material cultures

Visiting Speaker, 16 Feb 2016: Dale Townshend on Walpole’s Enchanted Castles

Dale Townshend (University of Stirling) will be presenting his paper, ‘Horace Walpole’s Enchanted Castles’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 16 February 2016. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 4.43, and will be followed by a wine reception.

Abstract
2015.04.townshendEver since Horace Walpole in the second edition of The Castle of Otranto (1765) disclosed his authorship of his ‘Gothic Story’, it has been assumed that the ‘real’ and ‘particular’ castle to which he, in his guise as the ‘translator’ William Marshal, referred in the Preface to the first edition of the novel was Strawberry Hill, the ‘little Gothic castle’ in Twickenham that he had set about ‘Gothicizing’ since the late 1740s.  As I seek to demonstrate in this paper, however, this is really only half of the story, for while the castle at Otranto certainly, as Walpole would later phrase it, ‘puts one in mind’ of Strawberry Hill, it also looks to the architectural formations of ‘ancient’ or ‘Gothic’ romance for its structure, its effects, and even its eventual disappearance. More specifically, I argue, Manfred’s castle at Otranto is, in a number of respects, a reworking of the trope of the enchanted castle that featured so prominently in the epic romances of Torquato Tasso, Ludovico Ariosto, Edmund Spenser, and others. And if The Castle of Otranto is, indeed, closely linked to Strawberry Hill, I argue that this is not simply because Walpole ‘writes’ his home into his novel, but because both fiction and house looked to the architectural structures of medieval romance as their ultimate point of inspiration. Having explored the trope of the enchanted castle as it figures in The Castle of Otranto and Walpole’s correspondence around Strawberry Hill, I conclude by tracing its uptake in the later Gothic dramas and fictions of Miles Peter Andrews, Clara Reeve, Anna Laetitia Aikin and Ann Radcliffe. (more…)

2015/16 Speakers Programme now available

Our programme of talks for this academic session is now available, spanning a wide range of subjects and historical periods, while underpinned by intertextual aspects that link them together. Confirmed speakers include:

  • McGill medical lecture theatreNeil Badmington will be discussing Roland Barthes, mourning and Mallarmé
  • Jason Harding considers the convoluted history of Encounter magazine and its CIA sponsors
  • Jennie Batchelor will talk about her Leverhulme-funded research project on The Lady’s Magazine
  • Dale Townshend will present a paper on his AHRC-sponsored work looking at gothic writing and architecture
  • Lisa Stead turns to the early history of cinema writing, which builds on her work on research archives of the interwar materials
  • Mary Hammond‘s talk will look at the tensions disclosed through the regional reception of Dickens’s Great Expectations
  • Andrew Nash will discuss his work on transcribing some of Samuel Beckett’s ms notebooks

We’re also delighted to be co-hosting a public lecture from Prof. Sally Shuttleworth in association with Cardiff’s Collaborative Interdisciplinary Study for Science, Medicine and the Imagination research group. Prof. Shuttleworth’s paper (title TBC) will examine phobias as diseases of modern life.

You can see more details by viewing our Visiting Speakers page.

Click here to download the flyer for the 2015/16 programme (PDF).

Visiting speaker, 10 Feb 2015: Freya Johnston on editing Thomas Love Peacock

Freya Johnston (University of Oxford) will be presenting her paper, ‘Medieval Graffiti: Editing Thomas Love Peacock’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 10 February 2015. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.48.

Abstract
This paper reflects on the challenges and rewards of editing a writer whose works have routinely been described as ‘inaccessible’. Even if his comic fictions abound, like Jane Austen’s, with clever, good-looking women and with sparkling dialogue that culminates in marriage, Peacock’s repartee can be hard to follow. This is partly because he does not aspire to the portrayal of interiority—perhaps the most cherished aspect of Austen’s novels. Rather, his characters, both male and female, exist primarily in order to share, voice, and test the limits of their ideas. His fictions, rebuffing intimacy, are inescapably political and intellectual. This paper will show that to approach the nineteenth-century novel via Peacock is to see it as an outward-facing genre indebted to philosophical tracts, lectures, classical dialogues and the rhythms of parliamentary debate. (more…)

BARS2015-CRECS

Romantic Imprints: BARS 2015 Conference Site now live!

The website for our forthcoming conference for the British Society for Romantic Studies, Romantic Imprints, is now live. The conference will be running in Cardiff, 16–19 July 2015. Please visit it for more details about the event, the Call for Papers and venue details.

CFP: Romantic Imprints, British Association for Romantic Studies 2015 Conference (Cardiff, 16–19 July 2015)

The BARS 2015 website will shortly be going live, but in the meanwhile, we’re posting the 2nd Call for Papers.

2nd Call for Papers: Romantic Imprints

British Association for Romantic Studies, 14th International Conference

Cardiff University, 16–19 July 2015

Download as PDF

Download as PDF

Proposals are invited for the 2015 British Association for Romantic Studies international conference which will be held at Cardiff University, Wales (UK) on 16–19 July 2015. The theme of the interdisciplinary conference is Romantic Imprints, broadly understood to include the various literary, cultural, historical and political manifestations of Romantic print culture across Europe, the Americas and the rest of the world. Our focus will fall on the ways in which the culture of the period was conscious of itself as functioning within and through, or as opposed to, the medium of print. The conference location in the Welsh capital provides a special opportunity to foreground the Welsh inflections of Romanticism within the remit of the conference’s wider theme. The two-hundredth anniversary of Waterloo also brings with it the chance of thinking about how Waterloo was represented within and beyond print.

The confirmed keynote speakers for Romantic Imprints will be John Barrell (Queen Mary, London), James Chandler (Chicago), Claire Connolly (Cork), Peter Garside (Edinburgh) and Devoney Looser (Arizona State). (more…)