Nicola Wilson (University of Reading) will be presenting her paper, ‘Authors Take Sides: Britain’s First Book-of-the-Month Club in the Shadow of War’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 26 March 2019. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.01, and will be followed by a wine reception.
Abstract The Book Society was set up in 1928 to boost book-buying in a time of mass library-borrowing. By 1930 it had over 10,000 members receiving a new, full-price book each month. The club’s Choices and Recommendations made a huge impact on a book’s sales and circulation and publishers of all types were keen to receive what Harold Raymond called ‘the Book Society bun’. The book club was fronted by a line-up of popular writers, literary celebrities and the odd academic: Hugh Walpole, J. B. Priestley, Clemence Dane, Sylvia Lynd, Edmund Blunden. Priestley called themselves ‘broadbrows’. In the turbulence of the late 1930s, Popular Front spokesman Cecil Day-Lewis was brought on to help the club navigate the growing threat of fascism, at home and abroad. This paper, based on new work from my book on The Book Society, looks at debates among the selection committee in the run-up to WW2 and how the Book Society News sought to navigate a world at sea. Focussed on literary and political debates among the judges in the context of appeasement, and particularly the tension between Day-Lewis and WW1 poet Edmund Blunden, it considers how Britain’s first book-of-the-month club sought to keep readers informed during the chaos of the late 1930s and how individual personalities clashed in its monthly periodical to produce a dynamic, contested read.(more…)
Dorothy Butchard (University of Birmingham) will be presenting her paper, ‘Haunted Screens: Digital Texts and Unplanned Obsolescence’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 27 November 2018. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 0.31, and will be followed by a wine reception.
Abstract This paper examines how accelerating technological change can swiftly render ‘old’ formats obsolete, compressing perceptions of age onscreen: many born-digital texts from the 1990s and 2000s already look and feel archaic. Although apps and software are often designed to be seamlessly incorporated into daily life, the combined pressures of profit and innovation mean that familiar digital interfaces are at constant risk of becoming dated or non-functional. Arguing that software lifecycles have serious ramifications for our capacity to read and appreciate born-digital texts as they age, this talk will approach obsolescence in digital materiality by exploring three facets of encountering texts onscreen: aesthetics, interactivity and malfunction.
The 2018/19 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 explore a variety of subjects, including digital culture and the technology of literature, the ghost stories that inspired Frankenstein, book fairs and book societies, and reading history in the 18th century. The talks will be followed by wine reception, and all are welcome!
Peter Garside (University of Edinburgh) will be presenting his paper, ‘Scott As A European Poet: On Editing His Shorter Verse’, at 5.30pm on Monday, 30 April 2017. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 0.31, and will be followed by a wine reception.
Abstract The talk will concern preparation for a new scholarly edition of Scott’s Shorter Verse, due to appear next year as the second volume to be published in the Edinburgh Edition of Walter Scott’s Poetry (EEWSP). It will focus on the large proportions of items in this new volume with strong European connections, either in representing translations or reworking of foreign-language texts or more broadly reflecting Scott’s transnational concerns. Consideration will also be given to Scott’s lifelong preoccupation with political affairs on a European scale, and more especially resistance to the forces of Napoleonic ‘universalism’. Lastly, it will offer some tentative suggestions as to how this might (or might not) relate to current debates concerning Brexit.
Nicky Marsh (University of Southampton) will be presenting her paper, ‘Chasing Dorothy: Gender and Sacrifice in the Work of Thomas Pynchon’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 12 December 2017. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 0.31, and will be followed by a wine reception.
Abstract The characters in Thomas Pynchon’s novels, from Gravity’s Rainbow to Against the Day, are constantly trying to catch The Wizard of Oz‘s Dorothy. Yet they never do but when they come close they often realise that it is the wrong Dorothy and in this lingering confusion over who Dorothy really is, I want to suggest, Pynchon points us to the need for a new kind of history for money in early twentieth-century America. He points us not to the bimetal debates with which the original novella has become so synonymous but to the emergence of credit money and its complex relationship to notions of both gender and sacrifice. This paper follows Pynchon as he follows Dorothy and tries to suggest a language for money that can acknowledge this submerged history.