I’m looking forward to re-starting our reading group in Semester 1. The current plan is to hold the group fortnightly on Thursdays between 5 and 6pm. At our last Middlemarch meeting, 3 potential novels were selected: Sarah Grand’s The Beth Book, Charlotte Bronte’s Shirley, and Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov. Please vote for your preference here.
Deadline for submissions: 1st February 2018
The Gaskell Journal runs a biennial Graduate Student Essay Prize in honour of Joan Leach MBE, founder of the Gaskell Society.
The essay competition is open to all graduate students currently registered for an MA or PhD in Victorian Studies. Entries are invited that offer an original contribution to the field of Gaskell studies, whether by reading her works in relation to Victorian cultural, religious, aesthetic and scientific contexts, or through innovative close readings enlightened by critical theory, or a comparative study connecting Gaskell’s with another author’s work. Essays will be shortlisted by the Gaskell Journal Editorial Board, with the final judgment being made by a leading scholar in Gaskell studies.
The winning essay will be published in the Gaskell Journal (subject to appropriate revisions), and its author will receive £200 from the Gaskell Society, and a complimentary copy of the Journal. High quality runners-up will also be considered for publication.
Essays should be 6000-7000 words, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Please see the Gaskell Journal website for the stylesheet (MHRA with endnotes), and for the form to submit with your anonymised essay: www.gaskelljournal.co.uk
Please submit these directly to the Editor Dr Rebecca Styler email@example.com by/on 1st February 2018, who can also answer any inquiries.
Guest Post from Unit Member Kathy Rees: on reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch again, abridgement, and the significance of paratext mottoes.
[cropped] Eliot’s Manuscript of Middlemarch © Jonathan Garnault Ouvry / British Library
I was very excited when the Research Unit Reading Group embarked on George Eliot’s Middlemarch (1871), but also slightly stressed, because I knew that I didn’t have time to re-read it. The obvious solution was audible.com, and I imagined myself happily absorbed in the dramas and doings at Tipton Grange and Freshitt Hall while I trailed around Tesco or stirred the soup.
At the point of purchase I was puzzled to note that the length of the ‘Audible Studios’ edition, narrated by Maureen O’Brien (£21), was 32 hours and 28 minutes, while the ‘Naxos’ edition, narrated by Juliet Stevenson (£37), was 35 hours and 40 minutes. Given that both versions were emphatically marked UNABRIDGED, it seemed outrageous to pay £16 for an additional 3 hours and 12 minutes of an amorphous ‘something’ – maybe pregnant pauses, or musical intervals – so, like dear Mr Brooke, I had good intentions but was ‘spending as little money as possible in carrying them out”.[i] The outcome of my penny-pinching provoked the subject of this blog.
This month we hosted a round-table bicentenary event about Branwell Brontë. This was organised by our unit member Edwin Marr, and was an informative and fun celebration of the neglected Brontë brother! Thanks to Edwin for doing a great job organising and chairing this event. You can download a pdf of the materials we looked at during the round-table here.
Our Middlemarch reading group continues to be well-attended and to provoke engaging discussions! Look out for a blog post soon discussing the experience of reading Middlemarch in instalments. We meet every other Monday in Helmore 115 to discuss a section of Eliot’s novel. See details here if you would like to join us after Easter!
Notices and Publications
Congratulations to unit member Peter Cook, who passed his PhD Viva Voce examination on 28 March!
We are hosting a symposium on Jane Austen on April 26th between 1 and 4pm. Speakers will include Sophie Gilmartin (Royal Holloway university of London), Mary Joannou (Anglia Ruskin University) and unit member Kirsty J. Harris (Anglia Ruskin University). See the programme for the afternoon here and book your free ticket.
This year’s conference is on George Eliot and her Circle, taking place on May 26th! We are in the process of putting together the schedule, having received some exciting abstracts. Stay tuned for more information very soon – details will be listed here.
The Cambridge Literary Festival is running from 18-23 April this year, with a variety of talks, events, and debates that may be of interest to you!
And finally, a reminder that our Middlemarch reading group continues every second Monday in Helmore 115 between 17:00 and 18:00. Check dates and reading sections here.
We are very excited to announce our next event: an afternoon Jane Austen symposium, taking place on Wednesday 26 April 2017 between 1 and 4pm, in LAB 027 (Cambridge).
Speakers will include Sophie Gilmartin from Royal Holloway, University of London, Mary Joannou (Professor Emerita from Anglia Ruskin University) and unit member Kirsty J. Harris. Come and join us celebrating Austen and her work!
This event is free, but please register if you would like to attend – the registration page is here.
Poster background image: Watercolour of Jane Austen by her sister, Cassandra, 1804, c/o Wikimedia Commons.
On Wednesday 1st March at 4pm, Marianne Van Remoortal (Ghent University) will come and give a talk as part of our seminar series. Her talk is entitled ‘“Pioneer or Copycat? The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine in its European Context.” Do come along! The talk will take place in Helmore 112 and tea, coffee and cookies will be provided.
Marianne is the author of of Lives of the Sonnet, 1787-1895: Genre, Gender and Criticism (Ashgate, 2011) and Women, Work and the Victorian Periodical: Living by the Press (Palgrave 2015).
If you would like to listen/ watch a previous event that we’ve hosted, please visit this page or navigate to it through the ‘Events and Meetings’ tab above. We’ll be adding to it through the year.