Five Questions: Hannah Doherty Hudson on Romantic Fiction and Literary Excess in the Minerva Press Era

By Matthew Sangster

Hannah Doherty Hudson is Associate Professor of English at Suffolk University in Boston. Her interests include Romantic-era fiction, intertextuality, periodical culture, the affordances of biography and the commercial history of print. Her new monograph, Romantic Fiction and Literary Excess in the Minerva Press Era, which we discuss below, was published by Cambridge University Press earlier this year.

1) How did you first become interested in the Minerva Press?

I first became interested in the Minerva Press while I was preparing for my PhD oral exams — I was doing a lot of reading about Romantic fiction and gothic novels and I started to notice that only one publishing house was ever mentioned by name in the scholarship I was working through. Before doing my PhD I had worked for a large trade book publisher with many, many imprints, so this caught my attention. I started to wonder what exactly the “Minerva Press” was, and why it seemed to be the only publishing company to have an imprint name that differed from the publisher’s name (e.g. Longman or Johnson). It was also very clear that the press’s name had a negative connotation, and I was very interested in the …read more


Nineteenth Century Studies Association: Call For Papers, “Thresholds”, 45th Annual Conference

By Rosie Whitcombe

Louisville, Kentucky March 14-16, 2024

Proposal Deadline: September 30, 2023


From its early history as an important trading hub along the Ohio River, Louisville, Kentucky stood as an important gateway between the south and the north as well as between the east and west. As the city grew rapidly throughout the nineteenth century due to its favorable geography, it served as a threshold to nearby Indiana enslaved people longing for freedom and simultaneously as one of the largest centers for the trade and trafficking of enslaved individuals. Despite Kentucky remaining within the Union, many in the state sympathized with the Confederacy, and the political clout of Confederate soldiers returning after the Civil War earned Louisville its reputation as the city that joined the Confederacy after the war was over. During reconstruction and into the twentieth century, the city continued to wrestle with its history while also creating opportunities for those newly freed. Thus, the image of Louisville as a threshold offers fruitful ground for considering the individuals, institutions, conditions, and movements that shape the nineteenth century.

As an interdisciplinary organization, we welcome (15-20 minute) papers and submissions that explore thresholds from a broad range of …read more


Notices and Events: Davy’s Notebooks Project

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By Amy Wilcockson

Dear all,

We have a number of important things to tell you about. Firstly, I’m writing partly to urge you to please continue to transcribe Davy’s Notebooks. We are supposed to get everything done and online by the beginning of next year, but there’s still so much to do. Transcription rates seem to be slowing down and we still have about 1000 pages to transcribe. Please do as much as you can to get us over the finish line on time and encourage others to help too!

Secondly, we have substantially revised and updated our online course on Humphry Davy and will run it again, with a start date of Monday 9th October 2023. You can enrol here:

We’ve developed the course to include some of the findings that we’ve made during the last few years on the Davy Notebooks Project. This course will tell you about Davy’s life and career and give you some context to any transcription that you’ve been doing on the project (it may also be of interest to students, family, friends, etc etc).

The course has weeks on: Davy’s life and his historical times; his chemical experiments and lectures in the …read more


University Short Courses at Wordsworth Grasmere

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By Amy Wilcockson

Experience the magic of the archive and get up-close with the past with hands-on experiential courses at Wordsworth Grasmere.

‘…the highlight was most definitely the manuscript session: holding an original manuscript from hundreds of years ago in your hands and getting to read the same lines you studied is just an incredible feeling.’ – Student

‘I have a whole new appreciation for Wordsworth, poetry in general, and a whole new mindset that I would have never gained if it wasn’t for the people I met here and the experiences that I’ve had.’ – Student

These tailored experiential courses, which can be delivered in-person or online, will give your students the insights to interpret the past in new and imaginative ways. Skills in close looking, enquiry, discussion and problem solving will be invaluable both during and beyond their time at university. The writing and lives of the Wordsworths in Dove Cottage 200 years ago will come to life through detailed investigation of manuscripts, creative workshops – and simply spending reflective time in this very special place.

‘It was such a treat to explore the cottage and its grounds as well as the artifacts, manuscripts, and remnants of the Wordsworths’ lives. Jeff did such a wonderful …read more


Call for Applications: John Galt Society Research Grant

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By Isabelle Murray

The John Galt Society welcomes applications for a grant (of up to £300) to defray expenses incurred in connection with research into the works, life or influence of John Galt. Eligible expenses might include transportation to libraries or archives, lodging near libraries or archives (if distant from the researcher’s home), fees or technology costs involved in on-site or on-line access (such as copying or scanning, permissions or equipment requirements). Research projects should have the goal of shedding new light on Galt’s significance in literature, history, socio-political thought or economics. Projects that situate Galt in other fields are also welcome.

Eligible applicants are advanced graduate students (students enrolled in PhD programs at universities around the world); early career scholars (scholars whose doctoral degrees date no more than three years before the application and who have held a permanent or secure academic position for no more than three years), contingent faculty (scholars with PhD degrees who hold part-time or temporary academic positions) or independent scholars (scholars with PhD degrees who do not hold academic positions).

The Grant will be awarded annually. Previous recipients may apply for a second time, but preference will be given to first-time applicants. Applications should be emailed to the Administrator …read more


Call for papers: Romantic Boundaries (special issue of Romantic Textualities)

By Rosie Whitcombe

This June, the BARS Early Career and Postgraduate Conference gathered researchers from around the globe to celebrate and to appreciate Romanticism and its legacies at the University of Edinburgh by exploring the theme of ‘boundaries’ within the context of Romantic-period literature and thought. The Oxford English Dictionary defines the term ‘boundary’ as: ‘That which serves to indicate the bounds or limits of anything whether material or immaterial; also the limit itself.’ Such a term seems at odds with the spirit of Romanticist thought, which has long been associated with mobility and boundlessness. Conference delegates aptly addressed the complexity of the concept through various representations of boundaries – both tangible and intangible – from a wide range of viewpoints. To continue such a diverse critical dialogue, in collaboration with Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780–1840 (, we plan to produce a special ‘Romantic Boundaries’ edition of the journal. To widen the scope of our scholarly conversation, not only do we welcome all the conference delegates to consider expanding their conference papers for publications, but we also invite researchers and scholars in general for submissions.

Echoing our conference theme, topics of interest may include, but are …read more


CFP–Romantic Boundaries (Special Issue of Romantic Textualities)

By Anthony Mandal This June, the BARS Early Career and Postgraduate Conference gathered researchers from around the globe to celebrate and to appreciate Romanticism and its legacies at the University of Edinburgh by exploring the theme of ‘boundaries’ … Continue reading …read more


“Romantic Horizons: Pushing the Boundaries of Romantic Studies”, (Online Joint Symposium)

By Rosie Whitcombe

Romantic Dialogues and Legacies, Department of English Studies presents a Transcontinental Joint Symposium featuring decorated panels from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana , USA and Durham University, UK. “Romantic Horizons: Pushing the Boundaries of Romantic Studies” will be held online and hosted via Zoom on November 17, 2023 at 3.30 pm UK time. The event focuses on a broad range of writers and themes from John Clare, Disability Studies, a re-discovered Henry Kirke White to the politics of Romantic reading, Jane Austen, PB Shelley as well as Hart Crane among others.

University of Notre Dame Panel

  • Laura Betz, “John Clare: Sonnets and Nests”
  • Essaka Joshua, “Disability Studies and Romanticism: Staging Interventions”
  • Greg Kucich, “‘We poor pilgrims in this dreary maze’: Henry Kirke White and the Broken Boundaries of the ‘Uneducated Poets’”
  • Ian Newman, “Beyond the Ballad: Sea Songs and Shanties”
  • Yasmin Solomonescu, “Reimagining Persuasion in British Romantic Literature”

Durham University Panel

  • Emily Rohrbach, “Romantic Contingencies and the Politics of Reading”
  • Sarah Wotton, “Post-Romantic Relations: Percy Bysshe Shelley and Emily Brontë”
  • Mark Sandy, “’The Silken Skilled Transmemberment of Song’ : P. B. Shelley, Romantic Quest, and Hart Crane”

The duration of each presentation is 15 minutes and each panel leads up to to an interactive discussion at the end of the …read more


Archive Spotlight: Humphry Davy’s Notebooks and the Navy

By Amy Wilcockson

We really need your help in completing the project to transcribe Humphry Davy’s notebooks… Read on to see something of Davy’s life two hundred years ago and the kinds of scandal your transcription could unearth…

In January 1823, Humphry Davy was asked by the Commissioners of the Navy Board to investigate why the copper sheeting on the bottom of ships was corroding, reducing the speed of these vessels greatly. He regarded the matter as one of national importance and immediately referred it to the Council of the Royal Society. They set up a Committee but it was Davy alone who investigated the matter. He was sent samples of the copper used to sheathe two naval ships, the HMS Batavia (a former floating battery that was disposed of in 1823) and Leonidas (a thirty-six-gun fifth-rate frigate launched in 1807). The way that Davy felt called to action, and the patriotic fervour with which he responded, was not unlike the earlier episode of the miners’ safety lamp in 1816. The two episodes would end in a similarly less than ideal manner.

Sir Humphry Davy, Bt by Thomas Phillips

At this point in his life, Davy was largely a man of leisure, …read more


BARS/K-SAA Monograph Publishing Roundtable and Q&A

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By Amy Wilcockson

An expert panel demystifies the process of publishing a monograph in Romantic Studies, responding to your questions.

Date and time

Wed, 27 September 2023, 17:00 – 18:30 BST

Tickets available here!

At BARS’ recent Romantic Boundaries conference, a roundtable on publishing in journals revealed there was considerable appetite for an event demystifying monograph publishing in Romantic Studies. In concert with the Keats-Shelley Association of America, BARS has put together a digital roundtable to try and help with this. This roundtable will be chaired by Matthew Sangster (University of Glasgow/BARS) and Kate Singer (Mount Holyoke College/K-SAA) and will feature the following contributors:

  • Rebecca Colesworthy, Senior Acquisitions Editor at SUNY Press
  • Ben Doyle, Publisher for Literary Studies at Bloomsbury (and formerly Emerald and Palgrave)
  • Tim Fulford, co-editor of the Liverpool University Press series Romantic Reconfigurations: Studies in Literature and Culture 1780-1850
  • Patricia A. Matthew, co-editor of Oxford University Press’s Race in Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture series
  • Bethany Thomas, Commissioning Editor for Literature at Cambridge University Press

The roundtable will begin with short introductions, but the bulk of the time will be committed to answering questions. These can either be asked live or submitted in advance (please email and by Monday September 18th so we can pre-circulate to our contributors).

The …read more