Month: December 2016

Eighteenth-Century Research Seminars 2017 Programme

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Eighteenth-Century Research Seminars 2017 Programme
University of Edinburgh

All seminars will be held at the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities,
University of Edinburgh, from 4:30-6pm.

Wednesday 25th January

Ben Rogers, University of Edinburgh
‘‘An Unexpected Solution or a Political Imposition?’: Scottish Episcopalian Toleration, 1702-1712’

Carys Brown, University of Cambridge
‘‘A dissembling Harlot for a leacherous wolf’: sexual reputation and religious coexistence in England, c.1689-1750′

Wednesday 8th February

Nicola Martin, University of Stirling
‘Improvement, Stadial Theory, and the Pacification of the Highlands in
the mid-Eighteenth Century’

Thomas Archambaud, Independent
‘‘The Highland Bard and the Prime Minister: James Macpherson, Lord Bute and the politics of Scottish patronage in the age of Enlightenment”’

Wednesday 22nd February

Sydney Ayres, University of Edinburgh
‘Representing Robert Adam: Biography, Portraiture & Memory’

Nel Whiting, University of Dundee
‘‘if they hang not in proper Places, they will not have a good Effect’:
Portraiture, Place and Position’

Wednesday 1st March

Elizabeth Ford, University of Glasgow
‘“I can think of nothing but that flute”: General John Reid (1721-1807)’

Alice Little, University of Oxford
‘Categorising ‘national music’ in eighteenth-century Oxford’

Wednesday 15th March

William Swain, University of Edinburgh
‘Adam Ferguson, Freidrich von Gentz, and the decline of the Martial Spirit’

John Stone (Universitat de Barcelona)
‘The Cultural Work of the Royal Scots College (Valladolid), 1770-1808: Cosmopolitanism, Diaspora, the ‘National Feeling’ and Library Formation’

Wednesday 22nd March

Catherine Ellis, Durham University
‘How to understand the sex worker at the table: gastrocritical approaches to eighteenth-century French prostitution’

Jessica Hamel-Akré, University of Montreal
‘“Oh, when shall I be holy?”: Reading and Writing Women’s Eighteenth-Century Self-Starvation’

Wednesday 12th April

Hannah Lund, University of Edinburgh
‘Enthroned: The Sitter’s Chair of Sir Joshua Reynolds 1760-1879’

Suchitra Choudhury, University of Glasgow
‘Fashion and Textiles: A Postcolonial Reading of Sir Walter Scott’

Wednesday 26th April

Charlotte Bassett, University of Edinburgh
‘Lady Margaret Hamilton: Patroness of Hopetoun’

Amy Boyington, University of Cambridge
‘Elite wives and architecture in eighteenth-century Britain’


Week in Review – 18 December

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This week’s Week in Review post is very much a mixed bag of journals, blog posts, exhibitions, books, CFPs, and prizes.

First up, is the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibition, Shakers and Movers: Selections from the Collection of Dr. Thomas and Jan Pavlovic, which is on from December 2016 until the Fall of 2017. Exploring the relationship between religious experience and making, the exhibition considers Shakers in the larger context of American furniture production. I was also interested to read about the Werkbund Archive – Museum of Things’ exhibitionObject Lessons: The Story of Material Education in 8 Chapters, which ‘recounts the story of learning with, about, and through materials in eight chapters: in science, at school, in commerce, craft, and at home, in novels and movies, in the archive and on the Internet’. The exhibition runs until April 2017.

I’m hugely excited by the new special issue of 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, which focuses on ‘The Arts and Feeling‘, and promises to be an important contribution to the history of emotional objects. Read online here.  I was also intrigued to see that the first issue of the peer-reviewed journal Art History Pedagogy & Practice has now been published, which includes articles on ‘Looking Beyond the Canon: Localized and Globalized Perspectives in Art History Pedagogy’ and ‘De-Centering “The” Survey: The Value of Multiple Introductory Surveys to Art History’. As many regular readers will know, I’m hugely passionate about having conversations over the the idea of canonicity and its worth in doing and teaching history of art, so I can’t wait to read this.

A number of forthcoming events, books, and prizes will interest those doing work on the Romantic period. These include the newly instated British Association for Romantic Studies First Book Prize; Andrew Burkett’s new book Romantic Mediations; the London & Southeast Romanticism Seminar on ‘Romantic Novels 1817’; and the 2017 Wordsworth Winter School, on ‘Wordsworth and Friendship’, held at Rydal Hall in February.

The following CFPs also caught my attention:

The CFP for the Women, Money and Markets (1750-1850) conference (King’s College, London)

The CFP for the Design and Displacement conference (New York, 7-8 April 2017)

The CFP for the fascinating-sounding Writing Impressionism Into and Out of Art History
conference (London, 3-4 November 2017)

And finally, the CFP for the University of York’s Powerful Emotions / Emotions & Power c. 400-1850 conference, which looks fantastic and immediately follows the International Society for Social and Cultural History’s annual conference, which in 2017 similarly focuses on emotion. 

I also read a number of fascinating blog posts on gender and sexuality this week, including: Felicity Nussbaum’s postCROSS-DRESSING ACTRESSES: INTO THE BREECHES‘, Victoria Russell’s post on Notches Blog on ‘The Romantic Concept of Psychological Androgyny‘, and (following last week’s recommendation for the Age of Revolutions blog’s recent series on alcohol and revolution) Dr Margery Masterson’s postPunch drunk: Social drinking, masculinity and Empire‘, on the Imperial Measure’s blog (a whole project examining Alcohol, Health & Medicine in Colonial India).

Finally, I noted that there were a number of fascinating-sounding books available for review at the Journal for the Study of Radicalism – get in touch with the editor if you’re interested.

Abstract for Sibylline Leaves: Chaos and Compilation in the Romantic Period

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I was thrilled to find out that I’ll be presenting my paper ‘A literary inheritance: Romantic family histories and textual afterlives in the commonplace books of Ellen Warter’ at next year’s Sibylline Leaves: Chaos and Compilation in the Romantic Period conference. This exciting conference brings together a number of fascinating approaches to Romantic cultural and material practices, and focuses on ‘the composition, publication and reception of romantic poetry in relation to a diverse range of collections and composite texts: miscellanies, anthologies and beauties, multi-volume or serialised fiction, magazines and newspapers, annuals and albums, common-place books and notebooks, catalogues and guidebooks, encyclopaedias and dictionaries.’ My abstract for the conference is included below.

A literary inheritance: Romantic family histories and textual afterlives in the commonplace books of Ellen Warter, Freya Gowrley (University of Edinburgh)

This paper will focus on two commonplace books made c.1885 by Ellen Warter, the granddaughter of the Romantic poet Robert Southey, now held at the Centre for Research Collections at the University of Edinburgh. Though at first glance the volumes denote Warter’s participation in the rather usual Victorian practice of album production, sustained attention to the books and their compiled contents suggests their deeper significance for studies of nineteenth-century literary culture. More than the sum of their parts, Warter’s commonplace books are not only a collection of individual details and textual clippings, but also evoke the broader contexts of authorship, celebrity, and collaboration.

Warter’s commonplace books are quite unlike ‘conventional’ examples of the genre, which traditionally compile excerpted texts from a broad array of writers on a variety of topics. Instead, Warter devoted over 300 pages of her volumes to the lives and literature of the Brontë family, who were the objects of her sustained estimation, affection, and documentation. This specific emphasis upon the Brontës relates Warter’s albums to a specific type of album-making: namely, the production of volumes dedicated to literary celebrities, a practice enacted throughout the nineteenth century. Beyond this fascination with the Brontës however, the practice of commonplacing was firmly intertwined with Warter’s own family history. As the granddaughter of Robert Southey, she was part of a family whose own commonplacing and album-making spanned several generations. Warter’s grandfather, aunts, mother, and father all made, or contributed to the production of, composite volumes, a literary inheritance that places Warter’s own productions within a longer history and set of material practices. Crucially, such practices were also enacted within the broader Romantic circle, with Southey contributing to the volumes of his friends’ daughters, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Caroline Bowles, Charles Lamb, and Edward Quillinan reciprocally adding poems to the albums of Edith Southey, Warter’s mother. For Warter then, commonplacing was not only an educative practice, but an inherently social one, with her compilation of ‘Brontëana’ consistent with the collective practices of her own extended literary family.

Employing the framework of the object biography, the paper will consider Warter’s commonplace books in terms of literary assemblage, tracing the volumes’ constitutive elements as they passed from one literary form into the next. At the same time, the paper will demonstrate how the books were inherently biographical objects, redolent with potent familial association, both of Warter’s own family, and that of the Brontës. The paper will accordingly situate Warter’s commonplace books in relation to both contemporary examples of ‘Brontëana’ and the broader album production of the Southey family and social circle. In so doing, it will highlight the importance of composite works to collective Romantic literary production, as well as their enduring legacy in the late-nineteenth century, thereby troubling traditional divisions between the Romantic and Victorian literary traditions, and demonstrating the disruptive nature of periodization.

Week in Review – 11 December

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It’s been a few weeks since my last Week in Review, so this week is a bit of a bumper post of exhibitions, conferences, talks, articles, and CFPs – enjoy!

7.-lycidas.jpgCharlotte Brontë, Lycidas, Watercolour drawing, March 4, 1835. Copied from a print after painting by Henry Fuseli. Brontë Parsonage Museum.


First up, I want to highlight The Morgan Library & Museum’s exhibition Charlotte Brontë: An Independent Will, which includes many examples of her juvenalia, as explored in this beautifully-written and illustrated article in The Paris Review.

Secondly, the Bard Graduate Center’s exhibition Charles Percier: Architecture and Design in an Age of Revolutions, which runs until February 5, 2017 and is the first large-scale exhibition to survey the French architect and interior designer. The Center recently hosted an accompanying symposium on Percier: Antiquity and Empire, which can be viewed on the centre’s youtube channel (which also features this rather good recent talk on Eames, by the hugely important design historian Pat Kirkham).

Thirdly, the forthcoming exhibition of Maria Sibylla Merian’s work, Maria Merian’s Butterflies, which will be at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse from 17 March 2017. There will be an accompanying conference (Changing the Nature of Art and Science: Intersections with Maria Sibylla Merian) from 7-9 June 2017, in Amsterdam.

Conferences and CFPs

  • the CFP for the Handling, Placing and Looking at Photographs conference, Florence, 12-13 Oct 17
  • the CFP for Spaces of Remembering and Forgetting: An Interdisciplinary Conference 
  • the CFP for the The Art of Remembrance: Family, Art and Memory in New England
  • the Kitchens and Kitchen Gardens conference, 18 Jan 2017, London
  • the Women as art critics in 18thC conference 25 Feb 2017, Chawton House Library
  • the CFP for the Graduate Student Symposium – History of 19th-Century Art, New York, 26 Mar 17
  • the CFC for Age and Gender: Ageing in the Nineteenth Century, a Nineteenth Century Gender Studies special issue
Books and Journals 

I’m super excited for Heidi Thomson’s new book, Coleridge and the Romantic Newspaper: The Morning Post and the Road to Dejection, which will undoubtedly be an important resource for work on Romantic reading practices.

The past month has also featured a new issues from a number of innovative online journals and publishing outlets, including:

Blog Posts & Websites 

I don’t think I’ve spoken before about my love of the Age of Revolutions blog. This increased exponentially this month thanks to their multi-part series on alcohol in its revolutionary contexts and which featured posts on the ‘TRANS-IMPERIAL GEOGRAPHIES OF RUM: PRODUCTION AND CIRCULATION‘, ‘THE FALSE HOPE OF CORN STALK RUM DURING THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION‘, ‘INTOXICATION AND THE FRENCH REVOLUTION‘, and ‘RUM, OATHS, AND SLAVE UPRISINGS IN THE AGE OF REVOLUTION‘. The series has been a fascinating look at how the quotidian and the political intersect.

I’ve also been enjoying the Romantic Illustration Network‘s Image of the Month series. This time, it was Theodore von Holst’s ‘Frankenstein’ (1831), which is discussed at length in Ian Haywood’s fascinating post on the image.

Finally, I’ve found source lists such as Mark Carrigan’s post The Sociology of Trump: An Initial Reading List, or The New Inquiry’s post A Time for Treason, to be invaluable resources in the wake of November’s Presidential election.

Kind of an #AcWriMo post – Writing Groups

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Each year I try (and usually fail) to participate in #AcWriMo, and write a corresponding post on this blog. You can read 2014’s and 2015’s posts here and here. This year, I had a vague #AcWriMo plan. As ever, I wanted to write more, but I didn’t have specific goals and I wasn’t at a point in my research process where I could spend a full month writing many thousands of words. What I did end up doing this year however, ended up being even more important than my previous frustrated attempts at participation. Inspired by a twitter conversation with @LucieWhitmore we set up a weekly writing group, something that has completely changed my attitude towards writing.

I’ve written before about being a habitual binge writer. Someone who spends vast chunks of time writing and revising in advance of an ever-looming deadline. I don’t write daily. There’s always a valid reason: too much teaching prep, too many emails, too many job applications to do instead. And this term has been no exception – I’ve been teaching five classes a week on two different courses, and have fired off numerous job and fellowship applications since October. What has made the difference however, is the writing group, which has made writing a non-negotiable part of my week. Like teaching, writing is now deliberately and specifically factored in to my week. I can’t not attend, as I’ll be letting my fellow group members down. I can’t do anything else whilst there but write, thanks to the gentle peer-pressure that attendance exerts.  It’s this non-negotiability that is so important. Writing was always the first thing to go, but now (thanks to twice weekly sessions) I know I have dedicated writing time each week.

The group roughly employs the format from TORCH’s own Academic Writing Group, which you can find more information about here. There’s a lot of great literature on starting you own academic writing group available online, but this post on Pat Thomson’s blog Patter is an excellent starting point.

For me, our little Writing Group has fixed an issue that I was long trying to achieve via my participation in #AcWriMo – establishing better writing routines. And while I’m not quite at the point of maintaining a daily writing practice, this seems more achievable than ever before.