Visiting speaker, 26 May 2015: Catherine Wynne on the Victorian stage

Catherine Wynne (University of Hull) will be presenting her paper, ‘Popular Fiction in Performance: Gaskell, Collins and Stevenson on the Stage’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 26 May 2015. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.48.

2015.07.wynne‘In dramatising a novel, there are many advantages but many difficulties,’ notes Bram Stoker, the theatre critic for Dublin’s Evening Mail, after viewing Wilkie Collins’s adaptation of The Woman in White (1860) at Dublin’s Theatre Royal in April 1872. Collins, he observes, saw that ‘with the set of characters which had become famous in his novel, and with the general plot of that novel, a play of absorbing interest might be written, but that it would be necessary to modify many of the details of that story.’ This paper takes its cue from Stoker’s observations by examining three popular and ‘melodramatic’ Victorian novels. I examine three adaptations of Elizabeth Gaskell’s industrial novel, Mary Barton (1848), The most famous of these is Dion Boucicault’s The Long Strike (first performed in 1866), although the more interesting ones are John Courtney’s adaptation for the Royal Victoria Theatre, Lambeth in 1851 and William Thompson Townsend’s adaptation for the Grecian Theatre in October 1861. As outlined by Stoker above, Collins adapted his own sensation novel for the stage in 1871 but J. M. Ware’s adaptation for the Surrey Theatre in 1860 rivals in its sensation detail Collins’s later adaptation. Finally, I briefly discuss two adaptations of Stevenson’s Jekyll and Hyde (1888)—Richard Mansfield’s famous production and Laurence Irving’s later adaptation. Through an exploration of the processes of adaptation and the stage performances of these generically different novels this chapter considers how each dramatic rendering manipulates the original text. The varied ‘translations’ of these novels from page to stage extends our understanding of the operation of melodrama in Victorian culture. The paper considers how gender and class politics are negotiated and re-negotiated and how the productions provide an insight into the power structures of Victorian theatre. (more…)

Visiting Speaker—Catherine Wynne: Change of Date

Owing to logistical issues, Catherine Wynne’s paper, ‘In dramatising a novel, there are many advantages but many difficulties’ (Bram Stoker): Victorian Fiction and the Stage, which was scheduled for the 21st of April, has been postponed to the 26th of May. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Visiting speaker, 24 Mar 2015: Gowan Dawson on Citizen Science

Gowan Dawson (University of Leicester) will be presenting his paper, ‘Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 24 March 2015. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.48.

The ‘Constructing Scientific Communities: Citizen Science in the 19th and 21st Centuries’ project is an innovative collaboration between the Universities of Oxford and Leicester in partnership with the Natural History Museum, the Royal College of Surgeons and the Royal Society. The project explores, and contributes to, the growing movement of what has come to be known as ‘Citizen Science’, partly through working with contemporary scientists involved in the online Zooniverse network, but also through historical research into the networks and communities who contributed to science in the nineteenth century, at a period when divisions between professionals and amateurs were only just emerging. This paper will focus on the project’s historical research on scientific periodicals, examining the possibilities of drawing on historical understandings of the role of science journals in the nineteenth century’s information revolution to enhance citizen participation in science in the twenty-first century’s own digital revolution. (more…)

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Next event—How to Keep Your (Georgian) Man, 17 Mar 2015

Originally posted on CRECS//:

Our next CRECS event turns to the eternal question of sexuality, gender and domesticity in the eighteenth century. Christian Grey may be the man of the moment (unfortunately), but the Georgians had their own—characteristic, shall we say?—view of romance and sex, which might raise a few eyebrows even today. The literature, drama and art of the eighteenth century offer a range of views of sexual identity that is as complex and contradictory as our own, ranging from prudence to prurience, from respectability to rakishness.

Women, in particular, found themselves at the heart of a paradox. On the one hand, they were expected to comply with ideologies regarding the correct modes of female behaviour, which was always under scrutiny and strictly regulated. On the other hand, women were objects of unflinching male desire and transgressive passion: the controlling gaze of the father could transform into the illicit voyeurism of the lover.

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Visiting speaker, 24 Feb 2015: Holly Luhning on Eliza Haywood

Holly Luhning (University of Surrey) will be presenting her paper, ‘Eliza Haywood: Cultural and Corporeal Adaptation’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 24 February 2015. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.48.

Eliza Haywood carefully crafted her public debut with the publication of Love in Excess (1719); as her career progressed she became an important innovator in the development of the novel. This talk will consider how Haywood first emerged in the literary marketplace, and move on to examine her often-neglected, but formally innovative mid-career, with particular focus on Adventures of Eovaai, and her translation of Crebillon’s Le Sopha. These two texts exemplify the depth and range of Haywood’s activities as a innovator of narrative and the novel, and of how her work as a translator (and also position of translatee) contributed not only to the rise of the novel, but also the spread of the novel. Haywood’s career, when considered as a whole, reveal her to be an a much more important cultural player in terms of the development of the novel than many ‘stories’ of the novel may suggest. (more…)