Stephen Copley Research Report: Laura Blunsden on Ignatius Sancho

By Anna Mercer

Follow Laura Blunsden on Twitter.

Thanks to the support of the BARS Stephen Copley Research Award, I was able to visit the manuscript archives at the British Library in London this month to conduct my research into the personal life of Ignatius Sancho.

My PhD thesis focuses on mentoring relationships in eighteenth-century literary culture. Unlike other, more formal kinds of educational relationships, mentorship involves reciprocal learning and mutual involvement; I suggest that mentoring facilitates a complex, non-linear version of personal development through sustained dialogue. Mentoring often takes place outside of an institutional structure, so my research often requires me to draw on letters and diary entries to explore the personal experiences of authors.

In the second chapter of my thesis, I explore the mentoring relationship between the novelist Laurence Sterne and Ignatius Sancho, the abolitionist writer and composer. Sancho’s self-deprecating manner towards members of London’s cultural elite; his apologies for his ignorance as a ‘thick-lipped son of Afric!’; comparisons of his ‘poor black brethren’ to dogs; and complaints of ‘worse than Negro barbarity’, have led critics to condemn him as a ‘ludicrous, preening traitor to his race’.[1] His posthumously published Letters of the late Ignatius Sancho, an African …read more


New BARS Communications Assistants 2022-23

      No Comments on New BARS Communications Assistants 2022-23

By Anna Mercer

We received a number of very high quality applications for the BARS Communications Assistant 2022-23 position. The Executive Committee are delighted to announce that there will be two new Assistants working on the BARS Blog and social media in the next academic year:

Francesca Killoran is a MPhil student at the University of York’s English Department where she also earned her BA and MA in Literature of the Romantic Period. Her research focuses on depictions of sex work across the eighteenth century and the Romantic Period. She was previously the BARS Digital Events Fellow. Follow Francesca on Twitter.

Amy Wilcockson is a PhD researcher at the University of Nottingham. Her research is concentrated on editing the letters of the neglected Scottish Romantic poet, Thomas Campbell (1777-1844). She has previously been a Keats-Shelley Association of America (K-SAA) Communications Fellow 2020-22. Her work has been published in the TLS, History Today, and Studies in Scottish Literature. Follow Amy on Twitter.

More on what they have planned very soon!

With huge thanks to our excellent outgoing Communications Assistant Jack Orchard.

…read more


Call for Papers: ‘Romanticism and Heavy Metal’ Anthology

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Editors: James Rovira and Julian Knox

The editors welcome chapter proposals for the forthcoming anthology Romanticism and Heavy Metal. Like the collections Rock and Romanticism: Blake, Wordsworth, and Rock from Dylan to U2 (Lexington 2018), Rock and Romanticism: Post-Punk, Goth, and Metal as Dark Romanticisms (Palgrave Macmillan 2018), David Bowie and Romanticism (forthcoming Palgrave Macmillan 2022), and Women in Rock/Women in Romanticism (forthcoming Routledge 2022), Romanticism and Heavy Metal seeks to interpret heavy metal as a cultural, artistic, and musical phenomenon using the historical insights and theoretical tools provided by the study of Romanticism.

As in previous collections, “Romanticism” is broadly conceived as a cultural, literary, artistic, philosophical, and musical movement first identified and named in the late eighteenth century without being limited in scope to that period. As a result, the relationship between metal and Romanticism should not be considered only in terms of influence: metal is or can be Romanticism. “Heavy metal” is conceived as a late twentieth-century world musical phenomenon inclusive of a wide array of sub- and micro-genres that has its origins in the sonic and thematic innovations of 1960s and 70s bands such as Iron Butterfly, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, and Judas Priest that continues …read more


Five Questions: An Inventive Age: Writing of the Industrial Revolution, 1770–1830

By Matthew Sangster

An Inventive Age: Writing of the Industrial Revolution, 1770–1830, Studies in Romanticism, 61.2 (Summer 2022). Cover featuring a watercolour by Thomas Hornor, c. 1817, of the rolling mills at Merthyr Tydfil, from the National Museum of Wales.

Below, we discuss the Summer 2022 special issue of Studies in Romanticism, guest-edited by Jeremy Davies and entitled An Inventive Age: Writing of the Industrial Revolution, 1770–1830. The contributors are as follows:

Siobhan Carroll is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Delaware. Her first book was An Empire of Air and Wa­ter: Uncolonizable Space in the British Imagination, 1750–1850 (Pennsylvania, 2015), and her current book project is on improvement, agency, and Ro­mantic narrative form.

Jeremy Davies is an Associate Professor of English at the Uni­versity of Leeds. His last book was The Birth of the Anthropocene (California, 2016), and his next is provisionally called ‘The Altered Landscape, 1793–1830.’

Eric Gidal is Professor of English at the University of Iowa and the editor of Philological Quarterly. His recent work includes Ossi­anic Unconformities: Bardic Poetry in the Industrial Age (Virginia, 2015), and articles on Scottish and French Romanticism and environmental history.

Nigel Leask is Regius …read more


BARS-UCSL Scottish Romanticism Research Award Report – Gerard McKeever on John Galt

By Jack Orchard

We are delighted to publish this report by Gerard Lee McKeever, the latest winner of the Scottish Romanticism Research Award. Postgraduates and postdoctoral scholars working in any area of Scottish literature (1740-1830) may apply for the jointly funded BARS-UCSL Scottish Romanticism Research Award. The executive committees of the British Association for Romantic Studies (BARS) and the Universities Committee for Scottish Literature (UCSL) have established the award to help fund expenses incurred through travel to Scottish libraries and archives, including universities other than the applicant’s own, up to a maximum of £300. For information on how to apply see here

Sketch of John Galt by Daniel Maclise (1830)

In June 2022, the BARS-UCSL Scottish Romanticism Research Award enabled me to spend a week working on John Galt’s correspondence in the National Library of Scotland in Edinburgh.

This research trip was in support of my forthcoming volume for the ‘Edinburgh Edition of the Works of John Galt‘ (series editor: Angela Esterhammer). I am editing Galt’s twin autobiographies, published in back-to-back years: The Autobiography of John Galt (1833) and The Literary Life, and Miscellanies, of John Galt (1834). My volume will be the first scholarly edition of either text: indeed the Literary Life …read more


BARS President’s Fellowship 2023

      No Comments on BARS President’s Fellowship 2023

By Anna Mercer

In June 2020, the British Association for Romantic Studies announced its unequivocal support of the Black community, its condemnation of all forms of racism and its commitment to practical action. In response to the enduring and systemic damage caused by racism, the BARS Executive commenced a programme of initiatives focused on the histories and literatures of People of Colour. Among these initiatives is the BARS President’s Fellowship, which was officially announced at last summer’s virtual conference, Romantic Disconnections/Reconnections 2021. Since the announcement, we have been finalising the technical details of the award, and are now delighted to be launching the first round for 2023.

The President’s Fellowship is open to scholars from Black, indigenous and other minority ethnic backgrounds working on any aspect of Romantic Studies to support research, teaching and/or public outreach expenses up to £1,500. Expenses may include, but are not limited to, costs emerging from: travel and accommodation for research-focused or archival visits; photocopying and digitisation; caring commitments; producing and circulating teaching resources; organising and delivering public outreach activities; setting up and running networks or collaborations; set-up and maintenance costs for online platforms such as blogs and websites.

BARS invites applications from postgraduate, early career and independent scholars. Awards …read more


On This Day in 1822 – Percy Shelley’s Gothic Authorship

By Jack Orchard

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.

The BARS ‘On This Day’ series marks July 8 2022, 200 years to the day from the death of Percy Bysshe Shelley, with a fascinating look at some of his lesser explored literary works. Fitting for the anniversary of his death, we bring you Molly Watson’s discussion of Shelley’s Gothic fictions Zastrozzi and St Irvyne, and the echoes these texts left in his final work, The Triumph of Life, which was unfinished when he passed away.

Carl H. Pforzheimer Collection of Shelley and His Circle, The New York Public Library. “Wolfstein; or, The mysterious bandit…” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1822.

On 8 July 1822, Percy Bysshe Shelley drowned at the Bay of Spezia, leaving his final poem, The Triumph of Life (1822), unfinished. As such, questions about Shelley’s authorship remain unanswered; the poet is, in effect, a posthumous fragment. But the complexities of Shelley’s literary identity can be felt in his Gothic fiction a decade earlier.[i]

In a letter dated 1812 to his future father-in-law, William Godwin, Shelley …read more


Romanticism: online resources list

      No Comments on Romanticism: online resources list

By Anna Mercer

Given the reliance of so many Romanticism scholars on digital research throughout the pandemic, it felt like a good time to update this list of online resources from 2020.

This list is still not complete yet, and we aim to continue to develop the list as time goes on. You can therefore still send us further resources to add to the list: We are extremely grateful to Professor Francesca Saggini, who is responsible for the rich representation of Romantic Theatre resources here.

Please do let us know if we have missed anything!


Open University Openlearn
Free resources on Romanticism. An OpenLearn search by writer’s name (e.g. Byron, Shelley, De Quincey, Wordsworth, Hoffmann, Austen etc) will return plenty of hits. Search also by module code: specifically A207, AA316. Resources include images, audio, video, animations, BBC programmes and teaching materials including seminar-style and independent activities, all geared to undergraduate level.

Romantic Textualities
An online resource on ‘Teaching Romanticism’, in which contributors consider the ways in which we lecture on and discuss individual authors, whether during author-specific modules or broader period surveys.

Final Bars Digi Event: Poetic Form and Biological Form

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

This roundtable, Poetic Form and Biological Form, addressed the explosion of experimental ideas about form in literature and the natural sciences in the Romantic period, seeking to generate insight and discussion on questions relating to poetics, biology, botany, epistemology and more. It explored questions of life, form, method, sensation, mind-world relations, and aim to establish connections with current models of emergent, enmeshed, and self-assembling forms to build on the wealth of recent scholarship relating to Romanticism and natural science. Our speakers included Tom Marshall (Queen Mary University of London), Merrilees Roberts (Independent Scholar), Nick Dodd (University of Leeds), Richard C. Sha (American University), Rowan Boyson (King’s College London), and Sharon Ruston (University of Lancaster).

Watch Poetic Form and Biological Form here.

…read more


CFP: Transformative Times

      No Comments on CFP: Transformative Times

By Emily Paterson-Morgan

Online, interdisciplinary conference

12th and 13th September 2022

The long-eighteenth century was a time of continual transformation. In the two hundred years between 1650 and 1850, rapid urbanisation turned small rural communities into thriving city centres; the Industrial Revolution remade the concept of ‘work,’ and reimagined the notion of progress; serial Revolutions in France, Haiti, Ireland, Greece and across the North and South continents of America berthed new forms of political thought; new literary genres and forms developed and redeveloped; and scientific discoveries and medical advancements catapulted society towards an age of ‘Enlightenment.’

We welcome proposals from all disciplines concerning the long-eighteenth century (1650-1850) with relevance to the theme of ‘transformation.’ We particularly welcome proposals that engage with our brief in unexpected and creative ways. We will accept proposals for 20 minute papers for inclusion in a standard panel format, as well as pre-prepared panels of up to three 20 minute papers.

  • Revolution and political transformation.
  • Transness, queerness, gender, and sexuality.
  • Representations of transformation in literature of the long-eighteenth century.
  • Transformations of literary forms and genres.
  • Spatial transformations (e.g. urbanisation, enclosure, the 1707 Acts of Union, imperialism).
  • Social transformations (e.g. emergence of the middle-class).
  • Scientific discovery and technological advancement.
  • Transformations in fashion, art, and/or architecture.

Please send abstracts of no more than …read more