5th December 2018: Daisy Hay (Exeter) on Joseph Johnson

Wednesday 5th December 2018, 5:15 (Room 0.36, John Percival Building)

Professor Daisy Hay (Exeter) will be talking about life writing in the eighteenth century. Focusing on the influential radical publisher Joseph Johnson, her talk is entitled, ‘Experiments in Life-Writing: Joineriana and Joseph Johnson’.

Photo of Professor Daisy Hay

Daisy is an acclaimed biographer and literary critic. Her first book, the award winning Young Romantics: The Shelleys, Byron and Other Tangled Lives, focused on the families of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Leigh Hunt and on the political, intellectual and emotional significance of Romantic sociability. Her second book, Mr and Mrs Disraeli: A Strange Romance, traced the history of the Disraelis’ unusual courtship and marriage and was particularly concerned with the afterlife of Romanticism, the relationship between fact and fiction and the stories of Victorian women who, like Mary Anne Disraeli, sought to move beyond the circumstances of their birth to create for themselves fulfilling and stimulating lives. Daisy is currently working on a cultural history of English romanticism entitled Dinner with Joseph Johnson. Daisy is an engaging public speaker who regularly contributes on national radio programmes and we are delighted that she is joining us this semester.

As always, there will be sociable drinks and nibbles in the café afterwards.

Call for Papers – CRECS Summer Conference 2018

Call for Papers


Where: Cardiff University

When: Monday, 18 June 2018, 10:30-7pm

The Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Studies Seminar (CRECS) is pleased to announce our first CRECS Summer Conference with our colleagues from Bath Spa, Bristol, Exeter, and Reading universities. The event will be the first large gathering of staff, postgraduates, and undergraduates in the Southwest region. Our aim is to bring together a community of students and researchers who are working on literature of the long eighteenth century.

The day will consist of paper presentations from students, career advice panels, Library and Special Collections introductions, and research and graduate applications advice. We are also pleased to announce that Professor Damian Walford Davies (Cardiff University) and Dr Rebecca Bullard (Reading University) will be giving our opening and closing plenaries.

We invite 250-word presentation proposals from students on any topic related to literature from the period 1660-1832. However, we particularly welcome papers focused on the following works:

  • Aphra Behn, TheRover
  • Daniel Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
  • Eliza Haywood, Fantomina
  • Charlotte Smith, Elegiac Sonnets
  • Wordsworth’s and Coleridge’s, Lyrical Ballads
  • Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Papers will be 15 minutes long (approx. 1500 words) and panels will consist of 3 speakers.  Panels will be broken up into undergraduate and MA panels. All year groups are encouraged to apply.

There is no attendance charge and lunch and refreshments will be provided. We will also be hosting a wine reception after the closing plenary (6pm).

Deadline for Presentation Proposals: Extended to Friday, 18 May 2018

Please email your completed proposal to:

Melanie Bigold (bigoldm@cardiff.ac.uk), or

Jane Moore (moorejv@cardiff.ac.uk)

Report from CRECS Workshop 2018

On January 18th 2018, the Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar held a Workshop on PGR Recruitment, Cultures, and Training including with colleagues from a range of other institutions including the University of Bristol, the University Of Reading, Bath Spa University, the University of Exeter and Dongguk University Korea.

Following discussion of research interests and PhD supervision, there was considerable discussion about strategies for PhD Recruitment and Student Training. We also began to plan a conference to be held in the summer in Cardiff for undergraduate and MA students from each of the partner institutions. We’ll post an update on this blog soon!

Second Annual CRECS Conference, 17 May 2017

The Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth Century Seminar (CRECS) invites you to join us for our second Annual Conference on Wednesday, 17 May 2017.

CRECS exists to support and stimulate interest and discussion in Romantic and Eighteenth Century Studies at Cardiff University. On Wednesday 17 May 2017, we will be holding an exciting daylong event in Cardiff’s Special Collections and Archives to showcase the interesting work that takes place at Cardiff and to consider a few different approaches to the period. Continue reading

Revisiting ‘How Green Were the Romantics?’ with Professor Ralph Pite, 30 Jan 2017

For decades, scholars have argued that Romantic literature and thought anticipates many of the concerns of contemporary environmentalism. Some critics have even suggested that the Romantics might help us to think and to act in a world facing serious ecological challenges. But is there a danger that we misrepresent the Romantic period in making it so relevant to the issues of our own time? Is it useful for us to turn to a different age that experienced very different problems to those that threaten our ecosystems and ways of life?

Over twenty years ago, Ralph Pite published an influential article that aimed to test the extent to which ‘Romantic poetry seems often to express an ecological point-of-view’ by asking the question ‘How Green were the Romantics?’ [1] For the first CRECS event of 2017, we’re asking him to revisit this territory and to consider how the answer to this question might have changed since 1996. Continue reading

Kirsty McHugh, ‘Manuscript Travel Accounts of Scotland and Wales’

Kirsty McHugh is a first-year doctoral research student at the University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh & Celtic Studies. She is part of the AHRC Curious Travellers project. Here, she adapts her paper from the inaugural CRECS Conference for our blog.

My research focuses on manuscript journals, diaries and letters recording the experiences of individuals and groups travelling in Scotland and Wales in the Romantic period. Since beginning my research degree in October 2015 I’ve become aware of the unique opportunities that exploring this topic affords, but also its challenges—in part, due to the nature of travel writing, but also because existing research has been largely based on published travel writing. Here I offer a brief overview of where my research has led me thus far. Continue reading

Jannat Ahmed, ‘The Men of Regency Romance’

Jannat Ahmed, a third-year English Literature undergraduate at Cardiff University, adapts her paper from the inaugural CRECS Conference for the CRECS blog.

Jeffrey Weeks in his book, Sex, Politics and Society (2012: 49), writes:

From the 1860s there was a new cult of masculinity in the public schools. Thomas Arnold’s emphasis on spiritual autonomy and intellectual maturity in the first half of the century was increasingly replaced by a new stress on physical characteristics, on the demonstration of pure willpower. […] The model of the early public school was the monastery. The model of the later public school was definitely military. While women were increasingly associated with weakness and emotion, by 1860 men no longer dared embrace in public or shed tears, precisely because it was a mark of femininity. A variety of male clubs sprang up which emphasised the elements of male bonding. And with the new stress on games and militaristic training came transparent chimes of imperialism. Sexuality, race and empire were inextricably bound together.

In light of Weeks’ distinction between the judgement of men pre- and post-1860, I read Jane Austen, a lauded novelist of the long eighteenth century against Georgette Heyer, an overlooked novelist of the twentieth century.


Fig. 1. Jane Austen (1775–1817)


Fig. 2. Georgette Heyer (1902–1974)

Continue reading

Ella Morrish, ‘Hannah More: The Politics of Liberty’

Ella Morrish, a third-year English Literature undergraduate at Cardiff University, adapts her paper from the inaugural CRECS Conference for the CRECS Blog.

‘… the most sensible females, when they turn their attention to political subjects, are more uniformly on the side of liberty than the other sex.’—George Dyer, ‘On Liberty’ (1792)

But what do we mean by liberty?

John Barrell regards the late eighteenth century as a period of linguistic uncertainty, when ‘every moral and political word had a thousand shades of meaning’ (Barrell, 2000). Supposedly, the government were publishing manipulated definitions of certain words in newspapers so that radicals, who had used alternative definitions, appeared incapable of using language correctly. So, as Barrell understands, we can regard the political conflict of the period ‘as a conflict, among other things, about the meanings of words’. And consequently, the interpretation or manipulation of terms such as democrat, equality or liberty became a politically loaded act. With this in mind, I have been investigating how liberty is defined within the work of Hannah More, exposing the complexity of her political identity. Continue reading


CRECS Fight Club

CRECS warmly invites you to the launch of a new series of events on Romantic and Eighteenth-Century Literature and History.

Come and witness ENCAP’s heavyweights (and featherweights) make punchy 5-minute pitches for the significance of their favourite writer from the period.

Featuring: Jane Moore, Anthony Mandal, Melanie Bigold, Sophie Coulombeau, Jamie Castell, Nicky Lloyd.

Followed by a roundtable discussion where contributions will be welcomed from outside the ring.

When: Tuesday 3rd February from 17.15 to 18.15 with wine and soft drinks to follow.

Where: SCOLAR (details here).