‘Out of my country and myself I go’: Stevenson and Literary Geography

In the sixth of an ongoing series of posts, Harriet Gordon, a second-year doctoral candidate based in Cardiff’s Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research, discusses the early steps of her project: a book historical study of Robert Louis Stevenson’s global literary networks. Harriet’s project is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership (SWW-DTP).

Edward Said writes that ‘none of us is outside or beyond geography; none of us is completely free from the struggle over geography’. The life and work of Robert Louis Stevenson is, perhaps more than most, intimately bound up with his geography. From the ambivalent relationship with his home town of Edinburgh, to his exploration of the conditions and effects of emigration in the New World, to his depictions of transculturation in the contact zones of the Pacific, issues of place and space, and their relation to identity, permeate both his biography and his writing. (more…)

Visting Speaker, 25 Oct 2016: Verity Hunt on Locative Literature

Verity Hunt University of Southampton) will be presenting her paper, ‘Stories by the City, Stories by the Sea: Locative Literature and Narrative Archaeology’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 25 October 2016. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.03, and will be followed by a wine reception.

2016-01-huntEvery place has a story, and every story has a place; landscapes are made up of stories over time, layer-upon-layer, like geological strata. StoryPlaces, an interdisciplinary research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust, explores the stories of nineteenth-century places via the emerging digital medium of location-aware narrative. Focussing on location-aware stories of nineteenth-century Southampton Old Town and Docks written by University of Southampton creative writing students, this paper discusses locative literature’s potential to bring overlooked and long-forgotten nineteenth-century stories to the fore of our experience of the twenty-first-century city. Location-aware narrative stands as an innovative new creative medium for consuming our Victorian past; it enriches its readers’ narrative experience by creating interactive historical landscapes. (more…)

2016/17 Speakers Programme now available

The 2016/17 programme of speakers at the Centre for Editorial and Intertextual Research is now available to view on our Events: Speakers Programme page. Talks this session from a range of national and international scholars will explore a variety of subjects, including digital literature, Romantic poetry and eighteenth-century drama, book history and modernism, and postmodern fiction. The talks will be followed by wine reception, and all are welcome!



Shakespeare, Wood Engraving and New Media, Part II

It is these parallels, then, between the past and the present (as outlined in the first part of this piece) that help us to appreciate that there is nothing particularly ‘new’ about new media as all media were once new.[1] As Carolyn Marvin observes:

New technologies is a historically relative term. We are not the first generation to wonder at the rapid and extraordinary shifts in the dimension of the world and the human relationships it contains as a result of new forms of communication, or to be surprised by the changes those shifts occasion in the regular pattern of our lives.[2]

Marvin limits her study to electric communications, beginning with the invention of the telegraph, which she sees as the starting point of modern mass media and culture. But, perhaps mass media began in the Victorian period with the illustrated book and illustrated periodicals such as the ILN and the Graphic. This is the argument that Patricia Anderson puts forward in her book The Printed Image and the Transformation of Popular Culture 1790­–1860, where she asserts that advances in printing technology and its ‘associated imagery’ brought about the ‘beginnings of a modern mass culture’ in the Victorian era.[3] Furthermore, she goes on to write that ‘the concept of “mass” carries with it a historical perception of unprecedentedness’ and during that period ‘there was among both the producers and consumers of the emerging culture a shared consciousness that they were participating in a fundamental and far reaching change in the structure of knowledge and communication.’[4] This sense of ‘unprecedentedness’ is being echoed today, throughout wider culture and, significantly, within academia as a consequence of the digital and its potential impact on research. As the authors of Digtial_Humanities observe, ‘we see this moment as marking a fundamental shift in the perception of the core creative activities of being human, in which the values and knowledge of the humanities are seen as crucial for shaping every domain of culture and society.’[5]



Shakespeare, Wood Engraving and New Media, Part I

Developed around the late 1780s by Thomas Bewick, wood engraving allowed artists to create images with a high level of sophistication that could be reproduced easily and cheaply. Because the wood used to engrave the images was usually boxwood it was very durable and the wood blocks could be set alongside type in the printing press which allowed for word and image to be combined on a single page.[1] As Brian Maidment notes, ‘Wood engraving vastly extended the possibility of integrating text and image into the same printed page using cheap and technically simple methods.’[2] Wood engraving, combined with more efficient printing techniques, meant that the literature business was transformed into a mass-produced commercial industry and, for the first time, illustrated books became affordable to working and middle class families.[3]