First Annual CRECS Conference, 17 May 2016

The Cardiff Romanticism and Eighteenth Century Seminar (CRECS) turns three semesters old on Tuesday, 17 May 2016 … 

And, to celebrate, it’s time for the first CRECS Annual Conference!

CRECS exists to support and stimulate interest and discussion in Romantic and 18th-century studies at Cardiff University. With that in mind, we will be holding a unique 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.

The day (running from 09.30 to 18.00) will be split into two parts. In the morning, we’ll be holding a mini-conference, where undergraduates and postgraduates alike can present their work and ideas in punchy 10-minute papers with plenty of opportunities for discussion.

In the afternoon, we’ll be running a series of no fewer than three exciting workshops with internationally recognized experts in the field:

  1. Dr Mary-Ann Constantine and Dr Liz Edwards (Centre for Advanced Welsh and Celtic Studies) on eighteenth-century and Romantic Welsh tours;
  2. Dr Jennie Batchelor, Dr Koenraad Claes and Dr Jenny DiPlacidi (University of Kent) on The Lady’s Magazine;
  3. Professor Tim Stretton (St Mary’s University, Nova Scotia) on a topic to be confirmed.

The day is open to those who wish to attend and participate in discussion, as well as to those who want to deliver papers. A buffet lunch, coffee and a wine reception will be provided, so—to join us for this free event—please sign up using Eventbrite by Monday, 2 May 2016: http://crecs-conference-2016.eventbrite.co.uk

The day will be fun and informal, while also giving students the opportunity to try the ‘conference experience’ for the first time. We’d particularly like to encourage undergraduate students, as well as postgraduates and recent graduates, to propose papers on anything related to the Romantic period and 18th century. This is a fantastic opportunity to present and get feedback on your work in a friendly and familiar setting, while meeting with various leading scholars doing exciting and innovative research. You might want to speak about an argument from one of your essays or try out an idea for a dissertation. Whatever, you’ll be developing important skills and experience for the future: as well as giving you a taste of what postgraduate research culture at Cardiff is like, presenting at the CRECS conference will look very impressive on your CV!

If you’re a student based in Cardiff University, and would like to deliver a 10-minute presentation, please send a 100-word proposal to Dr Jamie Castell (castellj@cardiff.ac.uk) by Friday, 15 April 2016.

 

 

Report on ‘Valentines CRECS: How romantic were the Romantics?’, 8 Feb 2016

In the week of Valentine’s Day, the CRECS audience assembled to hear husband-and-wife team Professor John Strachan (Romantic scholar and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at Bath Spa University) and Dr Jane Moore (Reader in Romanticism at Cardiff University) address some burning questions about romance in the Romantic era. What can literary men and women of the period teach us about courtship, marriage, sex and love?  Can they tell us how to be a good husband or a good wife?  Or offer examples of how not to be? And what of same-sex partnerships?  Jane represented the views of women writers of the period, including Jane Austen, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Letitia Elizabeth Landon; while John sifted the love lives of Lord Byron, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, William Wordsworth, and John Keats. Continue reading

Valentine CRECS: How romantic were the Romantics? 8 Feb 2016

How romantic were writers of the Romantic age?  What can literary men and women of the period teach us about courtship, marriage, sex and love?  Can they tell us how to be a good husband or a good wife?  Or offer examples of how not to be? And what of same-sex partnerships?  In the week of St Valentine’s Day, husband-and-wife team, Professor John Strachan (Romantic scholar and Pro-Vice Chancellor for Research at Bath Spa University) and Dr Jane Moore (Reader in Romanticism at Cardiff University), discuss these questions, and others, with reference to writers of the Romantic age.

  • John will represent the views of the male poets, including Byron, Coleridge, Wordsworth and Shelley.
  • On the distaff side, Jane will focus on writers including Jane Austen and Mary Wollstonecraft as well as the poets, Felicia Hemans, ‘L.E.L.’ (Letitia Elizabeth Landon) and Mary Lamb.
  • As usual, there will be plenty of time for plenty of discussion about the issues raised after the presentations.
  • The evening will finish with a drinks and snacks reception.

Join us on 8 February 2016, in Lecture Theatre 0.36 in the John Percival Building. The event will start at 5.15pm and will be followed by refreshments, as usual.

Children of CRECS: Contesting Childhood in the Romantic Era, 7 Dec 2015

The study of childhood has long been crucial to interdisciplinary study of the Romantic period. Historians of the family have pinpointed the eighteenth century as crucial for the emergence of our modern understanding of the concept, from Philippe Ariés’ controversial claim that the very idea of childhood developed in Western Europe only around this time to Lawrence Stone’s equally fiercely contested account of the ‘closed domesticated nuclear family’. These arguments about broad social forces have been accompanied by a surge of critical interest in pioneering educational theory, particularly in the ideas of John Locke and Jean-Jacques Rousseau and their resonance throughout political, scientific and literary discourses. Scores of novelists, poets and essayists absorbed these ideas, and a deep interest in the nature of childhood and education runs throughout the imaginative literature of the Romantic period . Writers such as Anna Barbauld and Maria Edgeworth wrote not only educational treatises but also innovative tales and poetry specifically marketed towards children. Novels by writers including Mary Hays and Walter Scott featured protagonists whose childhood reading fosters tragic flaws later in life. And Romantic poets like Samuel Taylor Coleridge and John Thelwall became deeply preoccupied with the potential of the cradle song to articulate the relationship between domestic, ‘private’ relations and political, ‘public’ concerns. Continue reading

Report on ‘Romantic Landscapes: Geography and Travel’, 23 Nov 2015

Our second CRECS event of the year was ‘Romantic Landscapes: Geography and Travel’, where we gathered to discuss the centrality of travel, topography and landscape in the Romantic period.

Jamie CastellJamie Castell, of Cardiff’s School of English, Communication and Philosophy, began by announcing that his intention, and hope, for the evening’s discussion was that it would persuade us all to do some of our own Romantic wandering.

To illustrate the concept of the Romantic wanderer, Jamie turned to Caspar David Fredrick’s Der Wanderer über dem Nebelmeer (Wanderer above the Sea of Fog, 1818). It portrays a classic Romantic scene of a lone male, facing outward into a swirling cloud of mist that partly obscures the mountain range. Jamie suggested that there are several important considerations we might bring to an image such as this. Firstly, that it might serve as an archetype for a certain type of liberty: the freedom of walking in the mountains juxtaposed with the state of surveillance that the aftermath of the French Revolution brought to Britain. Secondly, that the mind is just as important an aspect as the physicality of the landscape: classic Romantic outward looking leads to inward revelation. It was at this point that Jamie indulged us all with a delightful pun—all Romantic wandering is also a’wondering. A humorous addition it may have been, but nevertheless an important contemplation when considering Romantic poetry. Continue reading

Romantic Landscapes: Geography and Travel, 23 Nov 2015

Our second CRECS event will focus on the centrality of travel, topography and landscape in the Romantic period. Landscape is perhaps the paradigmatic conceit of the Romantic moment, permeating every aspect of the literature, art and music of the era. It features as more than just a setting, but conveys a complex set of ideas, moods and associations that are underpinned by a distinct philosophical perspective. Landscape comes to register the expansive imagination in a multitude of works, ranging from the sublime gothic landscape to the picturesque haunts of sentimental writers, from the famous peregrinations of Jane Austen’s heroines to the rustic pathways of the Lake Poets.

Travel can be multinational and globetrotting, echoing the significance of the Grand Tour as an essential part of an elite education, bringing together nature and culture in complex and didactic ways. It can also be rather more delimited, so that the highways and byways of village life come to trace the circulatory system of a domestic ideology that enshrined, for the first time, a meaningful conception of ‘Britishness’ in the context of the Napoleonic wars. Continue reading