Reflections on the IES George Eliot Study Week 2018

In May 2018, two of our PhD students and unit members, Edwin Marr and Marie Moxon, attended the IES study week on George Eliot. Edwin Marr has reflected on the experience below:

In May 2018 I was funded by Anglia Ruskin University to attend the five-day study week on George Eliot in London organised by the Institute of English Studies. As the initial chapter of my PhD focuses on George Eliot’s literary representations of the railway, this week proved extremely valuable to my research.

Following introductions by Isobel Armstrong, who directed the week, Rosemary Ashton began by exploring the events of Eliot’s life, her publishing history as well as the psychological realism that has come to define her fiction. The next day, Laurel Brake took us to the British Library to see Eliot’s earliest known publication as well as first editions of Middlemarch. For me this was a particular highlight of the course, giving me a rich insight into the importance of periodical studies, and the significance of researching the texts within their wider publishing context, something I am currently working on extensively throughout my PhD.

On the Wednesday, Isobel Armstrong delivered her lecture on Hegelian Dialectics within Eliot’s literature, explaining how this grew out of Eliot’s intimate knowledge of European philosophy. The Thursday brought Ruth Abbott with her discussion on the importance of notebooks as textual documents, and the extensive research Eliot carried out in Florence for Romola. The week then closed with Hilary Fraser’s lecture on Victorian re-imaginings of the Renaissance, and the importance of the visual arts within Romola.

I am extremely grateful to ARU for funding my attendance of this study week, as in addition to offering a fantastic opportunity to interact with leading nineteenth-century scholars, it has given me fresh perspectives for my own research, and contributed significantly to the scope of my thesis.

The Institute of English Studies are running another study week this year, focusing on the Brontës. Full details are available here.

Letters to John Ruskin: our university members in conversation with the great man: Thursday 14th Feb 4-6pm

John Ruskin, whose name this university bears, was born two hundred years ago on 8th February 1819. We will therefore be holding several events to mark this bicentenary.

First up is “Letters to John Ruskin; our university members in conversation with the great man.” This will be held on Thursday 14th Feb 4-6pm in Hel 112 in Cambridge. Please see the poster below for details.

The event will involve several unit members and others expressing their reactions to Ruskin by reading a ‘letter’ that they have written to him. These will be personal accounts of our reactions to his life and work, which we hope will help those not familiar with Ruskin to begin engaging with him and learning from him. The idea for this event comes from chapter 5 of In a Glass Darkly by Zoë Bennett and Christopher Rowland, both of whom will be contributing to the event. After the ‘letters’, the meeting will open up to a general discussion on Ruskin and his relevance to today, and to Anglia Ruskin University in particular.

Coffee, tea and cake will be provided.

For more information about the event, please email Nigel Cooper ( or Lizzie Ludlow (


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Professor Martin Hewitt on ‘Domestic visiting as a means of social knowledge and reconciliation in Gaskell’s fiction’  at the Gaskell Society SE Branch Meeting on Feb 9th. All welcome!

Dear all,

Professor Martin Hewitt (History, Anglia Ruskin University) will be giving a paper at our next Gaskell Society branch meeting on ‘‘Domestic visiting as a means of social knowledge and reconciliation in Gaskell’s fiction’. Do come along; all are very welcome!

All meetings are held at Francis Holland School for Girls, 39 Graham Terrace London SW1W 8JF The school is a three-minute walk from Sloane Square tube station, which is on the District and Circle line (see the map below).


Everyone is welcome any time after 12.45pm. Please bring a packed lunch. Talks begin at 2pm and usually last about an hour. Each talk is followed by questions, and then tea is served.

At each meeting there is a bring-and-buy book stall in aid of The Gaskell House in Manchester. Please bring any books that you wish to rehome and which will be of interest to other members, marked with an appropriate price. If, at the end of the meeting, your books have not been sold, we will ask you to take them away with you again.

We ask for a contribution of £5.00 to cover speakers’ expenses, a donation to the school and tea.

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For details about further meetings please click London and SE Gaskell Society Programme 2018-19