Speaker, 19 Nov 2019: Anna Mercer on the Shelleys and their Manuscripts

Anna Mercer (Cardiff Universitywill be presenting her paper, ‘Manuscripts as Evidence of Collaboration: The Shelleys in 1819’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 19 November 2019. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 0.31, and will be followed by a wine reception.

2019.02.mercerThis paper considers two texts produced by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley as evidence of a highly collaborative moment in their literary relationship, and therefore looks beyond their most famous collaboration on Frankenstein (1818). Percy Shelley’s The Cenci and Mary Shelley’s Mathilda are, I argue, ‘sister-works’, particularly in terms of subject matter (dark stories of incest) and with regards to the circumstances of their composition in Italy in 1819. Both productions are influenced by the Shelleys’ mutual fascination with the real history of the Italian Cenci family. My paper shows that by examining the provenance of The Cenci, looking to the manuscript sources and the Shelleys’ process of composition of that drama, a clear case can be made for Mary Shelley’s involvement in her husband’s literary toil during this period. This understanding confirms the reciprocal nature of the Shelleys’ creative exchange, rejecting the (antiquated but persistent) idea that Percy Shelley imposed his ideas on his wife’s first novel Frankenstein, and exploring a more nuanced understanding of the Shelleys as collaborators. In doing so, the paper also seeks to mark 200 years since the composition of The Cenci and Mathilda in 1819. (more…)

Visiting Speaker, 12 Nov 2019: Nathalie Saudo-Welby on Women and Parody

Nathalie Saudo-Welby (Université de Picardie, Amienswill be presenting her paper, ‘Women and Parody in the British Isles’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 12 November 2019. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 0.31, and will be followed by a wine reception.

2019.01.saudoWomen scholars are well-represented among theorists and analysts of parody, but the engagement of women authors with parody has been neglected. However, the British literary tradition includes many highly respected – and parodiable – female authors while, for many women, writing has meant ‘revision […] an act of survival’ (Adrienne Rich). Women’s writing has indeed often been judged secondary in intention, scope and even literary value. So, how can women’s engagement with parody be read? This research paper will work towards an interpretation of the under-representation of women writers in anthologies of parody, both as parodied authors and as parodists. In order to do so, this talk will also consider the place assigned to women involved or caught in literary hoaxes or situations involving parody. (more…)

Visiting Speaker, 26 Mar 2019: Nicola Wilson on The Book Society

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.

2018.05.wilsonThe 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…)

Visiting Speaker, 27 Nov 2018: Dorothy Butchard on Digital Materiality and Obsolescence

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.

2018.02.butchardThis 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.


2018/19 Speakers Programme now available

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!