Archive for category Articles
by Michael Goodman
… there can be no divorce between science and technology, on the one hand, and art, on the other, any more than there can be a divorce between art and the forms of social life.
(Susan Sontag, ‘One Culture and the New Sensibility’, 1965)
… too often at the moment we are being hamstrung by a restrictive and unimaginative view of what it is that academic work in the humanities should do. It’s high time we brought to a halt this obsession with utilitarian responses to current challenges and allowed space for the inspiring business of being curious.
(Martin Willis, Times Higher Education, 13 September 2012)
What are the humanities for? This was the implicit question that ran through the inaugural Digital Humanities Congress 2012 in Sheffield and the Forms of Innovation Symposium in Durham like a mischievous, but silent, spectre. And it was in the different ways that the two conferences dealt with this spectre that made them such compelling events. Read the rest of this entry »
Last year the Cardiff Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme (CUROP), an initiative which provides summer placements for undergraduates in the university research environment, helped fund a research project on Marginalia and Provenance in the Restoration Drama texts of the Cardiff Rare Books Collection. This year, another CUROP award helped fund two more undergraduates to undertake research for Dr Melanie Bigold’s on-going project on Marginalia and Provenance in the Cardiff Rare Books. The focus last year was on the 900 volumes of the Restoration Drama Collection. This year, Victoria Shirley and Thomas Tyrrell began to tackle the larger collection. Supported by the staff in Special Collections and Archives (SCOLAR), Victoria and Thomas were able to inspect over 1100 octavo texts with publication dates between 1660 and 1700. More information about visiting SCOLAR and the Cardiff Rare Books can be found here:
More information about CUROP can be found here: http://learning.cf.ac.uk/projects-funding/curop/.
On 1 February 1933, Women’s Wear Daily reported on the ‘controversial subject’ preoccupying the consumer press and the popular imagination: ‘Will women wear trousers?’ This enticing conundrum unravelled across newspaper columns and the pages of fashion and lifestyle magazines. Researching early editions of Vogue in the archives at the Gladys Marcus library at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York turned up a striking visual response to this question. Although the late 1930s are often identified as landmark years in terms of the magazine’s representation of women in trousers, references to and images of women wearing divided garments appear much earlier—from advertisements for riding habits and ‘equestrian breeches’ in October 1907 to regular images of women in beach pyjamas and ski trousers in the 1930s. The covers of Vogue also tell an intriguing story about the advance of trousers for women (or, more specifically, fashionable and affluent women). As early as 1917 a cover image (which appeared in both American and British Vogue) depicts an illustration of a woman, wrapped in furs and wearing tight trousers, killing a polar bear against an arctic backdrop. A few other (less disturbing) highlights include: Pierre Mourgue’s illustration of a woman in a ski-suit on the 15 December 1927 issue; Georges Lepape’s illustration of a woman in trousers for the 22 June 1929 ‘summer travel number’ (a copy of which is held at the Mid-Manhattan Picture Collection at the New York Public Library); and Eduardo Garcia Benito’s illustration of a woman in loose, blue trousers, running across a beach with a greyhound, on the 5 July 1930 cover.
By the end of the 1930s, slacks were making significant strides across the pages of Vogue. The 15 April 1939 edition of American Vogue featured on its cover a photograph of a model dressed in ‘sharkskin slacks and a buttonless jersey shirt (both of Celanese), a turban and Moroccan slippers’. Distinct from earlier covers portraying images of women wearing trousers for the beach, sailing and skiing, the April 1939 cover very conspicuously presents trousers as a more formal fashion garment (signalled partly by an Oriental aesthetic that harks back to Paul Poiret’s harem pants—an illustration of which, by Helen Dryden, appeared on the cover of the 1 July 1913 issue of the magazine). Read the rest of this entry »
As I was happily working away on some of our Kelmscott Press books, I discovered this wonderfully detailed bookplate in a copy of William Morris's The roots of the mountains. Although we have yet to learn the identity of Robert Hall, the plate certainly suggests that he was an enthusiastic collector of Kelmscott publications.
On the library table are copies of several well-known Kelmscott works, including William Morris's…
On 5 December 2011, Professor Robert Darnton (Harvard University) delivered Cardiff University’s Distinguished Lecture in the Humanities to a capacity audience. Taking Thomas Jefferson as his starting point, Professor Darnton traced the journey of the exchange of ideas, from Jefferson’s Taper to the commercialisation of the internet, arguing that although the internet seems to translate Jefferson’s ideal into a viable system of communication, commercial interests are exploiting digital technology in order to fence off large parts of our cultural commons. He cited the campaign to create a Digital Public Library of America as an answer to that threat.
Before giving his talk, Professor Darnton was interviewed by Rhys Tranter, a PhD candidate at Cardiff University working on Samuel Becket and trauma in the post-war era. The following post offers a transcript of their conversation.
On 23 June, Anthony Mandal presented a talk on Romantic fiction and print culture at The Romantic Book: A Day Symposium, hosted by the Open University. The talk, entitled ‘A World of Words: Romantic Fiction and the Literary Marketplace’, provided an overview of various economic, legal and technological factors that impacted on the production of fiction during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, as well as analysing the output of new fiction and what it meant to be a novelist in the Romantic era. The talk and accompanying slides are available for download through the Cardiff Book History blog.
Romantic Textualities: Literature and Print Culture, 1780–1840 is a peer-reviewed online journal that focuses on the interface between literature, book history and material cultures during the Romantic era. Romantic Textualities disseminates scholarship in a variety of forms: peer-reviewed essays, reports and bibliographical checklists and review articles. Past essays have included studies as diverse as Wordsworth and the rise of copyright, metropolitan art criticism, travel writing, sentimental fiction and morality, Gothic bluebooks and discourses of gardening.
We have received review copies of the following books. If you are interested in reviewing one of the unassigned books, or if you would like to suggest a different book for review, please contact Nicola Lloyd (LloydN1@cardiff.ac.uk). Read the rest of this entry »
by Matthew Sangster
Founded by the dissenting minister, educationalist and philosopher David Williams in 1790, the Literary Fund (or Royal Literary Fund (RLF) from 1842) was intended, according to an early advertisement, to ‘withdraw those apprehensions of extreme poverty, and those desponding views of futurity, which lead Genius and Talent from the path of Virtue, prostitute them to pernicious factions, and convert the Liberty of the Press into a detestable and unsufferable license.’ The Fund has operated continuously since its foundation, providing confidential financial assistance to writers who have suffered personal or professional setbacks.
The RLF’s extensive archive is held physically at the British Library, but is also available in large part at many other libraries on microfilm. It provides distinctive and valuable data for studying the lives lived by working writers throughout the nineteenth century. Authors assisted by the Fund include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, François-René de Chateaubriand, Ford Madox Ford, James Joyce, D. H. Lawrence, E. Nesbit and Bram Stoker. Read the rest of this entry »
(by Andrew Gorin, The Faster Times, 3 Mar 2011)
Trying to preserve the craft of letterpress printing by making it into an iPad app is kind of like trying to save the art of the book by promoting the AmazonKindle. It’s absurd. So absurd that it just might work!
Graphic designer and wood type enthusiast John Bonadies has created a “virtual letterpress environment” to be released for the iPad. He calls it LetterMpress, and you can use it to mix colors, set type as you would on a real press—meaning that the letters appear backwards in the press bed—and store your designs in digital galley trays. And yeah, you can even export these “prints” directly to your LaserJet to be copied effortlessly while you sit around admiring your perfectly manicured, ink free, fingernails. Damn you look good!
Analyzing Literature by Words and Numbers
Victorians were enamored of the new science of statistics, so it seems fitting that these pioneering data hounds are now the subject of an unusual experiment in statistical analysis. The titles of every British book published in English in and around the 19th century—1,681,161, to be exact—are being electronically scoured for key words and phrases that might offer fresh insight into the minds of the Victorians.
This research, which has only recently become possible, thanks to a new generation of powerful digital tools and databases, represents one of the many ways that technology is transforming the study of literature, philosophy and other humanistic fields that haven’t necessarily embraced large-scale quantitative analysis.