Call for Essays: Poetry and the Gothic

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By Amy Wilcockson

Poetry has been an integral part of the Gothic mode since its inception. However, the connection between poetry and the Gothic seems a less explored area of critical inquiry, in comparison to fiction. While the Graveyard Poets and other Anglophone poetry movements are already considered foundational to the Gothic mode, our edited collection seeks to broaden the scope of what can be conceived of as “Gothic poetry” or poetry inspired by the Gothic.

Despite geographic differences and historical contexts, the reflexive and productive capacities of the Gothic in poetry, and of poetry itself, bring poetic works in affinity. Tragic histories are simultaneously past and present: past in the sense that events haunt us and remind us of our violent encounters but also present in the haunting as a continuation of these disaster consequences into the present. Expressing this Gothic sensibility, the poet speaks from a liminal stance. Thus poetry, perhaps, fits perfectly into the conception of a Global Gothic.

We welcome papers that take a flexible view of the Gothic, locating it in various cultural contexts and languages from the long 18th century to the 21st century. We also welcome those who take a more historicist view of the Gothic to …read more


‘York and the Georgian City: Past, Present, and Future’: Conference Details

By Amy Wilcockson

York Georgian Society and the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, University of York

Saturday 18th May 2024, 10.15-7.00

‘York and the Georgian City: Past, Present, and Future’

The aim of this conference is to re-evaluate the notion of York as a Georgian city, which was one of the founding premises of the York Georgian Society in 1939. It will examine to what extent York can be described as a ‘Georgian’ city, and whether that label is relevant or meaningful in the present day.

This is the first conference organised by the York Georgian Society, in conjunction with the Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies at the University of York. It will be held in the beautiful and historic King’s Manor just outside the city walls; historically this is the most important building in York after the Minster.

The keynote lectures will be given by Professor Rosemary Sweet of the University of Leicester, and Madeleine Pelling, historian, writer, and broadcaster. Others speakers are from the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at the University of York: Professor Jon Mee, Dr Matt Jenkins, and PhD students Constance Halstead and Rachel Feldberg. The day ends with a round table to discuss issues raised on the day and a reception.

You can find a …read more


London-Paris Romanticism Seminar: Matthew Sangster, Friday 23 February 2024, Senate House, London


The next meeting of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar will take place on Friday 23 February 2024 in the Bloomsbury Room (G35, ground floor), Senate House, University of London, starting at 5.30 pm. As our distinguished guest speaker, we are delighted to welcome Professor Matthew Sangster of the University of Glasgow, who will deliver a paper entitled Mainstreams and Margins: Libraries, Borrowing and Reading in Romantic-Period Scotland. This will be followed by a discussion and wine reception. The seminar will be chaired by Gregory Dart.

The event is free and open to everyone, including postgraduates and members of the public. No booking is required.

Matthew Sangster is Professor of Romantic Studies, Fantasy and Cultural History at the University of Glasgow. He is the author of Living as an Author in the Romantic Period (2021) and An Introduction to Fantasy (2023) and editor of Institutions of Literature, 1700-1900 (with Jon Mee, 2022), Remediating the 1820s (with Jon Mee, 2023), Realms of Imagination: Essays from the Wide Worlds of Fantasy (with Tanya Kirk, 2023) and David Bowie and the Legacies of Romanticism (2023). He was external curator of the current British Library exhibition Fantasy: Realms of Imagination (to 25 February 2024, then …read more


Event: Midlands Romantic Seminar

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By Rosie Whitcombe

Dr. Madeleine Callaghan, 14 March

The University of Derby’s Enlightenment and Romanticism Research Cluster are thrilled to announce the return of the Midlands Romantic Seminar.

Our first in-person speaker, Dr Madeleine Callaghan (University of Sheffield), will speak on 14th March at 6pm at the University of Derby’s Kedleston Road campus. Madeleine’s talk is titled, ”’The Magic Circle There”: Inner and Outer Worlds in Shelley’s Lyrics’. A synopsis follows below:

Shelley’s poetry enshrines struggle in terms of how the single self seeks and finds connection. That connection so often seems ‘forever sought, forever lost’, with Shelley writing speakers, selves, ‘I’s that evince an impulse, even an urge, to unity which then precipitates a fall back into the self. The story of the self and its connection to others seems like it, to borrow Adonais‘s brilliantly distilled line, ‘Attracts to crush, repels to make thee wither’. What we see in Shelley’s poetry are wave-like structures that move between isolation and intimacy. We ride the crest of these waves as if with Shelley to learn the movement between an alienated selfhood and the dream of complete connection, and back again. Shelley’s poetry sways between these two poles. …read more


Tree Talks: Tree, Tourism, and the Lakes

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By Rosie Whitcombe

19 March 2024, 8pm-9.30pm GMT

Event Details

In his Guide to the Lakes, William Wordsworth famously denounces the larch tree (Larix decidua) as a ‘spiky tree’ that causes ‘injury’ and ‘deformity’ to his Lakeland landscape. The poet took issue with the ‘vegetable manufactory’ of this tree species and questioned both its visual appeal and monetary value for contemporary landowners. Using Wordsworth’s views of this tree—and representations of other tree species across his writings—as a starting point, this Tree Talk will address the relationship(s) between trees, tourism, and biodiversity in the Lake District in the early nineteenth-century. Moreover, it will consider the relevance and inheritance of these interconnected discourses to how we understand trees, their cultural significance, and ecological place within and beyond the Lakes, today.


  • Dr John Lovseth (Principia College, USA)
  • Professor Nick Mason (Brigham Young University, USA)
  • Professor Saeko Yoshikawa (Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Japan)

What are ‘Tree Talks’?

Tree Talks is a series of online discussions about tree-oriented research, interests, and activism in the environmental humanities and beyond. It aims to bring together experts from different research disciplines and to create a space to disseminate, explore, and forge links between a diverse range of tree topics that are relevant to our past, …read more


Hundredth Five Questions

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By Isabelle Murray

We’ve recently published our hundredth Five Questions interview on the BARS Blog – not quite within the blog’s first ten years, but not far off. If you want to catch up on the blogs you might have missed, here are the latest ten to get you started:

David Bowie and the Legacies of Romanticism

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By Isabelle Murray

New Romantic Circles Praxis Series Volume

Edited by Matthew Sangster (University of Glasgow)

While modern scholars often focus on examining Romantic-period works’ receptions around the times of their original publications, Romanticism is in many respects an event that continues to happen. Assumptions propagated by its major texts and authors strongly determine how we think and feel about a vast range of subjects, including nature, consciousness, art, and selfhood. This volume explores such patterns of influence by focusing on an artist who was shaped in part by inherited Romantic discourses, but who was also capable both of resisting them and of realizing new aspects of their potential. While sixties rock stars often presented themselves as unreconstructedly Romantic, David Bowie offered a series of self-aware alternatives to this model, challenging many of its underlying assumptions about masculinity, sexuality, genius, aesthetics, and performance. His oeuvre engages with common Romantic-period themes—including space, childhood, identity, artistry, and the liberating power of images—but it also pushes forward in manners that iterate on, improve, and sometimes reject Romantic conceptions. Through examining this multifaceted and self-consciously constructed artist and his works, these five essays by Joanna E. Taylor, Beatrice Turner, Emily Bernhard-Jackson, Matthew Sangster, and Forest Pyle explore how Romantic-period …read more


On This Day in 1824: The African Theatre and Ira Aldridge

By Amy Wilcockson

On January 19, 1824, New York City’s African Theatre staged its last known production: a one-man character sketch show performed by its principal actor James Hewlett.[1] The theatre had opened in 1821, when William Alexander Brown, a businessman, theater producer, and playwright, established it as an outgrowth of the African Grove, a backyard “ice cream garden” or “tea-garden,” which offered music and refreshments and was located at 38 Thomas St. in present-day Tribeca.[2] The first to feature an all-Black acting troupe and the first created for the entertainment of New York’s Black community, the African Theatre staged its first performance on September 17, 1821: Colley Cibber’s adaptation of Richard III, starring James Hewlett.

The African Theatre offered its audiences a program of opera, ballet, pantomime, and classical and modern drama, including Shakespeare’s Othello and the abovementioned Richard III; John Home’s Douglas; Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s Pizarro; John O’Keefe’s comic opera The Poor Soldier, the pantomimes of Don Juan; or, The Libertine Destroyed by Carlo Delpini, and Obi; or, Three-Fingered Jack by John Fawcett; and William Thomas Moncrieff’s Tom and Jerry, or Life in London. Brown himself authored for his company the first-known play by a Black American, The Drama of …read more


BARS 2024: Close of Call and Leeway for Final Submissions

By Amy Wilcockson

Dear All,

Many thanks to everyone who’s submitted proposals for papers or sessions for ‘Romantic Making and Unmaking’ – it’s been brilliant watching the flood of great research ideas come in over the past few weeks. The conference is shaping up to be big, buzzy and exciting, both in Glasgow and online.

As we’ve approached the last hours of the call, we’ve had a few people get in touch asking for some flexibility with the deadline. The reasons given have been good, so we’ve offered these people a bit of extra time. In the spirit of fairness to anyone who’s in difficult circumstances and wasn’t able to email, we’ll be keeping the proposal forms open to everyone for another week (until Friday January 26th). At that point, though, we’ll need to close submissions, as we need to lock in room bookings and work through all the abstracts so that we can get send acceptances allowing plenty of room for booking travel and accommodation.

The Call for Papers and forms to submit your abstracts are here:

With best wishes,

The BARS 2024 Conference Committee

…read more


Stephen Copley Research Report: Elisa Cozzi on Italy and the Irish Romantics

By Isabelle Murray

Italy and the Irish Romantics: Networks, Nations, and Literary Encounters 1798-1848

Figure 1: Iveagh House, St Stephen’s Green, Dublin, now the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. Formerly known as Mount Cashell House, the Dublin residence of the Earl of Mount Cashell.

My doctoral project explores the literary connections between Italy and Ireland in the fifty years spanning the 1798 United Irishmen Rebellion and the European waves of revolutions of 1848. It hinges on the recuperation of previously unexamined manuscript material that circulated across a series of interconnected literary networks in Ireland and Italy. The Moira House set in Dublin, the Shelley circle in Pisa, and the Accademia dei Lunatici, also active in Pisa, are among the coteries discussed in my thesis. Thanks to the support of a BARS Stephen Copley Research Award, I was able to travel to Ireland and Italy for two separate research trips: I spent three and a half days at the Royal Irish Academy in Dublin in August 2023, and another three days at the Biblioteca Labronica in Livorno (Leghorn) in December 20231. The two trips had similar aims: consulting the unpublished papers of various members of the Moira circle and the Accademia dei Lunatici looking for evidence …read more