material cultures

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.

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…)


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…)

Visiting speaker, 9 Dec 2014: Kate Griffiths on multimedia adaptations of 19th-century French fiction

Kate Griffiths (Cardiff University) will be presenting her paper, ‘Multimedia Adaptations of the 19th-Century Novel: Zola’s Thérèse Raquin’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 9 December 2014. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 0.36.

To read Zola is to engage with the art of adaptation in two key respects. The texts of this now-canonical nineteenth-century French naturalist writer have been worked and re-worked across time, media and nations since, and even at times before, their publication. Adaptation, though, is not just a process external or subsequent to Zola’s texts. Rather, it is a part of their lifeblood as Zola fashions his original novels from the adapted textual matter of other moments and media. These reconfigurations of and in Zola make him a powerful test case for adaptation studies as a whole. The discipline, despite the sophistication of a whole host of intertextually inspired adaptation theorists, continues to be dominated in practice by the direct transfer model. This model triggers analyses which seek only the original text, a work conceived of as a sealed point of origin, in the replicatory and somehow always inferior reproductions of it. But Zola’s novels do not fit the direct transfer model for they self-consciously locate their origin in a shifting range of earlier sources. Zola adapts music, opera, painting, theatre and statuary in his novels, implicitly encouraging adaptation studies to move beyond its obsession with cinema and theatre and be comparably inter-medial in its approach. While critics have left configurations of Zola’s texts in BBC television almost entirely unexplored and those in BBC radio completely untouched, these media provide something of a natural home for Zola. They bring us closer to his conceptualisation of authorship, to his belief that in cross media adaptation true originality may be found. (more…)

Visiting speaker, 18 Nov 2014: Simon Grennan on adapting Anthony Trollope into graphic fiction

Simon Grennan (University of Chester) will be presenting his paper, ‘Dispossession: A New Graphic Adaptation of a Novel by Anthony Trollope’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 18 November 2014. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 0.36.

Click here to view a flyer for this talk.This paper will discuss Grennan’s forthcoming adaptation of Anthony Trollope’s John Caldigate (1878) as a new graphic novel, Dispossession. Produced in the context of an academic conference on Trollope in 2015, the new graphic novel functions as a research outcome in the sense that its academic audience is a ‘knowing one’, to use Linda Hutcheon’s term. Following Walter Benjamin’s theorisation of translation, the process of creating Dispossession approaches Trollope’s text as the source of a protocol or set of governing rules, including an apprehension of the reading behaviours of his contemporaries and of contemporary graphic novel readers. As a result, the relationship between novel and graphic novel constitutes both the process and product of adaptation as an experience for a knowing reader. In terms of drawing style, the challenge for this adaptation lies not only in identifying the existing different behaviours of novels and graphic novels, but in meaningfully producing a new style of drawing relative to an existing writing style. It is not the task of comparing existing styles, but one demanding the speculative creation of new rules within which to draw. As Dispossession also has a research function, the process of meaningfully inventing a new style also demands comprehensive rationalisation. From an analysis of Trollope’s style emerges the question of style in the adaptation, answers to which finalise its governing rules: how does Dispossession employ and/or depict equivocation in the style of its facture, distinct from the depiction of the plot? To answer this question, the paper will finally discuss the broader temporal implications of relationships between types of plot and drawing protocols, considering in detail examples of types of facture and storyboarding from 19th-century and 21st-century narrative drawing. (more…)