Carrie Smith (Cardiff University) will be presenting her paper, ‘Ted Hughes’s Birthday Letters: An Archive of Writing’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 21 February 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.
Abstract This paper will consider the manuscript drafts of British poet Ted Hughes’s final full-length collection Birthday Letters (1998). It will suggest that the proliferation of reported documents, photographs, journal entries and letters in the published collection is a result of Hughes’s re-encounter with these items when sorting through his late wife Sylvia Plath’s, and later his own, papers for sale. As a result Birthday Letters itself becomes a poetic archive curated by Hughes. From the opening poem, we are presented with accounts of documents that root the collection in the texture of real life. The collection works to preserve what will be lost when the papers are archived after his death; the memory-context of these photographs, drafts and objects. Hughes also provides incorrect biographical details throughout the collection. The substitution of an easily-checkable detail suggests that Hughes is creating a poetic archive of items that cannot be trusted; implying that poetry must always be questioned when mined for biography. The process of shaping his archive and literary legacy informs the collection’s focus on the fallibility of memory and the potential for documents and objects to deceive. The archive of papers tries to preserve the past, even as the arranging and destroying of the papers alters it; similarly in Birthday Letters, Hughes represents the past in poetry by using concrete items. He performs a synthesising of these items, akin to a researcher, by finding patterns in the papers. As this paper will show, the drafts of Birthday Letters form an archive of writing, placing the indeterminacy of the many variants of the manuscript page alongside the doubt over how to record a shared life in poetry. (more…)
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!
Gripped by Six Nations fever? Wondering which team will walk triumphant from the grassy field of combat in March? And can Wales recoup last week’s loss against England and secure their favoured status once again?
Well, CRECS can’t provide the answers to these questions, but we can certainly offer an interesting and enjoyable evening of discussion and debate on Wales, in which four speakers will offer a variety of perspectives on the nation’s relationship to the Romantic period. While exhaustive work has been done on the role played by Ireland and Scotland in shaping Romantic writing, far less critical attention has been paid to Wales, despite its significant presence during the period. Indeed, during the Romantic period, Wales was seen as the heart of sensibility by some, the home of the picturesque by others and the source of enduring myths about ‘native’ British culture by many.
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…)
Justin Tonra (NUI Galway) will be presenting his paper, ‘Ossian Online: Building an Interdisciplinary Research Environment’, at 5.30pm on Tuesday, 6 May 2014. The talk will take place in the Cardiff University’s John Percival Building, Room 2.48.
Abstract This presentation will introduce the early stages of Ossian Online, a new research initiative to archive and edit James Macpherson’s profoundly influential work of eighteenth- and nineteenth-century European culture. The project will deploy digital technologies to pilot a new crowdsourcing model of scholarly collaboration. Ossian Online will build a multinational online interpretive community through the establishment of a virtual research environment.
The talk will introduce the works of the Ossian canon and describe the desired outcomes of the new project. The work is much discussed but rarely read, so the paper will outline the rationale for returning the focus of Ossianic discourse to the original texts and print culture in which it first appeared. Progress on digitising and encoding major editions from Macpherson’s lifetime (between 1760 and 1773) is ongoing, and plans for completing a new critical edition which will visualise the development of the work’s texts across this period will be discussed.
A central part of Ossian Online will involve building an online research environment to facilitate crowdsourced annotation and interpretation of Ossian, harnessing the interdisciplinary reach and appeal of the work. The project’s ultimate objectives are to use digital technologies to challenge national and disciplinary models of previous literary criticism which have impeded full appreciation of the cultural importance and significance of Ossian. (more…)