My final ‘favourite collage’ that I’m going to share for my IASH twitter takeover are these windows, located in the Library at Plas Newydd, North Wales. Home to the so-called ‘Ladies of Llangollen’, Eleanor Bulter and Sarah Ponsonby, from around 1788 until 1831, Plas Newydd was (and still is) adorned with a rich collection of objects, many of them given to the women by their close friends, and subsequently integrated into the very fabric of their home.
This process of acquisition and integration is exemplified by the construction of the stained-glass windows of the house’s library. Employing glass variously found at Valle Crucis, a nearby ruined abbey; purchased from the Birmingham glass maker and painter, Francis Eginton; and donated by the women’s friends; the windows form an intoxicating bricolage of brightly coloured and fragmented glass, encompassing representations of biblical scenes, heraldry, foliate designs, abstract patterns, and block colour.
This included a casement of glass from their friend Mr Owen, who had recently removed the stained glass of his home, Brogyntyn Hall. While this gift has an obvious antiquarian significance, its relocation into the space of Plas Newydd built on this genealogical function to reinforce the relationship between donor and recipient. Made from numerous gifted fragments, the house’s stained glass windows function as a tribute to the thriving gift culture in which Butler and Ponsonby and their friends were implicated. At the same time, by combining these with a diverse array of collected, found and acquired, pieces of glass, they also demonstrate the connectedness between the women, their acquaintances, and their locale.
I talk more about gift culture of Plas Newydd in my book, Home Ties: Materiality, Sociability, and Emotion in British Domestic Space, 1750-1840, which is currently under review at Bloomsbury (and hopefully I’ll be able to post an update about this very soon!!). I’ve so enjoyed being able to share some of the key collages for my postdoctoral research project with you on the IASH twitter page this week, so I think I’ll make this a regular series on the blog as the project develops.
Hatfield Family Bible, Case folio BS185 1838.N4, Newberry Library
A round up of CFPs, conferences, and posts from the last week (…or so).
First up: a bit of self promo. There’s still a little while left before the deadline for our call for articles for the special issue of Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies, Making Masculinity: Craft, Gender, and Material Production in the Long Nineteenth Century. We’d love to see articles from you! The full CFA is available here.
Similarly, Cole Collins and I are really excited to read your collage-related abstracts for our upcoming conference Collage, Montage, Assemblage: Collected and Composite Forms, 1700-Present. The CFP is available here, and we even wrote a post on our favourite scholarly works on collage here.
Next, this post from the Newberry’s blog, The Rite Stuff, examining ‘Family History in a Bible’. I really enjoy the object biography approach taken to the object.
CFPs that caught my eye this week included:
CFP – Passing: Fashion in American Cities
CFP – Interior Provocations – Interiors without Architecture
CFP – Making Things Modular
CFP – Fire and Water: Entangled Histories of Empire and Science in the Early Modern Americas
CFP – Remarkable Things: The Agency of Objecthood and The Power of Materiality
CFP – Creative Pedagogies: Approaches to the Commonplace Book
CFP – C19: Acts of Consumption: Performance, Bodies, Culture
CFP – Crafting an Enlightened World: Patronage & Pioneers
Today marks the beginning of my last week of my Short-Term Research Fellowship at the Winterthur Museum, so once the craziness of the summer has passed, I’ll be back to regular Week in Review posts, so watch this space!
My review of the National Museum of Scotland’s Summer exhibition Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites is now up on the BSECS Criticks site. Read it here.
Last week I was in London for the excellent Sibylline Leaves: Chaos and Compilation in the Romantic Period conference. In this post, I’ll try to cobble together some coherent thoughts generated by the event, particularly in terms of how the ideas raised relate to my own work on collage in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
The conference marks the bicentenary of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetry collection Sibylline Leaves, whose title references Virgil’s Cumaean Sibyl, and the ‘fragmentary and widely scattered state’ of her ‘leaves’. Indeed, the entire conference teemed with scattered, flying, volatile and fugitive leaves, and presented a range of approaches and ideas as to their interpretation.
Beginning with Seamus Perry’s keynote on Coleridge’s desultory nature (in terms of both his indolence and his variousness), the conference’s deep consideration of the language we use to discuss this material was incredibly evocative. Various terms were repeatedly mapped out, tested, and explored, but desultory was one to which a number of speakers returned. Likewise, Coleridge’s own play with words was also highlighted, particularly the irony in titling a collection of collected poems ‘Sibylline Leaves’, given that the Sibyll’s own leaves were never collected up again. Here then, the desultory might work as part of a self-conscious, self-reflexive consideration of the fragmented and the various.
Other panels over the two days explicitly engaged with the practices of notebook making and commonplacing, literary processes that my own work on collage also touches upon. Ruth Abbott, for example, presented fascinating work on Wordsworth’s notebooks, stressing the importance of reading such objects as whole, creative documents; whilst stressing the familial and collective nature of their production; and considering transformations of poetry, to prose, and back again.
The conference also had a ‘reading group’ type session in the middle of its first day, where we discussed Michael Gamer’s work on self-collecting in the creation of works like the Sibylline Leaves. Interestingly, Gamer employs frameworks from the history of collecting in his discussion, something I wish to adopt/adapt in my own work on literary self-fashioning and production.
Other papers stressed the materiality of Romantic literary production, from Jeremy Elprin’s wonderfully rich paper on Coleridge’s ‘Sonnet in nubibus’, which highlighted how Coleridge had transcribed the poem on a piece of seaweed, to Deidre Shauna Lynch’s magisterial second-day keynote, ‘Loose Leaves, Floral Slips and the Romantic Book’. Lynch’s keynote was particularly interesting for me as she discussed many of the objects that I have just been looking at at YCBA, and other volumes that I’m intending to see at Manchester, New York, and the Houghton Library in the future. What I was particularly struck by in Lynch’s paper however, was her emphasis on not merely the compilation of such volumes, but their related disentanglement: ranging from the moment of their acquisition (i.e. before their integration within the album/volume/book); ideas surrounding their ‘clippability’; or the potential of these gathered leaves to become loose once more. This was a revolution in my thinking, as my definition for collage in my postdoctoral project has been almost wholly concerned with the coming together of objects to make a new whole; disparate elements, brought together in a new formulation. Yet Lynch’s paper highlighted that these were indeed ‘Sibylline Leaves’, papers that behaved badly, and whose very precarity was actively reflected upon and visually acknowledged by their makers.
I presented my own research on the commonplace books of Ellen Warter at the end of the first day of the conference (my abstract is available here), and received some very provocative and encouraging feedback. I’m excited to use some of the frameworks I encountered at the event in developing this research further, particularly Lynch’s emphasis on the highly self-aware nature of the Romantic album.
Usually following a conference, I write some kind of post-conference report, where I reflect on the conversations and ideas that the conference provoked and discussed. For the recent ISCH conference on ‘Senses, Emotions & the Affective Turn Recent Perspectives and New Challenges in Cultural History’, I want to do something a little different. Instead of the report format, I want to compile a bibliography of texts that I made note of speakers referencing. As I’m currently writing my monograph on the relationship between domestic material culture, sociabilities, and emotions between 1750-1850, this list has already been a hugely useful bibliography for my own research, but I had a sense as I was compiling it, that it might also be of use to a broader audience interested in state of the history of the emotions today.
This by no means represents a complete bibliography, as the conference had many parallel sessions, and I was only able to attend two days, but it will hopefully give a sense of some of the scholarship that presenters were using to construct their paper’s critical frameworks, and thereby a sense of how the history of the emotions is ‘being done’ at this present moment.
Panel ‘Emotions in Research’
- Emily Robinson, ‘Touching the void: Affective history and the impossible’, The Journal of Theory and Practice, 14:4 (2010), 503-520.
- Carolyn Steedman, Landscape for a Good Woman (Rutgers University Press, 1987)
- Joan W. Scott, ‘The Evidence of Experience’, Critical Inquiry, 17:4 (Summer, 1991), 773-797.
- Andy Wood, The memory of the people: custom and popular senses of the past in early modern England (Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013)
Erin Sullivan, ‘Art and the Emotional Historian’
Firstly, some relevant publications by Sullivan:
- Beyond Melancholy: Sadness and Selfhood in Renaissance England (Oxford University Press, 2016)
- (edited, with Richard Meek) The Renaissance of Emotion: Understanding Affect in Early Modern Literature and Culture (Manchester University Press, 2015)
- (with Susan Brock and Greg Wells) ‘The Melancholy Earl: Sir William Herbert in the Medical Cases Notes of Dr Barker of Shrewsbury’, Notes and Queries 63:4 (2016)
- ‘Melancholy’, in Early Modern Emotions: An Introduction, ed. Susan Broomhall (Routledge, 2017)
- ‘Shakespeare and Emotion: A Review Essay’, in Cahiers Élisabéthains 87 (2015)
- ‘The History of the Emotions: Past, Present, Future’, Cultural History 2:1 (2013)
- ‘”The Watchful Spirit”: Religious Anxieties toward Sleep in the Notebooks of Nehemiah Wallington’, Cultural History 1:1 (2012) – winner of the 2011 International Society for Cultural History Essay Prize
- ‘A Disease unto Death: Sadness in the Time of Shakespeare’, in Emotions and Health, 1200-1700, ed. by Elena Carrera, Brill (Brill, 2013)
- Peter Burke, ‘Is there a Cultural History of the Emotions?’ in Penelope Gouk and Helen Hills (eds.), Representing Emotions (Aldershot, 2005)
- William M. Reddy, The Making of Romantic Love: Longing and Sexuality in Europe, South Asia, and Japan, 900-1200 CE. (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2012)
- Thomas Dixon, Weeping Britannia: Portrait of a Nation in Tears (Oxford University Press, 2015)
- Johan Huizinga, The Waning of the Middle Ages (1919)
- Reddy, William M. “Against Constructionism: The Historical Ethnography of Emotions.” Current Anthropology 38 (1997), 327-351.
- Rosenwein, Barbara H. “Worrying about Emotions in History.” The American Historical Review (2002).
- Peter N. Stearns and Carol Z. Stearns, ‘Emotionology: Clarifying the History of Emotions and Emotional Standards’, The American Historical Review, 90:4 (October, 1985), 813-836.
- Keith Oatley, Emotions: A Brief History (Wiley, 2004)
- Stephanie Trigg, Shame and Honor: A Vulgar History of the Order of the Garter (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012)
- Melissa Greg, The Affect Theory Reader (Duke University Press, 2010)
- Susan J. Matt, Peter N. Stearns, Doing Emotions History (University of Illinois Press, 2013)
Panel ‘Materialising Love and Loss: Objects and Identity in Eighteenth and Nineteenth Century Britain’
- Marcia Pointon, ‘”Surrounded with Brilliants”: Miniature Portraits in Eighteenth-Century England, The Art Bulletin, 83:1 (March, 2001), 48-71
- Annette Weiner, Inalienable Possessions: The Paradox of Keeping-While-Giving (1992)
- Anna Moran, Sorcha O’Brien, Love Objects: Emotion, Design and Material Culture (Bloomsbury, 2014)
- Diana O’hara, ‘The Language of Tokens and the Making of Marriage’, Rural History, 3:1 (1992), 1-40
- Diana O’hara, Courtship and constraint: Rethinking the making of marriage in Tudor England (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2002)
- Neil McKendrick, John Brewer, John Harold Plumb, The birth of a consumer society: the commercialization of eighteenth-century England (Europa Publications, 1982)
- John Brewer and Roy Porter, eds. Consumption and the World of Goods (Routledge, 1993)
- Anne Gerritsen, Giorgio Riello, eds. The Global Lives of Things: The Material Culture of Connections in the Early Modern World (Routledge, 2015)
- Cynthia Wall, The Prose of Things: Transformations of Description in the Eighteenth Century (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 2006)
- Frank Trentmann, Empire of Things: How We Became a World of Consumers, Fifteenth Century to the Twenty-First, (London: Allen Lane/Penguin; New York: HarperCollins 2016)
- Michael Brown, ‘Cold Steel, Weak Flesh’: Mechanism, Masculinity and the Anxieties of Late Victorian Empire’, CULTURAL & SOCIAL HISTORY, 14: 2 (2017)
- Michael Brown, ‘Surgery and Emotion: The Era Before Anaesthesia’, The Palgrave Handbook of the History of Surgery. T. Schlich ed. (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017)
- Matthew McCormack, Embodying the Militia in Georgian England (Oxford University Press, 2015)
- Sarah Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion (Routledge, 2007)
- Philip Shaw, Suffering and Sentiment in Romantic Military Art (Ashgate, 2013)
- Holly Furneaux, and Prichard, S. ‘Contested objects: curating soldier art. Museum & Society 13:4 (2015), 447-461.
- Holly Furneaux, Military men of feeling: masculinity, emotion and tactility in the Crimean War (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015)
Barbara H. Rosenwein, ‘Affect Theory’s Convergences and Conundrums’
Relevant publications by Rosenwein:
- Anger’s Past: The Social Uses of an Emotion in the Middle Ages (Cornell University Press, 1998)
- Emotional Communities in the Early Middle Ages (Cornell University Press, 2006)
- Generations of Feeling: A History of Emotions 600-1700 (Cambridge University Press, 2016)
- “Problems and Methods in the History of Emotions,” Passions in Context: Journal of the History and Philosophy of the Emotions, 1:1 (2010)
- Lisa Feldman Barrett, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain (Pan Macmillan, 2017)
- Magda Arnold, Emotion and personality (New York: Columbia University Press, 1960)
- Bruce R. Smith, The Key of Green: PASSION AND PERCEPTION IN RENAISSANCE CULTURE (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008)
- Brian Massumi, Politics of Affect (John Wiley & Sons, 2015)
- Nicole Eustace, Passion Is the Gale: Emotion, Power, and the Coming of the American Revolution (UNC Press Books, 2012)
- Nicole Eustace, 1812: War and the Passions of Patriotism (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012)
Panel: The affective turn in the history of the East-West encounter
- Elsbeth Locher-Scholten, Women and the Colonial State: Essays on Gender and Modernity in the Netherlands Indies, 1900-1942 (Amsterdam University Press, 2000)
- Kartini (Raden Adjeng), Kartini: The Complete Writings 1898-1904 (Monash University Publishing, 2014)
Panel: Motherhood, medicine and the emotions
- Laura Gowing, Common bodies : women, touch and power in seventeenth-century England (New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 2002)
- Laura Gowing, Gender Relations in Early Modern England (Pearson Longman, 2012)
- Adrian Wilson, ‘THE PERILS OF EARLY MODERN PROCREATION: CHILDBIRTH WITH OR WITHOUT FEAR?’ Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies, 16 (1993), 1–19
The University of Edinburgh and National Museums Scotland have recently teamed up on the forthcoming MOOC, Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites. The MOOC ties in with the Museum’s Jacobites exhibition (on now), and is led by a great team of scholars and curators, including my PhD supervisor, Professor Viccy Coltman. More details about the MOOC, including how to sign up, can be found here.
Thanks to a 2016-17 Travel Grant from the Lewis Walpole Library (taken in April 2017) I was able to conduct crucial primary research for two monograph projects: the first, which develops research from my PhD thesis to think about the social and emotional life of the home in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the second, my postdoctoral project, which is provisionally titled Collage before Modernism: Art, Intimacy and Identity in Britain and North America, 1700-1900. The book will be the first study to focus on the complex relationship between emotion, identity, and the production of collage during this period, and will explore how the asking how its creation reflected and constructed the interests, intimacies, and identities of its makers.
Specifically, a Lewis Walpole Library Travel Grant enabled me to conduct research for chapters for each project, which variously examine the reception and production of Strawberry Hill in scrapbooks and extra-illustrated texts made within the circle of Horace Walpole, Anne Seymour Damer, and Mary and Agnes Berry; and the familial production of commonplace books and albums in the eighteenth and nineteenth-centuries. For the first of these chapters, I consulted the notebooks, scrapbooks, and correspondence of Anne Seymour Damer, Mary Berry, Agnes Berry, and Horace Walpole, as well as a number of extra-illustrated volumes of Walpole’s A Description of the Villa of Horace Walpole. Examining these manuscript volumes and published texts not only allowed me to unpack and trace the various relationships between this social group, but also to think about how these relationships were constructed and reflected in these collaged objects. I was also able to consult a range of supporting literature, such as the ‘Astley Collection of Strawberry Hill Pieces’, and the ‘Rarities from Strawberry Hill’, which allowed me to place these volumes within a broader context of literary and material production coming from, or centring on, Strawberry Hill. Visiting the library also gave me the chance to examine the famous Beauclerk Cabinet (1783-4), a fascinating piece of furniture, which, like the extra-illustrated copies of the Description, demonstrates how the very fabric of Strawberry Hill was shaped by collaborative and creative endeavour.
For the second of the chapters, I examined the library’s collections of albums and commonplace books, focusing on those that were familially produced, or which particularly pertained to the expression of emotion. The latter included LWL MSS Vol. 18, a manuscript collection of poems, elegies, verses on the subjects of solitude, death, and the nature of humanity, whose carefully selected inclusions will allow me to consider how commonplace books’ excerpted texts reflect and construct contemporaries’ emotional lives during this period. I also looked at the Library’s recent acquisition, LWL MSS Vol. 223, a boxed series of sixty-five manuscript notecards that functions like a commonplace book, bearing several hands and thereby attesting to the communal nature of its production.
I also spent time looking at the Library’s broader collection of commonplace books and albums. which allowed me to conduct important comparative research. Some of these were particularly revealing for thinking through some of the technologies of commonplacing during this period, especially in terms of how contemporaries themselves conceived of these practices. For example, Sir Henry Edward Bunbury’s commonplace book, ‘Omnium gatherum’, comprising original verse, extracts, costume, epigrams, bon mots, traits (LWL MSS File 81), features a highly reflexive, hand-drawn title page, depicting the collector of the volume’s inclusions standing over a pile of rocks labelled with words that evoke the manuscript’s contents.
Spending time looking at these manuscripts in person was invaluable to my research, as it allowed me to explore issues of materiality, and to think about how these objects were constructed, viewed, and handled at the time that they were made. Going forward, I’ll spend time reviewing and reflecting upon the photographs and notes taken at the Library, researching the manuscripts’ various inclusions further and thinking about the volumes in relation to research conducted at other institutions, such as Yale Center for British Art. I’m hugely excited to utilise my findings as I finish my first book and continue the research into my second, and would like to thank the Lewis Walpole Library for making this research possible.