A Trip to Bath, December 2019

At Cardiff University, we run a module for taught postgraduates entitled ‘Narrative and Nation: Politics, Gender and History, 1780-1830’. This course invites students to examine the key prose genres that dominated the Romantic period, with a close eye on those three thematic clusters: gender, politics and history. We look at authors such as Jane Austen, Frances Burney, Olaudah Equiano, William Godwin, Lady Morgan, Ann Radcliffe, Walter Scott, Horace Walpole and Mary Wollstonecraft (to name a few!). During the Romantic period, the idea of the ‘nation’ came under intense scrutiny, and this module allows students to explore how this was reflected in British literature and culture. MA students taking this module are often members of CRECS, attending the talks and writing on the authors that CRECS celebrates. Read more about studying for an MA in English Literature at Cardiff here.

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Narrative and Nation MA students on the trip to Bath, December 2019

On 13 December 2019, the 2019-20 cohort of postgraduates and the module leader Anna Mercer went on a day trip to explore the city of Bath. It is well-established that a walking tour of this city is highly recommended for those interested in Austen – but we sought out some other literary sites/sights along the way that are perhaps less famous. Here’s some photos of our very successful trip, that also included a visit to No. 1 Royal Crescent, a stunning museum delivering a unique insight into Georgian spaces.

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The South Parade, where Frances Burney lived, and a plaque marks her lodgings. On 7 April 1780 she wrote of Bath: ‘this beautiful City, – which I really admire more than I did, if possible, when I first saw it. The Houses are so elegant, the streets are so beautiful, the Prospects so enchanting!’

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The new plaque to Mary Shelley by Bath Abbey. We often think of Mary Shelley being in Geneva when writing her literary masterpiece and debut novel, Frankenstein (1818), but on her return from mainland Europe Mary Shelley took lodgings in Bath in a spot that is now part of the Pump Room extension. Although supposedly the idea for Frankenstein came to Mary Shelley on one stormy night in Switzerland, the manuscript of the novel required much revision and editing (with some assistance from her husband, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley). Some of this literary labour took place in Bath.

 

The Frances Burney Memorial at Walcot Church (now: St Swithin’s Walcot). Hidden away up a hill away from the main tourist zones, you would be forgiven for walking past this modest memorial and not even noticing it. As Margaret Doody wrote: ‘Walcot Church was not, and is not in the fashionable area of Bath […] the other memorial [to Burney] is a street called d’Arblay Street in Soho, London, near the site of the old Burney residence in Poland Street. Walcot and Soho – Burney did not in death make an entrance into the fashionable world’.

We also spent time seeking out several key streets that appear in Jane Austen’s novel Persuasion (1818), the final text on our course, including Camden Crescent (for spectacular views: also where Sir Walter takes lodgings in the novel), Milsom Street (where Anne Elliot meets the Admiral), the Westgate Buildings (lodgings of Mrs Smith) and Bath Street (where Mrs Clay and Mr Elliot are spotted together).

We had an excellent lunch at Ponte Vecchio and ended up in the museum on the Royal Crescent…

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Really bringing Georgian culture to life!

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You can read about a previous MA Narrative and Nation trip to Bath in 2016 here.

 

CRECS 2019-20: Spring

We’ve now finalised the speakers and dates for our 2019-20 spring series of research seminars. All events start at 6pm, room 2.47 in the John Percival Building, Cardiff University, CF10 3EG. We hope you can join us!

18 Feb Dr Lizzy Spencer (University of York) ‘Women, Accounting, and Intertextuality in England c.1680-1830’

9 Mar Prof Tim Webb (University of Bristol) ‘Leigh Hunt and Romantic Imprisonment’

16 Mar Prof David Duff (Queen Mary, University of London) ‘Coleridge as Prospectus-Writer’

20 Apr Prof Nick Roe (St Andrews) ‘Romantic Biography and the Secrets of the Dead’

Talks are 45-50 minutes followed by questions. Refreshments are provided. 

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Detail from Leigh Hunt by Edmund Blunden

CRECS events w/c 25 November 2019

The Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth Century Seminars taking place w/c 25 November have been cancelled due to industrial action. The cancelled events are:

Mon 25 Nov Dr Katherine Fender (Oxford University) ‘“Feast…upon the wideness of the Sea”: Melancholy and the Solace of the Sea in the Poetry of John Keats’

Wed 27 Nov Prof Andrew Bennett (University of Bristol) ‘Meaning and Exemplarity in Poetics and Literary Theory: The Example of Keats and Yeats’

Our next seminar will take place on 17 February 2020 with a paper by Dr Elizabeth Spencer (York). We are also delighted to announce three more speakers for the 2020 Spring Term: Prof Tim Webb (Bristol), Prof David Duff (QMUL), and Prof Nicholas Roe (St Andrews).

Further information about these events will be circulated soon. In the meantime, please  follow us on Twitter @CRECSCardiff for updates.

– Anna and Josh

Dr Rhys Kaminski-Jones – 18 November 2019

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Join us on 18 November 2019 for a talk by Dr Rhys Kaminski-Jones.

Here are Rhys’s research interests:

Rhys Kaminski-Jones’s work focuses on connections between Welsh, English, and other Celtic literatures during the eighteenth century and the Romantic era, and on building links between Celtic Studies and other academic disciplines.

Having studied for a BA in English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, and an MA in Eighteenth Century Studies at the University of York, Rhys joined the Centre as a doctoral student in 2012, researching the cultural significance of the Ancient Britons during the long eighteenth century.

He has since re-joined the Centre as a postdoctoral fellow, and is currently engaged in a British Academy funded project on the neglected and much misunderstood Welsh author William Owen Pughe. He is preparing the first critical volume dedicated to Pughe’s Welsh and English writings, which aims to reassess the reputation of this lost Romantic figure.

He is also the co-editor (with Francesca Kaminski-Jones) of a forthcoming interdisciplinary volume exploring the connections between Celtic and Classical heritage in Britain, and is pursuing an interest in the environmental humanities with a project on air, atmosphere, and local identity in Romantic literature.

Dr Tess Somervell – 29 October 2019

Join us on 29 October for a talk by Dr Tess Somervell from the University of Leeds.

Tess’s research interests:

My research is in literature of the long eighteenth century, particularly poetry.

My doctoral research focused on time in three long poems of the (very) long eighteenth century: Milton’s Paradise Lost, Thomson’s The Seasons, and Wordsworth’s The Prelude.

Under the auspices of the AHRC-funded project ‘British Romantic Writing and Environmental Catastrophe’, I carried out research into representations of the deluge in eighteenth-century and Romantic writing, with a particular focus on Wordsworth. I am interested in how the biblical deluge was reimagined by poets in the light of developments in geological history, ideas about nature, and theories of time.

My work on the deluge feeds into my current project, which is on representations of weather and climate in georgic poetry of the long eighteenth century. I am examining how and why poets used the georgic mode and its conventions for representing the weather to navigate between competing conceptions of nature, notably the theological and the natural philosophical.

Tess Poster

CRECS 2019-20

Anna Mercer and Josh Powell are delighted to announce the following events for CRECS 2019-20 Autumn Term.

Scene on a ?Welsh River 1798 by Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851

Joseph Mallord William Turner, Scene on a ?Welsh River 1798 (Tate)

All sessions are held at 6pm in Room 2.47, John Percival Building, Cardiff CF10 3EU. Refreshments provided; all welcome!

Mon 14 Oct Introductory session with Dr Josh Powell (Cardiff) and Dr Anna Mercer (Cardiff) ‘New directions in the field of eighteenth century and Romantic Studies’

Tue 29 Oct Dr Tess Somervell (University of Leeds) ‘Poetry For a Stormy Night: Writing Wet Weather in 18th-Century and Romantic Georgic’

Mon 18 Nov Dr Rhys Kaminski-Jones (University of Wales Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies) ‘“Nothing in it for us Saxons”: Leigh Hunt, William Owen Pughe, and Romanticism’s Anglo-Welsh Border’

Mon 25 Nov Dr Katherine Fender (Oxford University) ‘“Feast…upon the wideness of the Sea”: Melancholy and the Solace of the Sea in the Poetry of John Keats’

Wed 27 Nov Prof Andrew Bennett (University of Bristol) ‘Meaning and Exemplarity in Poetics and Literary Theory: The Example of Keats and Yeats’

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.

Cardiff FrankenFest: Celebrating 200 Years of Frankenstein

When I placed my head on my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. My imagination, unbidden, possessed and guided me, gifting the successive images that arose in my mind with a vividness far beyond the usual bounds of reverie. I saw—with shut eyes, but acute mental vision, —I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together. I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavour to mock the stupendous mechanism of the Creator of the world.—Mary Shelley, Introduction to Frankenstein; or, the Modern Prometheus (1831 edn)

FrankenFestJoin CRECS in celebrating the bicentenary of the publication of Frankenstein, as we host a festival of events later this month that explore various aspects of Mary Shelley’s gothic classic. A collaboration between the School of English, Communication & Philosophy and Special Collections at Cardiff University, and directed by Prof. Anthony Mandal, Cardiff Frankenfest is part of the global Frankenreads initiative—a celebration of the novel’s anniversary by over 400 partners around the world, taking place in the lead-up to Halloween 2018.

We are delighted to be hosting four convivial, interactive events later this month, to which fans of the novel are warmly invited. Unless otherwise noted, events take place in the Special Collections of Cardiff University’s Arts and Social Studies Library.

  • A Stormy Night of Ghost-Telling: Fantasmagoriana and the Villa Diodati (22 Oct 2018, 5.30–7pm): In this seminar, Dr Maximiliaan van Woudenberg (Cambridge) will explore Fantasmagoriana, the collection of ghost stories in French read by Byron and the Shelleys during a summer stay in Switzerland. It was these tales that inspired the infamous ghost-storytelling completion, resulting in Mary’s creation of Frankenstein. The seminar will consist of a talk, followed by a hands-on discussion based on close readings of two short stories from Fantasmagoriana. This event is co-organised by CRECS and the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research.
  • ‘Of What A Strange Nature Is Knowledge’: Interdisciplinary Approaches To Frankenstein (24 Oct 2018, 5–7pm): This event explores the novel through various modes of analysis, led by Cardiff University researchers. Dr James Castell will discuss the ways in which Frankenstein anticipates key concerns of the environmental humanities; Barbara Hughes-Moore considers the relationship between legal culpability and the Creature’s status as a non-human; Prof. Keir Waddington examines how the laboratory space features in the novel. Each speaker will talk for about 15 minutes, with plenty of time for discussion.
  • Mary Shelley (29 Oct 2018, 6–9pm): A screening of Haifaa al-Mansoor’s 2017 biopic, starring Elle Fanning. The movie will be followed by a discussion of its representation of Mary’s life and love by Dr Anna Mercer (Cardiff/Keats House), whose work draws on her extensive research into the Shelley family manuscripts. This event is co-hosted by Cardiff BookTalk, and takes place in Cardiff University’s Optometry Building. 
  • ‘My Hideous Progeny’: Your Favourite Readings of Frankenstein and the FrankenQuiz (31 Oct 2018, 4–7pm): Start your Halloween celebrations by coming along to read and discuss your favourite passages from Frankenstein, at an event hosted by Rob Lloyd. The evening, and Festival, will conclude with a FrankenQuiz, in which you can prove your knowledge of all things Frankenstein—there will be suitably monstrous prizes for the winning team. For more information about readings, please contact Robert at LloydRS2@cardiff.ac.uk.

All events are free and everyone is welcome to attend. Refreshments will be available. However, please register using the Eventbrite link below so that we can plan accordingly: cardiff-frankenfest.eventbrite.co.uk.