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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.


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.

QMCECS Seminar: Stephen Bending: 17 January 2017

January 12, 2017

Tuesday 17 January 2017

Stephen Bending

(University of Southampton)

Pleasure Gardens and the Problems of Pleasure c.1650-1830

What use is pleasure? On both sides of the Enlightenment Atlantic the problem of pleasure—too much, not enough, the wrong kind, the wrong place—confronted the individual both with the immediacy of the senses and with their sense of their self in the world. Ranging from the sophisticated model of garden analysis and self-reflection offered by Madame de Scudery, to the equally complex experience of pleasure grounds articulated by (and about) the Jefferson family at Monticello in early nineteenth-century Virginia, this paper aims to set the sensual and intellectual pleasures of the garden in the context of the Enlightenment’s struggle to account for the immediacy of sensation and the unruliness of emotion; focusing on the disruptive nature of pleasure, the paper will explore the conflicts and elisions of public statement and private experience in the pleasure gardens of eighteenth-century Britain, France and North America.

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 (; Prof Colin Jones, History (; Prof Miles Ogborn, Geography (; Prof Amanda Vickery, History (, Prof Barbara Taylor, English and History (

[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].

QMCECS/BSECS Early-Career Visiting Fellowship 2016-17

December 16, 2016

The Queen Mary Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, in conjunction wit the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies, is pleased to accept applications for its annual Visiting Fellowship for early career researchers.

 The award consists of two parts: from BSECS £400 towards travel and living expenses, and from QMCECS seven nights accommodation in Queen Mary fellows’ housing on campus at Mile End (equivalent to £350). It will normally involve the Fellow in research in libraries and archives in London, and also in making contacts with QM researchers. Your application should make clear the nature of the research you will undertake in London on the award, and its relation to your wider research project or dissertation.

The Fellowship is open to scholars of the ‘long’ eighteenth century (or any part of it) in any discipline. This award is open to early career researchers: any doctoral student at a British university in their second year of study and above, and any post-doctoral researcher normally resident in Britain, within five years of the award of their PhD.

The application form can be downloaded from a link on this page:

Please send completed applications, with a 2 page CV including a summary statement of your dissertation or research project, by email to Professor Markman Ellis, Centre for Eighteenth-Century Studies, Queen Mary University of London, London, E1 4NS:  The applications will be assessed by the centre’s governing committee.

Deadline for applications: 17 January 2016. The award must be taken up in the period February 1 to June 31 (subject to availability of accommodation).

Queen Mary Eighteenth-Century Studies Seminar: Semester Two 2016-17

December 16, 2016
Queen Mary Eighteenth-Century Studies Seminar 
Semester Two 2016-17

Tuesday 17 January 2017:
Stephen Bending (University of Southampton): ‘Pleasure Gardens and the Problems of Pleasure c.1650-1830’ [Chair: Barbara Taylor]

Tuesday 31 January 2017:
Rosalind Carr (University of East London), ‘A Landscape of Feeling? Politeness, Violence and Masculinity in early New South Wales, c.1788-1815’ [Chair: Amanda Vickery]

Tuesday 28 February 2017:
Norma Clarke  (Kingston University): ‘Oliver Goldsmith and his Biographers’ [Chair: Markman Ellis]

Tuesday 14 March 2017:
Pascal Bastien (University of Quebec in Montreal): ‘Five seconds of history: temporal perspectives on a public execution in eighteenth-century Paris’ [Chair: Colin Jones]

Tuesday May 22:
Anne Vila (University of Wisconsin-Madison): title to be announced, [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.

Please forward this invitation to any interested people. The seminar is open to all.

QMCECS Lunchtime Seminar Dec 1 2016: Eric Parisot

November 17, 2016

In addition to our regular evening seminar, QMCECS invites you to a supernumerary lunchtime seminar

QMCECS Lunchtime Seminar
in association with the Centre for the History of the Emotions

Thursday 1 December, 1-2pm:

Eric Parisot (Flinders University, Australia),

‘Laughing at John Damer: The Reformative Ethics of George Colman’s The Suicide, A Comedy (1778)’

When the Hon. John Damer—the profligate son of Lord Milton and husband to prominent socialite and sculptor Anne Damer— took his life in 1776, it sparked a number of responses in the correspondence of the bon ton, satirical poetry, fiction and drama. Horace Walpole gave a rather nonchalant description of events, replete with playful classical monikers, concluding with one of his favourite aphorisms: “this world is a comedy to those that think, a tragedy to those that feel”. In contrast, George Colman decided to test the ethics of laughing at suicide in his sentimental comedy, The Suicide (1778). Labelled “a very dangerous subject” by David Garrick, this domestic comedy raises matters of class, social obligation, and their relation to genuine nobility in tracing the self-destructive foibles of young Tobine. The paper reflects on why people might have found it appropriate to laugh about suicide in the late eighteenth century, what ethical concerns were raised by laughing at other people’s self-destruction, and indeed, why we no longer deem the topic of suicide as appropriate laughing matter.

Venue: ArtsTwo in room 2.17

All welcome: lunch will be provided

Please note, the seminar on Wednesday 23 November has been cancelled
Wednesday 23 November 2016, 5-7pm:
Elin Jones (QMUL): ‘Frying Clocks and Buying Geegaws: Irrational Consumption and the Naval Seaman in the Eighteenth Century’ [Chair: Miles Ogborn]
Venue: Seminar Room, Lock-Keeper’s Cottage Graduate Centre, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End, London, E1 4NS.