication, I’d like to share why I decided to continue with the letters project.

On a more practical note, I wanted more experience in building XML files from the screen-up and in gathering provenance info for problematic or untraced letters. Yet there’s another reason I couldn’t stay away from the correspondence of Will Blake. As a Romanticist who has read and studied Blake’s poetry, I find that it is sometimes easy to forget that beyond Blake’s artistry, beyond his philosophical and mystical Ideas, there existed an actual human being. After working on one of Blake’s letters last semester, I realized that we often think of Blake the Poet, or Blake the Engraver, but not Blake the man—someone who lived, breathed, socialized, gossiped, fell ill, worried about money and work, conducted business with a host of acquaintances, expressed opinions, and often let his imagination wander into …read more


Upcoming Event: Coastal Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century

By Honor Rieley

Full registration (for the conference with dinner) will be closing Monday 3 March. Act now to avoid disappointment!

Coastal Cultures of the Long Nineteenth Century, 1775–1914
Dates: 14 and 15 March 2014
Venue: English Faculty and Magdalen College
Description: The conference explores the diversity of experiences dependent on the coasts in the long nineteenth century. Papers will consider aesthetic responses by artists, writers and musicians, but also focus on everyday material practices. In keeping with the spirit of fluid exchange encouraged by coasts, the conference draws together scholars from across the disciplines of literature, art history, musicology, history, and geography.
Speakers include Rosemary Ashton, Margaret Cohen, Valentine Cunningham, Jane Darcy, Roger Ebbatson, Kate Flint, Nick Freeman, Nick Grindle, James Kneale, Leya Landau, Fiona Stafford, Christiana Payne, David Sergeant and Carl Thompson.
A recital will take place in association with the conference, with singers from the Guildhall School for Music performing works by Elgar, Stanford and Vaughan Williams, introduced by musicologist and concert pianist Ceri Owen.
The conference programme can be downloaded here.

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Global Romanticism II: Imitation, Innovation, and Interlocution in Nineteenth-Century India

By manuchander by Manu Samriti Chander I mentioned in my last post the Calcutta-born poet Henry Derozio (1809-1831), or “Indian Keats” as he has sometimes been called. I first discovered Derozio’s work in graduate school and planned to write about him in my dissertation, but I didn’t have the resources at the time to travel to work […] …read more


Musical Nervousness as a Fashionable Disease

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By GlynisIngram


Music and the Nerves

I first became interested in the ‘fashionable diseases’ of the long eighteenth century when I was working on my book Bad Vibrations: The History of the Idea of Music as a Cause of Disease. In that period, especially in Britain, the notion that music was a matter of nervous stimulation became widespread, bringing thinking on music into the wider debate on nervousness, sensuality and sensibility. Until the 1790s, music was generally depicted as refining rather than damaging the nerves with the context of the Cult of Sensibility. Thereafter, however, musical nervousness became a full-blown fashionable disease, with a moral-medical critique of its excesses and the whiff of emotional and spiritual superiority.

By the eighteenth century British contributions to the discussion of music’s physical effects, such as Richard Browne’s 1729 Medicina Musica and Richard Brocklesby’s 1749 Reflections of Antient and Modern Musick, tended to assume that music’s power over emotions was experimentally verifiable, that the body worked on Newtonian principles, and that the nerves were responsible for music’s impact.1 There was an extensive debate about how the nerves transmitted sound to the brain, with a variety of theories on the nature of the nerves co-existing, …read more