Book Review: Literary Bric-à-Brac and the Victorians: From Commodities to Oddities – Nineteenth-Century Studies
My review of Jonathon Shears and Jen Harrison’s edited volume Literary Bric-à-Brac and the Victorians: From Commodities to Oddities is now up on the Nineteenth-Century Studies’ online forum, as part of a series of reviews of books on nineteenth-century materialities. See it here.
I’m thrilled to announce that from September 2017 until August 2018 I will be joining the University of Edinburgh’s Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. The fellowship is ten months long, but includes a two-month interruption for my fellowships at the Huntington and the Harry Ransom Center. The fellowship will allow me to conduct research for my postdoctoral research project, Collage before Modernism: Art, Intimacy and Identity in Britain and North America, 1700-1900. I’ll post more about my time at IASH as I take up the Fellowship.
Queen Charlotte (detail; 1771), Johan Joseph Zoffany.
First up this week, this Apollo Magazine review of Yale Centre for British Art‘s exhibition Enlightened Princesses: Caroline, Augusta, Charlotte and the Shaping of the Modern World, which runs until April 30th (frustratingly, just one day before I arrive there as a visiting scholar!).
Secondly, I read Alice Kelly’s article ‘How to make writing in the humanities less lonely‘, which discusses TORCH’s writing group with interest, as the group was a crucial source of inspiration for our own version in Edinburgh.
I thoroughly enjoyed this post from the National Museum of Scotland on Owen Jones’ Grammar of Ornament, which is an important object within the museum’s newly curated art and design galleries.
The Storifys for each day of the three days of the War Through Other Stuff conference are now available here. I’ll be posting some thoughts from the conference in an upcoming blog post next week.
I was also captivated by this Victoria and Albert Museum video ‘Garnitures: Vase Sets from National Trust Houses‘, which examines rare surviving examples of vase sets and ceramic ornaments from National Trust houses being displayed on furniture and in period rooms at the V&A.
I was excited to see that the special inaugural issue of the Journal of Romanticism, on Romanticism and mysticism, is now available for purchase.
Finally, I saw a reminder this week that all of the University of Cambridge Things sessions are available as podcasts online – I must catch up asap!
The following CFPs, conferences and CFAs also caught my attention this week:
CFP: Evidence of Power in the Ruler Portrait, 14th – 18th Centuries (1-2 Dec 17)
CFP: Material Histories of Time: Objects and Practices, 14th-18th centuries (La Chaux-de-Fonds, Musée international d’horlogerie, November 30 – December 1, 2017)
CFP: “Hawthorne and Things” MLA 2018
CONF: Dress and Diplomacy (Copenhagen, 22 Mar 17)
CFP: AAH Summer Symposium: Re/presenting the Body (Glasgow,
6-7 Jul 17)
CFP: Collections – Scholars – Interpretations (Tbilisi, 2-3
CONF: Graduate Student Symposium – History of 19th-Century Art (New York, 26 Mar 17)
CFP: Special issue of Southern Cultures: Southern Things (Material Culture)
CFA: The Pre-Raphaelites and Antiquity (Special Issue Open Cultural Studies)
CFA: On Uses of Black Camp (Special Issue Open Cultural Studies)
CFA: Materiality, Objects and Objecthood (Special Issue Open Cultural Studies)
I’m thrilled to have been awarded a Huntington Library Short Term Fellowship for the 2017-2018 academic year. The award will allow me to conduct research for my postdoctoral project Collage before Modernism. The broader project will provide an unprecedented history of ‘assemblage’ produced in Britain, North America, and British India between 1700 and 1900. Employing an inclusive definition of the term, the project will examine a variety of material and literary forms of assemblage, including paper collage, shellwork, scrapbooking, and photocollage, and will explore how their production reflected the intimacies, interests, and identities of their makers.
The Fellowship will facilitate research for several aspects of the broader project, including an examination of a number of scrapbooks, commonplace books (both manuscript and published), and albums in the Library’s collections. I’ll also be looking at the correspondence of Robert Southey, Charles Lamb, and Elizabeth Montagu, and a number of grangerized books.
Victorian hand calling card, private collection.
A slightly belated Week in Review post.
As I’ve noted before, Notches and the Age of Revolutions blogs are amongst my favourite academic blogs, and both present really interesting work in their respective fields. Of late, I particularly enjoyed Notches’ ‘Femme Histories Roundtable‘ series (parts I and II), as well as this amazing post on ‘Disembodied Desire‘, focusing on disembodied Victorian limbs, as seen in the above calling card.
In case you missed me excitedly sharing this on Twitter and Facebook, here’s a Hyperallergic article on Sotheby’s first-ever auction of erotic artworks. I was particularly enamoured with this incredible painted plywood table, a copy after those supposedly held in a secret erotic salon of Catherine the Great. For this and many other fascinating objects check out the auction catalogue.
I hugely enjoyed this article on the history of the colour red from The Paris Review, and was fascinated by this touching article on the epistolary correspondence of two men during the Second World War.
I was keen to watch this webinar on ‘Exploring the Africana Historic Postcard Collection‘, which discusses the African Section of the Library of Congress’ African and Middle Eastern Division’s collection of more than 2000 historical photographic postcards. The collection is an important visual record of Africa and its people during the historically intensive years of European colonialism from 1895 to 1960.
I also really enjoyed Pat Thomson’s thought-provoking post on developing institutional writing cultures. Thomson writes compellingly about the need for rebuilding such collective practices, which is something that strongly rings true for me as a participant in an academic writing group. Thomson’s post was written a few days before my fellow writing-group attendee Lucie Whitmore wrote a post on our writing group for the SGSAH Blog, and they had a lovely synchronicity in my mind. I’m also going to write an update post on my own progress with the writing group at some point soon, so watch this space.
Publications wise, the table of contents for the first issue of the Journal for Art Market Studies (Vol 1, No 1 (2017)), also caught my attention this week, as did this call for book proposals on Gender and Culture in the Romantic Era. I was also really excited to see that Joanna Cohen’s book Luxurious Citizens: The Politics of Consumption in Nineteenth-Century America has now been published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. I’m sure this book will become an essential text for me as I expand my research to look at nineteenth-century American material culture.
CFP: Consuming Gender, Assuming Gender one-day symposium (14 July 2017, Cardiff University)
CFP: Decor and Architecture (Lausanne, 16-17 Nov 17)
CFP: French and English Rivalries in Dress and Textiles 1700-1914 (Paris, October 13-14, 2017)
CFP: “Emotions, Death and Dying” -PJHS (Winter 2017)
CFP: Queering the Transpacific: Asian American, American and Asian Queer Studies (March 31, 2017)
Finally, I noted with interest that there a number of vacancies on the Design History Society’s Board of Trustees, applications are due by mid-March.
John Richard Coke Smyth, Elizabeth, Lady Eastlake. Watercolour
4 3/4 in. x 4 1/4 in. (121 mm x 108 mm), National Portrait Gallery, London.
First up, the conference programme for the Writing Art: Women Writers as Art Critics in the Long Eighteenth Century conference. The conference intersects with a number of my projects, firstly an article I’m currently writing on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century women travel writers and the narratives they tell through objects, and secondly, #WaysofSheing, a twitter-based project that aims to highlight and celebrate the contributions of female art historians. The conference features presentations on Elizabeth, Lady Eastlake (pictured above), Germaine de Staël, and the travel writer Maria Graham.
I enjoyed Sarah Read’s article ‘‘Gushing Out Blood’: Defloration and Menstruation in Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure‘, from a recent edition of the Journal of Medical Humanities. In the article Read explores how Cleland ‘repeatedly depicts and eroticises the act of defloration’ in his erotic 1740s novel Fanny Hill.
Deborah Cohen’s The Atlantic article ‘Before Straight and Gay: The discreet, disorienting passions of the Victorian era‘, which begins with a microcosmic examination of the queer histories of the Benson family, is a fascinating read.
I was fascinated by this BBC News video, on the forgotten Victorian botanical painter Marianne North.
I also really enjoyed this revealing interview with April Haynes, author of Riotous Flesh: Women, Physiology, and the Solitary Vice in Nineteenth-Century America in a recent post on the Notches blog.
As ever, the Public Domain Review has been a wonderful source of articles and objects. I particularly enjoyed this recent essay by Yvonne Seale on nineteenth-century genealogy.
The following CFPs and conferences also caught my attention:
CONF: Women, Authorship, and Identity in the Long Eighteenth Century: New Methodologies (June 17, 2017)
CFP: Anonymity Unmasked: Identity, Agency, Responsibility (September 13-15, 2017)
CFP: Death and the Maiden (July 21-24, 2017)
CFP: Romanticism and Popular Culture (November 3-5, 2017)
Photo via @
A number of institutions are seeking to preserve the material culture and oral history of last week’s Women’s Marches: the Bishopsgate Institute (London) are collecting placards, signs, and posters made as part of the event, while History Workshop Journal issued a call for contributions for reflections from those who attended.
The following journals, CFPs, and events also caught my eye:
TOC: ABE Journal – Architecture Beyond Europe, Issue 9-10, 2016
Lent term Things that Matter programme
Workshop African Americans and the Making of Early New England
GSA Seminar: Feminist Scholar-Activism and the Politics of Affect
York Summer Theory Institute in Art History 2017
CFA: NEH Summer Institute: Beyond East and West: Exchanges and Interactions across the Early Modern World (1400-1800)
CFP: Journal18 – Coordinates (Spring 2018)
CONF: Early Modern Viewers and Buildings in Motion (Durham, 25 Feb 2017)
CFP: Queer Modernism(s)
CFP: Evidence of Feeling: Law, Science and Emotions in Modern Europe
CFP: Women’s and Gender History Symposium (Urbana-Champaign)
I also enjoyed Will Pooley’s post ‘Write regularly‘, which provided both interesting reflection on, and practical responses to, this oft-heard advice.
Finally, check out Charlotte Mathieson’s fascinating review of the Victorians Decoded: Art and Telegraphy exhibition, on at the Guildhall Art Gallery.