Monthly Roundup: February

February’s Events

This month Kirsty J Harris and Steven White gave a joint talk discussing their research and the experience of completing their PhDs. Thanks to all who attended and joined in the stimulating discussion afterwards, and to Cassie Gorman for chairing the event.

Our Middlemarch reading group has begun and is going well! 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!

 

Notices and Publications

Our Dean of Studies Martin Hewitt appeared on BBC 1’s Who Do You Think You Are?with Sir Ian McKellen on Wed 25th January. You can watch again here on the BBC iPlayer if you missed it!

Congratulations to unit member Zoe Bennett, whose book, co-written with Christopher Rowland, In a Glass Darkly, was published in January. See here for more information.

 

Upcoming: March & Beyond

Our seminar series continues with a talk entitled “Pioneer or Copycat? The Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine in its European Context” by Marianne Van Remoortel (University of Ghent) today, March 1st, in Helmore 112between 16:00 and 17:00. Refreshments will be served.

Unit member Edwin Marr has organised a bicentenary celebration of Branwell Brontë on March 22nd in LAB 216 between 16:15 and 17:15. This event is a round-table discussion; all are welcome! For more information, please see here.

We are hosting a symposium on Jane Austen on April 26th between 12.00 and 16.00, lunch included. Speakers will include Sophie Gilmartin (Royal Holloway university of London) and Kirsty J. Harris (Anglia Ruskin University). For more information and to book your ticket, see here.

There is still time to put in an abstract for our conference on George Eliot and her Circle, taking place on May 26th! Information can be found here.

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.

Welcome to the new semester!

Welcome back to a new semester of exciting events at Nineteenth-Century Studies ARU!

We have got plenty going on this semester, including our new reading group to discuss George Eliot’s Middlemarch, which begins next Monday – see here for details. All welcome!

Our first seminar this semester will be on Wednesday 15th February. Unit members Kirsty J. Harris and Steven White will be discussing their recent experiences of finishing their doctoral research projects, and the move toward early career roles. See here for more details, as well as information about further seminars this semester which will follow soon. We are planning a symposium on Jane Austen and an event to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Branwell Bronte’s birth.

We are also looking forward to this year’s conference on George Eliot and her Circle, which we will be holding on Friday 26 May. The call for papers is open now!

If you are interested in catching up on some of our past events from 2016, we now have a page for recorded events and podcasts, which you can find here. And if you’d like to keep up to date with the latest news from us, please follow our Twitter and Facebook page!

Work in Progress: On Tearing Up Dickens’s David Copperfield

Kathy Rees completed her PhD on Edmund Gosse in 2015.  She is continuing with her research, pursuing her interest in allusion and intertextuality, currently in relation to the Heinemann International Library (1890-97).  Two of the books mentioned in this blog by Bjørnsterne Bjørnson were translated into English for this library. 

On Tearing up Dickens’s David Copperfield

This blog post offers some thoughts on the relationship between the work of Charles Dickens and that of Bjørnsterne Bjørnson (1832-1910), the Norwegian writer who gave his country the nucleus of its modern literature in terms of stories, dramas, novels, poems and songs.  Heralded as “Norway’s beating heart” and “Norway’s uncrowned king”, Bjørnson profoundly influenced Norway’s political direction and initiated educational change.  Bjørnson’s work attracted notice within Scandinavia from the late 1850s, gaining a more international reputation from 1870 onwards. Like Dickens, Bjørnson had a strong social conscience, and his work often challenged private and public morals.

Continue reading

Next Event: Academic Web Presence Workshop

We will meet for an informal postgraduate workshop about building up an academic web presence on social media between 1-2pm on October 7th  in Helmore 223. If you would like to come to this session, please read this article in advance: Early career Victorianists and social media: impact, audience and online identities’, Journal of Victorian Culture, 17: 3 (2012), 355-62.

Work in Progress – Counter-Revolutionary Poetry

Steven White is an Associate Lecturer in English Literature at Anglia Ruskin. He submitted his thesis on “Representations of Society in Conservative Poetry, 1790-1798” in August 2016. His research interests lie broadly in the fields of political writing of the long nineteenth century, the relationship between literature and the formation of ideologies, and music journalism in the Victorian period. Twitter | Email

800px-gillraynewmorality

New morality; -or- the promis’d installment of the high-priest of the theophilanthropes, with the homage of Leviathan and his suite.
James Gillray, 1798
Hand-coloured etching
© British Museum

Since reading Edmund Burke’s Reflections on the Revolution in France for the first time in 2008 I have been fascinated by the conservative opposition to the ideals of the French Revolution. Burke was for a long time reductively held up as, to borrow Kevin Gilmartin’s phrase, “a simple index of conservatism” – a political force which “we now correctly understand to have been more complex and internally differentiated” than previously understood (8). Still, there is much work which remains to be done in the field. My research centres on a genre of writing which has previously been left more or less untouched by scholars, and, in fact, cannot be said to have been fully recognised as a genre of writing in its own right at all – that of conservative or counter-revolutionary poetry.

It is strange that so little should have been said about conservative poetry. My research has found that no fewer than six hundred poems were published between 1790 and 1798 which in some identifiable sense worked to preserve the established order in Britain and/or to resist the changes threatened by the French Revolution. This number is based only on the poems that were published through mass media channels – that is newspapers, magazines, periodicals, broadsides, songsters and the like. It does not include those published as or exclusively as volumes of poetry (this would take the number up still further). By any measure, it is a significant body of writing in terms of size alone. But its real significance lies in the potential of such poetry as an ideological weapon, as poetry was possessed of a potential for crossing divisions of class, education and sex in a way that perhaps no other medium was.

Continue reading

Postgraduate Symposium: Review

On June 21 we held our first Postgraduate Symposium with a guest lecture by Dr Sarah Parker from the University of Loughborough.

The event included papers which spanned a variety of nineteenth-century topics and authors. Our aim was to provide our postgraduate researchers at Anglia Ruskin University with an opportunity to present their work for the first time, or to rehearse a conference paper and receive feedback before taking it to a wider audience, in a relaxed environment. We heard from seven members of the unit in addition to our guest lecture, and enjoyed some stimulating discussion of the papers.

In the first panel ‘Heroics and Sensations’, we explored revisions and reclamations of narratives throughout the nineteenth century. Kirsty Harris spoke about repurposing sacrifice and the sea-monsters of antiquity in Byron’s Don Juan. Shelley Walters gave a paper which reviewed Elizabeth Barrett-Browning’s heroines, and Anne-Louise Russell discussed Florence Marryat’s engagement with sensation novels. Questions led to a discussion about transformative narratives, and how nineteenth-century writers adapted established forms and traditions in order to reclaim them to tell and shape their own stories.

Our second panel focused on Victorian women writers, and saw papers from Edwin Marr about ideas of universal salvation in the works of Anne Brontë and Marie Moxon discussing glass-space and identity in Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels. Both papers prompted conversation about the ways in which Brontë and Gaskell deal with identity and the view of the self in their works.

Sarah Parker’s keynote followed, which was a fascinating exploration of the woman’s role as muse in nineteenth-century art and literature. Sarah discussed the figure of the muse as artistic subject rather than object, and used an impressive collection of archive photographs to illustrate her paper. This led to an informative section on ways of working to create impact and outreach in academia, which was useful for postgraduate and early career scholars, as well as interesting to see how Sarah’s engagement with outreach projects had informed some of her work.

We filmed Sarah’s talk, and you can view it by clicking here.

The final panel of the day studied ideas about exploration in Victorian literature. Alison Blair-Underwood gave a paper on James Thompson’s City of Dreadful Night which examined the growth of atheism alongside industrial change in the city. Abderrezaq Ghafsi then spoke about the reception and continued legacy of Charles Dickens in Algeria, focusing especially on his life-narrative accounts. Questions provoked interesting discussion about the forward-looking narratives of both Thompson’s poem in its engagement with insomnia and depression, and Dickens’ works with their continuing global inspiration and relevance.

Many thanks to everyone who was able to attend the Postgraduate Symposium, and to Sarah Parker for giving such a fascinating keynote. It was a really informative and useful event for our postgraduate members, and very enjoyable to hear what so many of us are working on. We hope to run the symposium again next year!

Forthcoming Event

Following next week’s postgraduate symposium, our next event will be a talk by Dr Clare Walker Gore from the University of Cambridge, titled ‘Making the Most of Your
Research: Sharing Your Work, Reaching an Audience and Finding Your Way as
an Early Career Researcher’. Clare is a Junior Research Fellow at Trinity College, Cambridge, and has also worked with the BBC as one of their 2015 New Generation Thinkers. Her talk will take place at 3pm on Thursday 7th July in Helmore 208.

And if you’ve not already done so, please register attendance for our postgraduate symposium here!