Visiting Speaker, 4 Apr 2017: Lise Jaillant on Modernism and publishing

Lise Jaillant (Loughborough University) will be presenting her paper, ‘“Modernist” Publishers, Publishers of “Modernism”’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 4 April 2017. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.48, and will be followed by a wine reception.

2016.07.jaillantCommercial publishers are nearly invisible in New Modernist Studies. There is no history of Random House, no history of Harcourt Brace and no history of Faber & Faber. One reason for this invisibility is that commercial firms published a wide range of texts—what we now see as ‘Modernism’ was issued alongside ‘popular’ texts. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Phoenix Library published Wyndham Lewis’s first novel Tarr but also popular novels and even a cookery book. Since difficult ‘Modernist’ texts continue to dominate our understanding of early twentieth-century literature, we tend to neglect these publishing enterprises or to study only the tiny portion of their activities that relates to ‘Modernism’.

This talk will address two points: 1) why so few modernist scholars have studied commercial publishers (unlike Victorianists, who have long been interested in book publishers and their impact on the literary text); 2) what we can do to expand the sub-field of Modernist Print Culture, building on existing work in periodical studies and strengthening our relationship with scholars of book history. In this context, ‘Modernist’ would be synonymous with ‘Early Twentieth Century’ to include all kinds of texts published at that time. The conclusion will present Lise’s digital map of publishers in New York in the 1920s, part of a chapter forthcoming with Cambridge University Press. (more…)


2016/17 Speakers Programme now available

The 2016/17 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 will explore a variety of subjects, including digital literature, Romantic poetry and eighteenth-century drama, book history and modernism, and postmodern fiction. The talks will be followed by wine reception, and all are welcome!


CEIR speaker, 13 Nov 2012: Becky Munford on women, trousers and Modernism

Becky Munford (Cardiff) will be presenting her  paper, ‘ “An Unconquerable Thirst for Trousers”: Fashioning the Modernist Subject’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 13 November 2012. The talk will take place in the Cardiff Humanities Building, Room 2.48.


The garment in which Vanessa was left sitting was her TROUSERS : Tρονδερς: trousers: trousers now, does the obtuse beast understand?
(Virginia Woolf, letter to Emma Vaughan, 20 April 1899)

On 27 May 1876, a New York Times article identified ‘an abnormal and unconquerable thirst for trousers’ as one of the most horrifying symptoms of dress reform, a ‘curious disease’ with a ‘near relation to hysteria’. As this gothic register suggests, the pathologisation of the ‘woman in trousers’ reflects broader cultural anxieties about the instability of gender and sexual identities. Linked with periods of social and political upheaval, women’s liberation, radical thought, aesthetic innovation and erotic freedom, trouser-wearing women have historically represented an illegitimate assumption of male authority and power that destabilises fixed notions of sexual difference and threatens the very fabric of the social order. Beginning with a brief literary and visual tour of the fraught history of trouser-wearing women, this paper will focus on the role played by trousers in fashioning modern subjects in the early decades of the twentieth century. With particular reference to the work of Virginia Woolf and Djuna Barnes, it will analyse the complex, and often contradictory, meanings attached to trousers as symptomatic of modernist women’s broader fascination with sartorial and aesthetic styling.