Middlemarch: ‘Unabridged’

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[cropped] Eliot’s Manuscript of Middlemarch © Jonathan Garnault Ouvry / British Library

Guest Post from Unit Member Kathy Rees: on reading George Eliot’s Middlemarch again, abridgement, and the significance of paratext mottoes. 

 

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.

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Monthly Roundup: March 2017

 

Events

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!

Upcoming

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.

 

Branwell Brontë: A Bicentenary Celebration

Last week our unit member Edwin Marr put together a round-table event to celebrate the life of Branwell Brontë, following from the round-table we held in 2016 celebrating Charlotte Brontë. The event was a great success and everyone who attended enjoyed the discussions and the texts we read. Many thanks to Edwin for organising the event!

You can download a pdf version of the materials from the event here: Branwell Brontë Roundtable.

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.

Far From the Madding Crowd: Panel Discussion

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For anyone who couldn’t make it to our Being Human 2016 event, we recorded the panel discussion that took place after the film screening and you can watch it by clicking here!

Many thanks to our speakers – Chris Lyon, Kirsty Harris and Kathy Rees – and to everyone who came along and got involved – it was a great evening and we hope to see many of you again at future events.

Next Event: Reading Sexual Advice in the Age of Mass Print: The Sexual Knowledge Business in Victorian Britain

Our next visiting speaker will be Sarah Bull, who will give a guest lecture on Friday 9th December at 5pm in Helmore 223 entitled ‘Reading Sexual Advice in the Age of Mass Print: The Sexual Knowledge Business in Victorian Britain.’

Monthly Roundup: November

November’s Happenings 

Nineteenth Century Studies at ARU are now on Facebook! Our page is still growing at the moment, but if you’re a Facebook user please do add us to your feed for updates and information.

Our major event for November was last week’s screening and panel discussion of Thomas Vinterberg’s Far From The Madding Crowd for the Being Human Festival. Many thanks to everyone who got involved and made the evening such a success, especially Mary Joannou who chaired the discussion, and our three panelists: Kathy Rees, Kirsty Harris, and Chris Lyon who also shared a wonderful blog about Thomas Hardy here. It was fantastic to see so many new faces in the audience alongside the familiar ones, and we are hoping to open more events to similar public engagement in the future.

In case you missed it, we have recorded the panel discussion after the film, and will be sharing a link to it here on the blog in a few days!

Coming Up

Our next event is a talk from Sarah Bull entitled ‘Rethinking Sexual Advice in the Age of Mass Print: The Sexual Knowledge Business in Victorian Britain’, on Friday 9th December at 5pm in Helmore 223. This is our last event for the semester, so we’re hoping that all our members can join us for what promises to be a fascinating talk and discussion!

Also of interest is the conference on 200 Years of the Nutcracker being held at Anglia Ruskin University this coming Saturday, 3rd December, with special guests Maria Tatar (Harvard University) and Kevin Crossley-Holland (Carnegie Medal Winning Children’s Author). You can book your place here.

Hardy and Me: A Personal Account

In honour of tomorrow’s Far From the Madding Crowd event for the Being Human Festival 2016, unit member Chris Lyon has written a post for us about his experiences with reading Thomas Hardy.

We’re looking forward to our free screening and discussion of Far From the Madding Crowd tomorrow, and hope to see you there!

Hardy and Me. A Personal Account.

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The Tithe Barn, Abbotsbury near Wymouth, by Walter Tyndale

 

Like most people passing through the English state education system, my first encounter with Thomas Hardy was an obligatory study of a Hardy novel as part of the GCE (now GCSE) National Curriculum for English Literature. No explanation was given as to why Hardy was and still is deemed essential reading. He just appeared in the classroom one day. In my case that day happened to be in 1974, exactly 100 years after its first publication. The novel in question was Far from the Madding Crowd.

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Next Event: Far From The Madding Crowd

Our next event takes place on 24th November between 7 and 10pm in the Mumford Theatre. We are hosting a film screening of Thomas Vinterberg’s 2015 version of Far From the Madding Crowd, followed by a panel discussion comprised of lecturers and students working on theories of adaptation. The audience will be invited to ask questions or raise topics for the panel to discuss.

This event is part of the Being Human Festival 2016, free to attend, and open to everyone.

Book your free tickets here!

Livestream: Rohan McWilliam on Victorian Nightlife

In case you missed Rohan McWilliam’s talk on ‘Victorian Nightlife and the West End of London’ today, we recorded a livestream of the event, and you can watch it at the link below. (Unfortunately our Internet connection dropped out halfway through so the recording is in two parts and missing a segment while we got it working again.) Many thanks to Rohan for such an interesting paper!

Watch/Listen again here!