At the upcoming NASSR conference on “Romanticism and Rights” in Winnipeg, Canada this August, one of the headline events is the Aboriginal Rights Panel, which I expect many readers of this blog will attend. But what readers may not know is that Canada is at this moment at the centre of a deep and painful investigation into the ongoing legacies of the colonial maltreatment of Native people, which in June 2015 a Truth and Reconciliation Commission determined cultural genocide. Most of all, readers may not be aware of the pernicious influence of British Romanticism in forming the ideological conditions in which this cultural genocide took place. Continue reading Romanticism & Aboriginal Rights in Canada: A Primer
Ahhh… campus in the summer! So quiet, so peaceful, and so perfect for uninterrupted doctoral study — and for blogging! After recovering from a whirlwind Spring term, I can finally report on the wonderful work that our graduate writers have been producing in 2015. But first, I have to say what a privilege it has been to be the Managing Editor of the NGSC Blog this year, and to serve our community of readers with original and exciting content. Our Traffic Counter reports that we have over 3,000 monthly visitors and over 15,000 page views each month. Thank you, everyone, for reading! Continue reading Spring 2015 Editorial Report
I was very excited to hear about Margaret Doody’s new book, Jane Austen’s Names: Riddles, Persons, Places (University of Chicago Press, April 2015). In this text, Doody traces the etymological contexts for the nomenclature of each of Austen’s characters, while exposing curious patterns of naming throughout her corpus. Who knew that Austen’s Marys were uniformly negative, or that, with the name “Fitzwilliam,” Mr Darcy naturally followed as the inheritor of William Collins’s suit for Elizabeth’s hand?
When I peeked into the book itself, I was impressed with the etymological research, and I was inspired to think about how the names could be explained further with historical correlatives. The Romantic-era histories behind the names give the characters even more flair, while showing Austen’s awareness of some of the most fraught and intriguing elements of English public life — including espionage. Continue reading Austen’s Names and Romantic Espionage
One of the great advantages we have as scholars is the opportunity to form communities beyond our institutions — not just at annual conferences in remote locales, but also in ongoing conversations on the web. These online communities are fora for scholarly dialogue and informal queries, requests for crowdfunding special projects and historical sites, and repositories of archival material. Here’s a brief roundup of selected sites, listservs, and communities available to Romanticists (and if you know of more, please get in touch!).
(1) NASSR List — the list of the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism (subscription required). The list is frequented by many major scholars in the field, but also graduate students and junior faculty; this is a particularly excellent resource for answers to obscure and arcane historical questions, and for links to major awards and opportunities in the field. Continue reading Romantic Web Communities
I’m delighted to announce that NASSR 2015 has released a program! Highlights of the August 13-16 conference in Winnipeg will include: tours of the archives of the Hudson’s Bay Company (the world’s oldest continuously-operating corporation) and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights; plenaries by Joel Faflak (Western) and Nancy Yousef (CUNY-Baruch); and an Aboriginal Rights Roundtable. Also of note — in addition to participating in many panels, the members of the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus will be hosting a professionalization panel and a pub night.
I also have an update about the NASSR Pedagogy Contest, sponsored by the NASSR Advisory Board, the NASSR 2015 Organizing Committee, and Romantic Circles. Please send in your syllabuses by June 5th to be considered for the Pedagogy award (which comes with a cash prize of $250). Here are the instructions:
Please send a document of between 3-5 pages to email@example.com by June 5th. Please include a cover letter with identifying information, which should be left off all other documents. Initial queries and questions are welcomed.
Potential materials might include but are not limited to:
– A cover letter and explanation of the submission, including an argument as to the course or project’s pedagogical innovation and benefits
– Syllabus or parts of a syllabus
– Assignment sheets
– Multimedia or digital materials
In this post, I have the very great pleasure of interviewing the contemporary composer Ben Scheer about his new artistic production. Ben, who studies composition and violin at the Eastman School of Music, has just written and released a new work for voice and piano based on William Blake’s poem “A Poison Tree,” from the Songs of Experience (1794). A recording of the piece, which features the soprano Rebecca Herlich and the pianist Forrest Moody, is available on Soundcloud here. Ben answers my questions about his contemporary setting of Blake’s poem after the jump.
MMLA (Columbus, OH, Nov. 12-15):
“Intersections of Art and Science in the Long Nineteenth Century”:
We welcome papers that explore the intersection of “art” and “science” in the long nineteenth century. From Keats’s enigmatic intonation “beauty is truth, truth beauty,” to Ruskin’s declaration that “high art differs from low art in possessing an excess of beauty in addition to its truth, not in possessing excess of beauty inconsistent with truth,” to the aestheticism of the fin de siècle, the nineteenth century witnessed a fraught renegotiation of the relationships between knowledge, art, and science. We are interested in papers treating artistic representations, practices, and engagements with the empirical sciences, and in the epistemological shifts that constructed “art” as both distinct from, and linked to, “science.”
250-word abstracts by April 5th to Andrew Welch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To feature your conference proposal on the NGSC Blog, please write to the Managing Editor.
Dear Romantic readers: Here are some calls for papers that might interest you for MLA 2016 (Austin). If you have a CFP you’d like to promote, please write to me and I’ll add it to our list!
Papers addressing how literary scholars can use performance–the stage, lectern, classroom, and other non-traditional scholarly practices–to reconsider issues pertaining to Romantic-era drama, poetry, and prose. 250-word abstracts and brief bio by 10 March 2015; Omar F. Miranda (email@example.com) and Randall Sessler (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Auden claimed “poetry makes nothing happen.” How does lyric aim for political effects, and fail? How does lyric cope with its ineffectuality? Is the ineffectual the apolitical? 250-word abstract; c.v. by 10 March 2015; Daniel Wright (email@example.com).
After John Clare
The John Clare Society of North America invites proposals for its panel at the Modern Language Association Convention in Austin, Texas, January 7-10th, 2016.
TOPIC: “After John Clare.” Scholarship on any aspect of Clare’s influence on 19th, 20th, or 21st century poets and/or his poetry’s continuing relevance to the field of lyric studies. Abstract and brief bio by 15 March 2014 to Erica McAlpine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family, Kinship & Identity in British Literature, 1750-1900
How do eighteenth and nineteenth-century literary works portray the effects of kinship networks (family, marriage, siblings, parents) on individual characters/identities? 300-word abstract plus bio by 15 March 2015; Talia Vestri Croan (email@example.com).
As sometimes happens when reading Romantic literature, I recently came across a chance reference to something that seemed uncannily modern. In A Vindication of the Rights of Woman (1792), Mary Wollstonecraft begins suddenly to comment on the practice of tattooing among “weak-minded” women:
I agree with Rousseau that the physical part of the art of pleasing consists in ornaments, and for that reason I should guard girls against the contagious fondness of dress… When the mind is not sufficiently opened to take pleasure in reflection, the body will be adorned with sedulous care; and ambition will appear in tattooing or painting it.
What?! Wollstonecraft!! Should I be adding sleeve tattoos to my mental image of flighty young ladies prancing around Almack’s in gauzy empire-waist dresses?
Last night, I performed five of Lord Byron and Isaac Nathan’s collaborative work of music and poetry, the Hebrew Melodies (1815), with the lovely and talented soprano Catherine Hancock at a private home in New York City. This was the New York premiere of Byron’s songs: there’s no record of the Hebrew Melodies being performed in American nineteenth-century periodicals, and although the musical settings were popular in the early decades of the nineteenth-century, the score was out of print from the 1850s until 1988, when Paul Douglass and Frederick Burwick produced a scholarly edition to coincide with the bicentennial of Byron’s birth. So, though we were working with music that was exactly 200 years old, the material was very new for our listeners. Theodor Adorno once said that the second-generation Romantics were “the locum tenentes of nonexistant great English composers.” But what was the music that was being written and played during English Romanticism? Our concert sought an answer to this question. Continue reading Concert Notes: Byron’s Hebrew Melodies at 200