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!

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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on this important but largely forgotten genre, this paper will analyse a selection of Coleridge’s published and unpublished prospectuses, showing what they reveal about his working methods and imaginative proclivities and about Romantic literary culture in general.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.

Dr Lizzy Spencer, 18 February 2020

The first CRECS research seminar of Spring 2020 will take place on Tuesday 18 February at 6.30pm in room 2.47 (John Percival Building, Cardiff University, CF10 3EG).

We are delighted to welcome Dr Lizzy Spencer to Cardiff.

Lizzy is a Lecturer in Eighteenth Century and Public History at the University of York. Her research interests lie in the gender, social, and material history of England, 1680-1830, and in particular on the lives of women. She also has practical and research interests in Public History, including living history and re-enactment, museum display, and period dramas.

This talk will give an introduction to Lizzy’s current research project, which offers one of the first in-depth historical studies of women and accounting – and of women as accountants – in England c.1680-1830. It will trace the evolution of the project from doctoral research into women and their clothing and, drawing on a wide range of sources including account books, bills and receipts, drafts, and correspondence, will suggest that we need to pay careful attention to the intertextual processes involved in keeping account.

Please join us for: ‘Women, Accounting, and Intertextuality in England c.1680-1830’ on Tuesday 18 February at 6.30pm (room 2.47). All welcome. Refreshments provided.

Questions? Contact Dr Anna Mercer (mercerA1@cardiff.ac.uk) and Dr Josh Powell (powellJ15@cardiff.ac.uk).

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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.

 

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.

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!

Excursion Report: CRECS Goes Gothic at Strawberry Hill House, 16 May 2017

Horace Walpole, painted by John Giles Eccardt in 1754.

On 1 March, 2015 the Walpole Trust reopened Strawberry Hill House to the public. As the former home of Horace Walpole, famed (and famously eccentric) author of the first Gothic novel, the house has been a popular tourist destination since it was first built up in 1749.

At noon on 16 May 2017, twenty-three students and scholars from Cardiff University stepped blinking into the parking lot of Strawberry Hill House, out of the darkened bus that had carried them from rainy Wales. The weather in Twickenham was hardly Gothic-appropriate, but since the tour of the house had been arranged for the late afternoon, we had several hours to eat our bag lunches, stretch our legs in Strawberry Hill’s gardens, and snag a leisurely drink along the sunny banks of the Thames. By the time we returned to the House at 4pm, the group was happy, slightly sunburnt and ready to be thrilled, amazed and educated about Walpole’s ‘little Gothic castle’. Continue reading

Gothic Revival: CRECS Tours Strawberry Hill House, 16 May 2017

Join the Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar (CRECS) on 16 May 2017 for an exciting excursion, as we visit the Gothic Strawberry Hill House in Twickenham, a modern architectural marvel. With its arches and turrets, its elaborate windows and gables, and its bone-white exterior, Strawberry Hill is a bizarre cross between a Gothic castle and a Disney one. Until 1797, it was also the home of the Gothic novelist Horace Walpole.

Constructed in stages between 1749 and 1776, Strawberry Hill has the distinction of being the first house built in the medieval style without using any old materials—a self-conscious work of Gothic fakery. This makes it the perfect match for Walpole, its original architect. Victorian scholar Thomas Macaulay famously called Walpole ‘the most eccentric, the most artificial, the most fastidious, the most capricious, of men’. Walpole was inspired to make multiple, wild renovations to Strawberry Hill during his lifetime, and the house inspired his writing in return: most famously, The Castle of Otranto (1764). Continue reading

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

Review of Francesca Saggini’s CRECS talk, ‘From The Vaults: Frances Burney and the Tragic Muse’, 13 Mar 2017

Many thanks to Jannat Ahmed (@PemberleyParade) for writing this review of our CRECS event, which took place on Monday 13 March 2017.

The Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth-Century Seminar recently had the pleasure of welcoming Professor Francesca Saggini (Università della Tuscia, Visiting Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge), author of Backstage in the Novel: Frances Burney and the Theater Arts, to present her new (never-before-presented) research on Frances Burney and the Tragic Muse. Discussing the neglect of Burney and her fellow female tragedians in most anthologies of eighteenth-century plays/drama, Saggini drew our attention to the contexts of Burney’s tragedies, and issued a call to take them more seriously. Continue reading

Monday 13 March 2017: Francesca Saggini, ‘From the Vaults: Frances Burney and the Tragic Muse’

 

Frances Burney is often best known as the writer of pioneering novels of manners that inspired Jane Austen, such as Evelina, or: The History of a Young Lady’s Entrance into the World (1778). But she was also a playwright, who drew upon a rich tradition of tragic drama to reflect on her experiences at the court of George III and, more broadly, the ideological constraints that women faced in eighteenth-century society. In this talk, Francesca Saggini will discuss Burney’s ‘Tragic Muse’, and will more broadly reflect on the way that critical reception inflects our treatment of Burney and other late eighteenth-century dramatists.

Francesca Saggini is a Professor of English Literature at the Università della Tuscia and a Visiting Fellow at Lucy Cavendish College, Cambridge. She has published extensively on Gothic fiction and the stage, the house in literature, and the fiction and drama of Frances Burney. Her most recent book is The Gothic Novel and the Stage. Romantic Appropriations (Pickering and Chatto-Routledge, 2015), which was awarded an Honourable Mention at the European Society for the Study of English Book Awards in 2016.

Please join us in Cardiff University’s Special Collections, in the basement of the Arts and Social Studies Library. The event starts at 5.30pm on Monday 13 March 2017. As usual, refreshments will follow after the presentations and discussion.

Attendance is free, but we would be grateful if you could register using our EventBrite link:https://www.eventbrite.com/e/monday-13-march-2017-francesca-saggini-from-the-vaults-frances-burney-and-the-tragic-muse-tickets-32616646267