16 March – Professor David Duff on Coleridge

The next Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth Century Seminar will take place on Monday 16 March at 6pm, in room 2.47. Prof David Duff (Queen Mary) will give a talk entitled ‘Coleridge as Prospectus-Writer’.

You can read more about David’s talk below. Refreshments are provided and all are welcome!


Coleridge as Prospectus-Writer

Coleridge’s ability to spawn new projects ‘like a herring’ is well documented, as is his tendency to leave many of them unfinished – or even unstarted. One indicator of his projecting impulse is his lifelong fascination with the genre of the prospectus, a type of printed advertisement widely used in the book trade to attract subscribers for a projected book, journal or newspaper, or to advertise a subscription lecture series. Over the course of his career, Coleridge wrote many such prospectuses, including the ‘flaming prospectus’ to his radical periodical The Watchman, the prospectuses to his later journal The Friend and to the Encyclopaedia Metropolitana, announcements of his various lecture series, and proposals for his Imitations from the Modern Latin Poets, which was advertised but then disappeared without trace. Coleridge’s intellectual and financial investment in prospectuses is suggested by the large number of copies he had printed (running into the thousands in some cases) and by the meticulous attention he paid to their wording and typography, which sometimes underwent multiple stages of revision. Even as schoolboy at Christ’s Hospital, Coleridge fantasised about publication with his bizarrely titled ‘Prospectus and Specimen of an Intended Translation of Euclid in a Series of Pindaric Odes’. Presenting new research on this important but largely forgotten genre, this paper will analyse a selection of Coleridge’s published and unpublished prospectuses, showing what they reveal about his working methods and imaginative proclivities and about Romantic literary culture in general.


David Duff is Professor of Romanticism at Queen Mary University of London. His books include Romance and Revolution: Shelley and the Politics of a Genre (1994), the award-winning Romanticism and the Uses of Genre (2009), and a number of edited books including an anthology of Modern Genre Theory (2000), a collection of essays on Scotland, Ireland, and the Romantic Aesthetic (2007), and The Oxford Handbook of British Romanticism (2018). He has also recently co-edited two special issues of the journal Litteraria Pragensia, on Wordsworth and France (2017) and on Exiles, Emigrés and Expatriates in Romantic-Era Paris and London (2019), both arising from conferences of the London-Paris Romanticism Seminar, which he co-founded in 2016. He is currently editing The Oxford Anthology of Romanticism and writing a literary history of the Romantic prospectus, of which the paper on Coleridge will form a part.

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