material cultures

lightslights1

CFP: WORD, IMAGE, DIGITAL, Cardiff University, 1 Nov 2016

A One-Day Symposium
Cardiff University, Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Keynote Speaker: Michaela Mahlberg (University of Birmingham)

Download the PDF Here: cfp-wordimagedigital

Cardiff University’s Digital Cultures Network is delighted to announce its first Symposium on Word, Image and the Digital. Word and image, and the interplay between them, remain under explored and under-theorised in the digital humanities, despite the creation of pioneering digital archives including The William Blake Archive, the Rossetti Archive and The Illustration Archive. There is a sense, however, in which the digital is not only ‘graphical’ (as Johanna Drucker reminds us), but also a space where the visual and textual are in constant dialogue.

We invite proposals of up to 300 words for 20-minute papers that explore any aspect of the dynamic between word, image and the digital, including demonstrations of current projects. The deadline for submission of abstracts is Monday, 3 October 2016. Please send proposals or enquiries to Michael Goodman (GoodmanMJ@cardiff.ac.uk). Attendance at the Symposium is free and limited to no more than 30 delegates. While non-speaking delegates are welcome, priority will be given to speakers. (more…)

2015.07.hammond

Dickens and the Pirates of Print

Pip at the Fingerpost: Nineteenth-Century Urban Conflict and the Regional Reception of Great Expectations

Mary Hammond, Tuesday 12 Apr 2016, CEIR Seminar Series 

In The Country and the City (1973) Raymond Williams examines how rural and urban life has been depicted in English literature since the sixteenth century. Arriving at Cambridge University as an undergraduate from his hometown in the Welsh Black Mountains, Williams discovered that the way rural life (a life he knew very well) was represented in literature was nothing like the reality. In fact, Williams argued that rural life, as portrayed in the literary canon, was  a construction that served the social order of the times. The country was Edenic, whilst the city was a thriving metropolis of capitalist production.

IMG_1277

Dr Mary Hammond

It is a binary that Dr Mary Hammond (University of Southampton) unpicked (or, at least reduced), in her recent paper at the Centre. Taking a highly nuanced approach, Mary used Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (1861) as a lens to think about cultural change during the novel’s initial reception context. Arguing that Victorianists often only refer to London-based media to understand a text’s immediate historical significance, Mary suggested that we begin to interrogate the rural press, as well, to enhance our understanding of how the novel signified to different audiences. Great Expectations is the perfect text to explore these reactions as the pivotal moment in the novel is when Pip leaves the Kent countryside of his childhood for London in order to become a Gentleman. (more…)

Visiting Speaker, 12 Apr 2016: Mary Hammond on the reception of Great Expectations

Mary Hammond (University of Southampton) will be presenting her paper, ‘Pip at the Fingerpost: Nineteenth-Century Urban–Rural Conflict and the Regional Reception of Great Expectations’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 12 April 2016. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 3.58, and will be followed by a wine reception.

Abstract
2015.07.hammondThis talk explores the surprisingly varied responses of contemporary reviewers to one of the key narrative turns in Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations (1860–61): the moment when Pip, the main character, leaves the rural marshes of Kent to begin a new life as a London gentleman. This scene has often been characterised by modern critics as a Miltonian moment of prelapsarian hubris which underpins the novel’s broader themes of selfish ambition and lifelong regret. But contemporary reviewers saw it—and the novel’s message—very differently, and the variety of their responses is remarkable. Metropolitan reviewers’ hostility towards Dickens’s unflattering portrayal of the urban upper classes contrasts sharply with the much more sympathetic stance taken in most regional newspapers. Many of these regional papers also reproduced pirated extracts carefully selected to highlight rural characters and interests and paint London in an unflattering light. This talk demonstrates how the reception history of the text points directly to a significant animus and rivalry in rural–urban perceptions, and points to the value of studying changing urban and regional responses to a literary work over time to enhance our understanding of the potential plurality of its impact, and of the ways in which relationships between the rural and the urban were perceived by contemporaries in an age of mass migration and rapid social change.
(more…)

Cardiff Poster

Paper Castles

Horace Walpole’s Enchanted Castles

Dale Townshend, Tuesday 16 Feb 2016, CEIR Seminar Series

IMG_1177Since the publication of Horace Walpole’s The Castle of Otranto in December 1764, much debate has surrounded the origin of, what has been repeatedly described as, the first gothic novel. In an attempt to pinpoint the real architectural sources of the text’s haunting fortress, Dale Townshend’s paper exposed us to the various literary Gothic localities with which Walpole’s work converses. Yet, it was not until the publication of the second edition of the text in 1765 that Walpole identified his work openly with the gothic tradition, choosing to publish the novel with the sub-title ‘A Gothic Story’. It was also in this publication that Walpole acknowledged himself as the writer of the piece (using the initials ‘H.W.’, revealing that the ‘translator’ of the first edition, William Marshal, was in fact a pseudonym for himself. Much mystery, then, surrounded the publication of the work, leaving readers to question the source of this mysterious story, as well the site of its ghostly location. (more…)

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…)