Professor Jan Todd on Jane Austen’s Sanditon in Newham College on Fri 7th June

Professor Jan Todd will give a short talk on Jane Austen and her last work, Sanditon, at 6pm in Newham College. Please see this flyer for details: Sanditon 070619 poster.


Edwin Marr on ‘The Obnoxious Railroad”: Railway Time and Space in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell’ at the next Gaskell Society London and SE meeting on Sat May 11th

Unit member and PhD student Edwin Marr will be speaking at the next Gaskell Society meeting on Saturday 11th May. His paper, ‘The Obnoxious Railroad”: Railway Time and Space in the Works of Elizabeth Gaskell’, will look at Gaskell’s representations of the railway in several of her novels, novellas and letters, exploring how she uses the railway to symbolise increasing societal regulation, distinctions between rural past and industrialised future, and issues of social class and social mobility.

The meeting will take place at Francis Holland School from 12.45 onwards, with the talk at 2.00 pm. All are welcome!

Please find the directions and further details on this PDF: London and SE Gaskell Society Programme 2018-19

The Gaskell Journal: Joan Leach Memorial Graduate Student Essay Prize 2020

Deadline for submissions: 1st February 2020

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 must 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, 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 (with revisions guided by the editor, as appropriate), and its author will receive £200 from the Gaskell Society, and a complimentary copy of the Journal. (Other high quality shortlisted submissions will also be considered for publication in the journal.)

Essays should be 6000-7000 words, and not under consideration for publication elsewhere. Please see the Gaskell Journal website for submission details: Please direct any queries to Editor Dr Rebecca Styler

CFP: Goodness, truth, and beauty in the work of John Ruskin and his contemporaries

Friday September 6th 2019

 Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge

So then, whatever may be the means, or whatever the more immediate end of any kind of art, all of it that is good agrees in this, that it is the expression of one soul talking to another, and is precious according to the greatness of the soul that utters it. And consider what mighty consequences follows from our acceptance of this truth! (John Ruskin, Stones of Venice)

In her review of Ruskin’s Modern Painters 3, George Eliot writes: ‘The truth of infinite value that he teaches is realism- the doctrine that all truth and beauty are to be attained by a humble and faithful study of nature, and not by substituting vague forms, bred by imagination on the mists of feeling, in a place of definite, substantial reality.’ Through the nineteenth-century, Ruskin, Eliot and a number of Victorian reformers sought to clarify the divine and human sources of, and the connections between, goodness, truth, and beauty. This conference will offer the opportunity to explore how belief in the inextricability of these concepts informed understandings of the self, the other, and the world and to investigate the shifts in perception witnessed later in the century.

The conference will include plenary lectures from Andrew Tate (Lancaster) and Rachel Dickinson (Manchester Metropolitan University)

We welcome paper and panel proposals from scholars at any stage of their careers that explore ideas of goodness, truth, and/ or beauty in the work of John Ruskin and his contemporaries. Individual proposals for 20 minute papers should be no more than 300 words and accompanied by a short biographical statement. Proposals for 90 minute panels, each including 3 speakers, should be no longer than 1,000 words and include biographical statements for all the contributors. Please send your proposal to by 5pm on Friday May 17th.

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 (


Ruskin Poster.jpg


CFP: London Nineteenth-Century Seminar Graduate Conference

This year’s London Nineteenth-Century Studies Seminar Graduate Conference will take place on Saturday 19th January 2019 at Senate House, University of London.

Keynote Speakers: Professor Regenia Gagnier (English, Exeter), Dr Flora Wilson (Music, King’s College London)

We welcome proposals for ten-minute papers on any aspect of literature, culture, art, and history in the long nineteenth century.
Themes may include, but are not limited to:

– Media and technology
– Art, architecture, and aesthetics
– Social and cultural history
– Production of literary cultures
– Gender and sexuality
– Performance and the spectacle
– Religion and ethics
– Representations of Empire

The conference is intended as a cross- and inter-disciplinary forum where postgraduate researchers working on any aspect of the long nineteenth century can present and discuss their research in a supportive and stimulating environment.

Please send abstracts of 200 words, along with a short biography (50 words) by 14th December 2018. The committee will confirm your inclusion in the programme shortly after that date