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

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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.

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Fig. 1. Jane Austen (1775–1817)

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Fig. 2. Georgette Heyer (1902–1974)

Continue reading

Report on Cambrian CRECS, 17 Feb 2015

by Jamie Castell and Alison Harvey

cambrian crecsCambrian CRECS: Nation, Region, Place in the Long 18th Century was the second event hosted by the Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth Century Seminar, and as Six Nations fever gripped the country, we sought to consider the position of Wales within Romantic Studies. After a hugely successful launch event with Fight Club, the CRECS organisers were keen to maintain the momentum of the series. How better than to showcase the literature and history of Wales and the amazing resources available in our very own library at Cardiff University’s Special Collections and Archives (SCOLAR)? We were tightly packed once more into a venue with standing room only: several members of academic staff were forced to balance themselves between bottles of wine and bowls of pretzels! So, the atmosphere was appropriately warm as four speakers offered four fresh perspectives on constructions of Welsh identity, landscape and art in the period. Continue reading

Killing the King with Porter: Freedom of expression in 1794

John Thelwall, one of the three reform society leaders tried for treason in 1794.

John Thelwall, one of the three reform society leaders tried for treason in 1794.

On Tuesday morning, I found myself sitting in a pub in London and repeatedly blowing the foam off a pot of porter while somebody filmed me and a gaggle of curious regulars looked on. Academia has often taken me to some rather unexpected places, but this was something of a new level. As I wiped the foam from my clothes for a second or third time, I wondered how I’d explain this to the English teacher at school who had such lofty hopes for my future career.

Well, there was method in the madness. Along with excellent director John and superb runner Rebecca, I was making a short film for BBC Arts as part of my participation in the BBC / AHRC New Generation Thinkers scheme. The scheme was established to find academics ‘with the ability to turn ground-breaking academic ideas into radio and television programmes’. After making two radio programmes and writing a couple of articles, this was the final stage of the scheme: I was to step into the shoes of Amanda Vickery or Lucy Worsley for a day, and try to convey the excitement and fascination of my research area—the literature and culture of late eighteenth-century Britain—to a public audience. Continue reading

Next event—Cambrian CRECS: Nation, Region, Place in the Long 18th Century, 17 Feb 2015

Gripped by Six Nations fever? Wondering which team will walk triumphant from the grassy field of combat in March? And can Wales recoup last week’s loss against England and secure their favoured status once again?

Well, CRECS can’t provide the answers to these questions, but we can certainly offer an interesting and enjoyable evening of discussion and debate on Wales, in which four speakers will offer a variety of perspectives on the nation’s relationship to the Romantic period. While exhaustive work has been done on the role played by Ireland and Scotland in shaping Romantic writing, far less critical attention has been paid to Wales, despite its significant presence during the period. Indeed, during the Romantic period, Wales was seen as the heart of sensibility by some, the home of the picturesque by others and the source of enduring myths about ‘native’ British culture by many. Continue reading

CFP: BARS 2015 Conference—Romantic Imprints (16–19 July 2015, Cardiff)

The BARS 2015 website will shortly be going live, but in the meanwhile, we’re posting the 2nd Call for Papers.

2nd Call for Papers: Romantic Imprints

British Association for Romantic Studies, 14th International Conference

Cardiff University, 16–19 July 2015

Download as PDF

Download as PDF

Proposals are invited for the 2015 British Association for Romantic Studies international conference which will be held at Cardiff University, Wales (UK) on 16–19 July 2015. The theme of the interdisciplinary conference is Romantic Imprints, broadly understood to include the various literary, cultural, historical and political manifestations of Romantic print culture across Europe, the Americas and the rest of the world. Our focus will fall on the ways in which the culture of the period was conscious of itself as functioning within and through, or as opposed to, the medium of print. The conference location in the Welsh capital provides a special opportunity to foreground the Welsh inflections of Romanticism within the remit of the conference’s wider theme. The two-hundredth anniversary of Waterloo also brings with it the chance of thinking about how Waterloo was represented within and beyond print.

The confirmed keynote speakers for Romantic Imprints will be John Barrell (Queen Mary, London), James Chandler (Chicago), Claire Connolly (Cork), Peter Garside (Edinburgh) and Devoney Looser (Arizona State). Continue reading