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Animating the archive: Enlightenment lives and letters [full programme]

May 23, 2017

Research Workshop, Wed 14th June 2017

Centre for Enlightenment Studies at King’s & Queen Mary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies

This workshop will celebrate and respond to the publication of James Delbourgo’s book Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane (Penguin, June 2017), a study that will provide new insight into early modern global natural history through the life, work and networks of Hans Sloane. The book examines Sloane’s career from his background in Ulster to his voyage to Jamaica and his creation of a network of collectors who gathered curiosities for him throughout the world, through to the foundation of the British Museum in 1753, the first national public museum in the world. It draws on the histories of science, medicine and collecting, as well as Caribbean, imperial and global histories, and is based on extensive research in Sloane’s surviving specimens, objects, manuscripts and catalogues in London’s Natural History Museum, the British Museum and the British Library.

12.30-1.00       Registration (River room, Strand campus)

1.00-1.30         Room K3.11

Introduction: Reconnecting Sloane: exploring the archive

Panel discussion (Elizabeth Eger, Anne Goldgar, Miles Ogborn and Victoria Pickering) reflect on the collaborative doctoral project Reconnecting  Sloane, placing emphasis on questions of location and practice, as well as describing the research skills required for animating     the archive.

1.30-2.30         Room K3.11

Enlightenment Architectures: Sir Hans Sloane’s Catalogues of His Collections 

Kim Sloan (British Museum, Principal Investigator), Julianne Nyhan (UCL Digital Humanities, Co-Investigator), and Victoria Pickering (BM, Post-Doctoral Research Assistant) will explain the aims, research questions and progress to date of this 3 year Leverhulme Trust Research Project. The objective is to understand the intellectual structures of Sloane’s own manuscript catalogues of his collections and with them the origins of the Enlightenment disciplines and information management practices they helped to shape. The project will employ a pioneering interdisciplinary combination of curatorial, traditional humanities and Digital Humanities research to examine Sloane’s catalogues which reveal the way in which he and his contemporaries collected, organised and classified the world, through their descriptions, cross-references and codes.

2.30 -3.00        Tea (River Room)

3.00 –4.30       Room 3.11

Open discussion of Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane (Penguin, 2017) with James Delbourgo.

Led by Miles Ogborn and based on the pre-circulation of selected  chapters from the book.     

4.30 – 5.00      Break: River Room

5.00- 6.00        Animating the Archive : a panel discussion

This panel of scholars will reflect upon current research that seeks to animate eighteenth century archives, particularly focusing upon different ways of using biography as an intellectual tool to write cultural and political histories. Themes for discussion will include: individual, group  and object biographies; the relationship between individual specimen and  species; the role of individuals in intellectual networks; the status of correspondence as biographical evidence; and how biography figures the relationship between the local and the global.

James Delbourgo, Richard Drayton, Anne Goldgar, Colin Jones, Anna Maerker, Miles Ogborn (chaired by Elizabeth Eger)

6.00 -7.00        Reception and Drinks in the River Room

Reading

Introduction and chapters 3 and 5 of James Delbourgo’s Collecting the World (pdf copies available once registered at Eventbrite.

Animating the Archive: Enlightenment lives and letters

May 4, 2017

Queen Mary Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies and the Centre for Enlightenment Studies at King’s College London

Wed 14th June 2017

Time: Research Workshop: 1– 6pm; Drinks reception, 6-7pm.

Location: River Room, King’s College London, Strand campus.

This workshop will celebrate and respond to the publication of James Delbourgo’s book Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane (Penguin, June 2017), a study that will provide new insight into early modern global natural history through the life, work and networks of Hans Sloane. The book examines Sloane’s career from his background in Ulster to his voyage to Jamaica and his creation of a network of collectors who gathered curiosities for him throughout the world, through to the foundation of the British Museum in 1753, the first national public museum in the world. It draws on the histories of science, medicine and collecting, as well as Caribbean, imperial and global histories, and is based on extensive research in Sloane’s surviving specimens, objects, manuscripts and catalogues in London’s Natural History Museum, the British Museum and the British Library.

The workshop will reflect upon collaborative archival projects, including ‘Reconnnecting Sloane‘ and the new Leverhulme Trust Research Project ‘Enlightenment Architectures: Sir Hans Sloane’s Catalogues of His Collections’. There will also be a reading group to discuss pre-circulated chapters from Collecting the World: The Life and Curiosity of Hans Sloane (Penguin, June 2017) with the author James Delbourgo.

Speakers include: James Delbourgo, Richard Drayton, Elizabeth Eger, Martha Fleming, Anne Goldgar, Colin Jones, Julianne Nyhan, Miles Ogborn, Kim Sloan and Vicky Pickering.

For further information please contact <enlightenment@kcl.ac.uk>.

Attendance is free, but please sign up here on Eventbrite.

Byssus glove and its portrayal by Van Rymsdyk (1778)Byssus glove and its portrayal by Van Rymsdyk (1778), a glove knitted from the ‘sea silk’ secreted by some molluscs.

 

 

QMCECS Seminar: Anne Vila, 22 May

May 2, 2017

Monday May 22 2017

Anne Vila (University of Wisconsin)

‘Solitude and [Dis]order: Perspectives from Eighteenth-Century French Literature and Medicine’

“Solitude is the infirmary of the mind”: so declared the French Benedictine monk François Lamy in his influential work De la connaissance de soi-même (1694). The therapeutic mental benefits of solitude continued to be championed by many authors (both religious and secular) in eighteenth-century France. However, solitude was also increasingly tied to mental disorder, for reasons that included the widespread emphasis on sociability and social engagement, alarm over self-secluding pathologies like masturbation and overstudy, and suspicion towards claustral institutions like the convent. The psycho-physical ailments imputed to solitude extended well beyond the well-studied ‘disease’ of onanism: they included hypochondriasis in gens de lettres and religious melancholy in the fanatically devout.

After considering the topos of studious and non-studious retreat in selected literary works of the French Enlightenment (by Voltaire, Graffigny, Diderot, and Rousseau), I will examine how solitude was medicalized–a development tied to the growing importance of the passions as an area of hygiene and disease theory. This part of my talk will focus on the writings of the Francophone Swiss physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot, an influential medical writer who acted as the main conduit for the dissemination in French of the ideas of Dr. Johann-Georg Zimmermann, the Enlightenment’s most famous theoretician of the benefits and dangers of solitude for the psyche. Reading Tissot in tandem with Zimmermann, I will analyze the curious analogies they proposed between two pathologically contemplative types: the overly zealous scholar and the cloistered nun.

Anne Vila is Professor in the Department of French & Italian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She is the author of A Cultural History of the Senses in the Age of Enlightenment (2014) and Enlightenment and Pathology: Sensibility in the Literature and Medicine of Eighteenth-Century France (1998). She is working on a project exploring the cultural and medical construction of gens de lettres during the French Enlightenment, entitled Singular Beings: Passions and Pathologies of the Scholar in France, 1720-1840.

Chair: Barbara Taylor

All welcome

Time: 5.00-7.00pm.

Venue: Seminar Room, Lock-Keeper’s Cottage Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, London, E1 4NS.

Convenors: Prof Markman Ellis, English (m.ellis@qmul.ac.uk); Prof Colin Jones, History (c.d.h.jones@qmul.ac.uk); Prof Miles Ogborn, Geography (m.j.ogborn@qmul.ac.uk); Prof Amanda Vickery, History (a.vickery@qmul.ac.uk), Prof Barbara Taylor, English and History (b.g.taylor@qmul.ac.uk).

[Travel instructions: take the Central Line or District Line to Mile End. Exit the tube station, turn left down Mile End Road, crossing the Burdett Road/Grove Road intersection, passing under the Mile End Green Bridge and over the canal, to the campus entrance at Westfield Way. The Lock-Keeper’s Cottage is the third building on the right].

 

QMUL and Victoria and Albert Museum to digitise key manuscripts by 18th-century writer, William Godwin

April 5, 2017

For the first time, the sole surviving manuscripts of the most celebrated works of William Godwin (1756 – 1836) will be digitised and made freely available on the Shelley-Godwin Archive as part of a collaborative project announced today by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL), the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), and Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH)

Manuscript of William Godwin's Political Justice, 1793, showing authorial revisions [Image courtesy of the V&A]
Manuscript of William Godwin’s Political Justice, 1793, showing authorial revisions [Image courtesy of the V&A]

William Godwin was an English radical political philosopher of the French Revolutionary era. He married Mary Wollstonecraft, the early advocate of women’s rights, but lost her shortly after the birth of their daughter Mary, who grew up to marry Godwin’s disciple, the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, and to write Frankenstein.

Godwin shot to fame with a massive book, An Enquiry Concerning Political Justice (1793), now seen as a founding text of philosophical anarchism. He rejected all forms of political authority in favour of justice, equality, and mutual moral accountability. The rule of law would be replaced by the rule of reason. Godwin’s greatest novel, Caleb Williams (1794), was the first detective thriller in the European narrative tradition. A study in power relations, it dramatised the impact of tyrannical government on the ordinary individual.

Under the leadership of Professor Pamela Clemit of QMUL’s School of English and Drama, one of the world’s most renowned Godwin scholars, the original handwritten manuscripts of these two epochal works will be digitised for the first time and made freely available worldwide.

These treasures are held at the V&A in London, in a vast archive of literary manuscripts. The V&A will undertake conservation and photography, and will host a public event in September 2017 to launch the new electronic publication.

Shelley-Godwin Archive

MITH, one of the world’s leading digital humanities centres, will publish images of the manuscripts on the Shelley-Godwin Archive. This electronic resource is making freely available the digitised manuscripts of William Godwin, Mary Wollstonecraft, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Mary Shelley, reuniting online the handwritten legacy of one of England’s most important literary families.

“MITH is excited to be working on this project with two such distinguished partners, and we look forward to publishing images of these momentous texts,” said Professor Neil Fraistat, Director of MITH and a General Editor of the Shelley-Godwin Archive.

Political protest

Professor Clemit said: “Digitising the manuscripts of Godwin’s most celebrated works will make it possible for everyone to experience the thrill of using the original documents without visiting the archive. Both manuscripts contain extensive revisions, providing a unique record of what was sayable at a particular historical moment.

“These are works of political protest, written during a government crackdown on freedom of speech in the aftermath of the French Revolution. One of them imagines a better future; the other dramatises the experience of living in a world of inequality, hardship, and injustice. They have a special appeal in turbulent times like our own.”

Partnership

Professor Bill Sherman, the V&A’s Director of Research and Collections, said: “We are delighted by this partnership between the world’s largest museum of art, design, and performance, and academic leaders in the fields of literature and digital humanities. The project will introduce new readers to two of the most powerful and enduring literary texts in the V&A’s manuscript collections.”

More information

ECR Day-Conference on the History of Celebrity

March 28, 2017

ECR Day-Conference on the History of Celebrity

Venue:            Institute of Historical Research, London
Date:               Wednesday 29th March 2017
Time:              10.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.

Programme

9.30-9.40 – Welcome

9.40-11.10 – Panel 1Thinking Celebrity in the Eighteenth Century

Chair: Anaïs Pedron, QMUL

  1. Ariane Fichtl (University of Augsburg/Université Charles de Gaulle Lille 3),Antique Parallels to Eighteenth-Century Concepts of Celebrity
  2. Gabriel Wick (QMUL), The Mémoires Secrets, Monceau, and the Reinvention of the Duc de Chartres
  3. Blake Smith (Northwestern University/EHESS, Paris), The Scholar As Celebrity: Anquetil Duperron’s Discours Préliminaire

11.10-12.40 – Panel 2Celebrity Bodies

Chair: Clare Siviter, Université Clermont Auvergne

  1.    Chris Haffenden (Uppsala University), Seeing Jeremy Bentham in the Context of Celebrity Culture
  2.    Jessica Hamel-Akré (University of Montreal), Mystical, Medical, and Criminal Celebrity in the Case of Ann Moore, the Fasting Woman of Tutbury
  3. 3.Meagan Mason (University of Southern California), Physiognomy, Phrenology, and Knowing the Virtuoso, Paris 1830–1848

12.40-1.30 – Lunch

1.30-3.00 Keynote – Prof. Antoine Lilti (EHESS), Public Figures and Private Lives: The Invention of Celebrity

Respondents Prof. Colin Jones (QMUL) and Dr Emrys Jones (KCL)

3.00-3.15 – Coffee break

3.15-4.45 – Panel 3Recording celebrity

Chair: Stacie Allan, University of Westminster

  1. Lewis Hughes (Lancaster University), Revealing the Authentic Self: Victorian Celebrity Interviews
  2. Holly Grout (University of Alabama), Between the ‘Miss’ and ‘Mistinguett’: Fashioning Celebrity in Modern Memoir
  3. Thibaut Casagrande (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon and Université Paris Sorbonne), Actresses as Novel Characters: Rewriting Celebrity Narratives

4.45-5.00 – Conclusion

QMCECS Seminar: Norma Clarke, 28 Feb 2017

February 21, 2017

Tuesday 28 February 2017

Goldsmith and his Biographers: ‘a really English worthy’ or ‘Irish if you will’

Norma Clarke

Professor of English Literature, Kingston University

No full-length biography of Oliver Goldsmith appeared until 60 years after his death in 1774. James Prior’s heavily-researched, two volume Life of 1837 sought to put Goldsmith in an Irish context. When John Forster issued his popular Life and Adventures of Oliver Goldsmith in 1848 (building on Prior’s research), Goldsmith had become ‘a really English worthy’. Prior’s book, dismissed as dull and pedantic, was never re-printed; it was Forster, along with Washington Irving who also wrote a very popular life, who gave the Victorians their version of Goldsmith which was bequeathed to the twentieth century and beyond. Between 1759 and 1774 Goldsmith was producing the best work in England in poetry, drama and the novel, but despite what John Montague called his ‘clear predominance in so many fields’, it has always been hard to place him. This paper tells the story of Goldsmith’s nineteenth-century biographies as part of the larger picture of the reception history of Goldsmith’s major works: The Vicar of Wakefield, The Deserted Village and She Stoops to Conquer.

Some notices for Norma Clarke’s Brothers of the Quill: Oliver Goldsmith in Grub Street (Harvard University Press, 2016)

‘Brothers of the Quill elegantly topples conventional accounts of Goldsmith’s career,’ Aileen Douglas, The Irish Times

‘Clarke joins several contemporary English writers whose works brilliantly mix group biography, history and literary criticism … [Jenny Uglow, Richard Holmes, Michael Holroyd] … Brothers of the Quill may be somewhat more academic overall, but it displays a comparable sprightliness.’ Michael Dirda, Washington Post.

‘A colourful, canny, immensely readable book … her style is assured, relaxed and sometimes gently comic.’ Min Wild, TLS.

‘Entertaining and scholarly’ Catherine Peters, Literary Review.

‘Clarke has made the literary life of the 18th century available and entertaining to the general reader … Her book buzzes with anecdotes … [and] … is strong on the importance of Goldsmith’s Irishness … gives a vivid picture’ John Mullan, The Guardian.

Chair: Markman Ellis
All welcome

Time: 5.00-7.00pm.

Venue: Seminar Room, Lock-Keeper’s Cottage Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, London, E1 4NS.

QMCECS Seminar: Rosalind Carr: 31 Jan 2017

January 25, 2017

Rosalind Carr

(University of East London)

‘A Landscape of Feeling’? Politeness, Violence and Masculinity in early New South Wales, c.1788-1815

The history of early New South Wales is typically told as the story of Australia’s foundation. Yet it was part of a global European world. Situating New South Wales within this world, the paper examines how British gentlemen educated in Enlightenment principles and polite social mores responded to a landscape they considered the “residence of savages”. Many historians assume that politeness led to a decline in violence. Yet early New South Wales tells a different story; there gentlemen were polite and violent. Diaries and other personal records from early NSW show that it was through their self-identification as polite that British naval officers and others of the elite differentiated themselves from convicts, soldiers and Eora people. This paper will explore how they established and maintained this polite identity, and will consider what this tells us about the role of politeness in the establishment and maintenance of power. Examining the influence of Scottish stadial theory and European Enlightenment concepts of sociability and friendship in White men’s enactment and understanding of ‘frontier’ violence, I will argue that politeness itself was violent and crucial to the imposition of British power in Eora country.

Chair: Amanda Vickery

 

All welcome

Time: 5.00-7.00pm.

Venue: Seminar Room, Lock-Keeper’s Cottage Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, London, E1 4NS.