Dr Daisy Black – AHRC/BBC New Generation Thinker

CTTR’s Dr Daisy Black, Lecturer in English, is among this year’s winners of the prestigious AHRC / BBC RADIO 3 NEW GENERATION THINKERS COMPETITION 2018

Dr Black is a specialist in Medieval and Renaissance drama, and gender and queer theory.  She has been selected for the BBC/AHRC New Generation Thinkers scheme 2018, and will be working with the BBC to make a programme for Radio 3 on her research project, ‘Eating God: Food in Medieval Religious Drama’.  As a New Generation Thinker she will also be appearing  in a number of radio and television broadcasts and panel debates over the next few years.  Her role will be officially introduced at the Free Thinking Festival in Gateshead on the 9th-11th March.

The AHRC-BBC New Generation Thinkers competition has run since 2010. Each year, a small group of early career researchers chosen by a multi-stage selection process are trained to communicate academic ideas in creative and accessible ways to non-academic audiences. They will appear regularly on BBC Radio 3, develop programme ideas, and contribute across the BBC’s radio, TV and online output. Successful applicants will also appear at the BBC’s Festival of Ideas and other events, make short films, participate in AHRC public and academic events and receive further support from AHRC for research and communication planning. Previous winners have maintained links with the BBC and often contribute beyond their New Generation year.

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Research Seminar Room Change

Professor John Strachan, Bath Spa University, will be speaking on ‘Wordsworth among the Fascists’, Thursday, 1 February 2018 14.00 – 15.30, Room MU504. All are welcome.

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Research Seminar: 1 February 2018, Prof John Strachan on Wordsworth and Fascism

Professor John Strachan, Bath Spa University, will be speaking on ‘Wordsworth among the Fascists’, Thursday, 1 February 2018 14.00 – 15.30, Room MU504. All are welcome.

This lecture examines the way in which the British Union of Fascists used Romantic poetry in the 1930s, how it contrived to see Wordsworth, in the words of a 1939 article in the fascist magazine Action, as ‘William Wordsworth – National Socialist’. This was part of a contemporary fascistic tendency to see English literature as ‘proving the essentially British character of our creed’: ‘we should be the first to honour such names as Shakespeare, Milton, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley and Keats’. This lecture discusses a notable misuse of the English canon of poetry, and of Wordsworth in particular.

About the speaker
John Strachan is Professor of English and Vice Provost for Research and Development at Bath Spa University. His research interests focus on British Romanticism, with a particular attention to Romantic-era popular culture, parody and satire, literary magazines and the work of Leigh Hunt, John Keats and William Wordsworth. He is fascinated by the relationship between literature and advertising, the subject of his monographs, Advertising and Satirical Culture in the Romantic Period, Cambridge University Press, 2007, and Advertising, Literature and Print Culture in Ireland, 1891-1922 (co-written with Claire Nally), Palgrave Macmillan, 2012.

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‘Un-shared Futures?: Teaching the Literatures of Four Nations in Flux’ –– A Symposium

The Association for Welsh Writing in English and the University of Wolverhampton School of Humanities are delighted to invite colleagues from all areas of literary studies to a one-day symposium on the subject of ‘Un-shared Futures?: Teaching the Literatures of Four Nations in Flux’, on 5 December 2017, Room MU504/5, City Campus, University of Wolverhampton.

As the UK stumbles from constitutional crisis to EU withdrawal, three speakers, a postgraduate panel and a round-table discussion address the question of how literature and humanities departments face the challenge of choosing, framing and teaching canonical and contemporary literary texts from the Four Nations within the critical and pedagogical structures found in each nation’s schools and universities.

The keynote speakers will be Professor Katie Gramich (Prifysgol Caerdydd/University of Cardiff), Professor Eve Patten (Cólaiste na Tríonóide Baile Atha Cliath / Coleg y Drindod Dulyn / Trinity College Dublin) and Thomas Morris (author of We Don’t Know What We’re Doing (2015), Contributing Editor of  The Stinging Fly and Writer in Residence, Cólaiste na hOllscoile Corcaigh / University College Cork) reading from his work and in conversation with Professor Matt Jarvis (UWTSD/PCYDDS/Prifysgol Aberystwyth University).

Panel chairs will be Dr Sarah Morse (Learned Society of Wales / Cymdeithas Ddysgedig Cymru) and Professor Kirsti Bohata (Prifysgol Abertawe / University of Swansea).

Indicative schedule:

9.30-10.30: Introductory Keynote 1 – Professor Katie Gramich

10.30-11: Coffee

11-12.30: Postgraduate paper panel chaired by Dr. Sarah Morse

12.30-1.30: Lunch

1.30-2.30: Keynote 2 – Professor Eve Patten

2.30-3: Coffee

3.00-4.30: Hard Borders? Teaching Four Nations Literature – a round table discussion chaired by Professor Kirsti Bohata

4-30-5.00: Coffee

5.00-6.00: Creative Keynote – Thomas Morris.

Please send 200-word abstracts of postgraduate papers on the subject of new approaches to Four Nations texts and/or teaching to a.byrne2@wlv.ac.uk by November 1st: draft papers will be distributed to delegates in advance so that panellists and delegates can engage with the ideas and texts in a discussion led by the chair and author of each paper.

The conference is free to all registered delegates, funded by the Faculty of Arts, Wolverhampton University. Delegate numbers will be limited to 45. For further details and to reserve a place, please contact:

Dr Aidan Byrne
School of English, University of Wolverhampton
Camp Street

Postgraduate and low-waged members of the Association for Welsh Writing in English are welcome to apply to the Association for travel support: please contact treasurer@awwe.org.


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Jane Austen – Germaine de Staël Anniversary Keynote

Benjamin Colbert, Co-Director of CTTR, delivered the opening keynote address at the Chawton House Library conference, Reputations, Legacies, Futures: Jane Austen, Germaine de Staël and their Contemporaries, on Thursday, 13 July 2017.  Celebrating the bicentenary of the deaths of Austen and Staël – the one who would become one of the most famous novelists in England and the other who enjoyed celebrity status throughout Europe in her own day – the conference took as its theme the cross-channel literary and cultural relationships that flourished in their era and which form a principal context for appreciating their works.

Prof. Catriona Seth, Oxford University, introduces keynote speaker Benjamin Colbert, 13 July 2017

Colbert’s keynote, ‘Lady Morgan’s France en France, 1817-1830: “The book, which one must run to read”‘, took up another landmark work, also 200 years old, namely the controversial best-selling travel book of Sydney Owenson, Lady Morgan, whose earlier novels had earned her celebrity status in Britain and France. Morgan was sometimes identified as ‘the Irish de Staël’ and referred to Staël herself in France as ‘the most distinguished woman of the age’, but, unlike Staël, Morgan drew fire from critics and reviewers on both sides of the channel for her defence of revolutionary and Napoleonic reforms and for, as a woman, writing on politics at all. Even her own translator cut out ‘objectionable’ passages and carried on a critical dialogue with her through his translator’s notes, following all of this with a book-length refutation and a concerted campaign against her influence in France. Colbert’s keynote considered the larger shape of this cultural reception as well as Morgan’s development of a counter-history in which her travel writings broach ‘truths which history trembles to narrate’.

A second keynote address was delivered  by Professor Alison Finch, University of Cambridge, on ‘Staël, Austen and the Politics of the Bildungsroman’, and Deirdre Lynch, Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature at Harvard University, concluded the conference with ‘The Unwritten History of the Woman of Genius’.

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TransLive, 30 June 2017

When? 30 June 2017, 2pm

Where? Student Union. University of Wolverhampton

‘TransLive’ aspires to raise awareness and highlight the importance of  literary translation as a creative practice that can enhance intercultural awareness in the UK’s and the region’s linguistically diverse society, while  simultaneously highlighting literary translation’s key place in the economy of cultural production.

The event will begin with readings from prize-winning entries to the prestigious John Dryden Translation Competition (https://bcla.org/prizes-and-competitions/john-dryden-translation-competition/), after which a live translation ‘slam’ will give you the chance to see literary translators in action. Then, over refreshments, you will have a chance to meet the translators themselves and, if the fancy takes you, even engage with literary translation yourself through TRANSFORM (Wolverhampton TRANSlation FORuM).

‘Translive’ will appeal to all members of our linguistically diverse regional and national communities and generally to all who appreciate and aspire to enhance linguistic and intercultural awareness – and, indeed, to anyone who loves reading and literature. The event will be of particular interest to established as well as aspiring literary translators and other creative writers, students and teachers of modern languages and English, representatives of arts and media organisations, and publishers.

‘Translive’ has been organised by Dr Glyn Hambrook, Reader in Comparative and European Literature in Wolverhampton University’s Faculty of Arts and Co-Editor of Comparative Critical Studies, the journal of the British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA, https://bcla.org/); and Dr Karen Seago, Programme Director of Translation Studies at City University, London, and  Convenor of the John Dryden Translation Competition. Both sit on the Executive Committee of the BCLA and are judges for the John Dryden Prize. They will be your comperes for the event.

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Research Seminar: 16 May 2017, Dr Yarmilla Daskalova on Poe and Baudelaire

Dr Yarmila Daskalova, University of Sts Cyril and Methodius, Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria, will be speaking on ‘New Dimensions in Conceptualizing Beauty and the Principle of Originality in the Works of Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Baudelaire’, Tuesday, 16 May 2017, 14.00 – 15.30, MH110. All are welcome.

About the Speaker: Dr Yarmilla Daskalova is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of Sts Cyril and Methodius, Veliko Turnovo, Bulgaria. Her research areas include British, Irish, and American Studies; romanticism and post-romanticism; and comparative literature. Her publications include studies of Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, and W. B. Yeats, often alongside Bulgarian novelists and poets, such as  Emil Andreev, Svetlozar Igov, Marina Tsvetaeva, and P. K. Yavarov.


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Launch Event – Friday 25 November: UK Sikh Survey Report 2016

Sikh Survey 2016 Launch EventCTTR hosts the Launch of the Findings of the UK Sikh Survey, the first ever comprehensive analysis of issues that matter to the British Sikh Community. The event takes place on Friday 25 November 2016, 2-4pm, MA 221 (The Council Room, Wulfruna Building, City Campus, University of Wolverhampton).

The UK Sikh Survey maps out a much needed analysis of the views, as well as challenges, faced by the Sikh Community in contemporary British Society. The Survey is based on extensive outreach to gather the opinions of Sikhs across the length and breadth of the United Kingdom and will generate new empirical knowledge to current debates on what it means to be a British Sikh. Specifically, this knowledge will provide the British Sikh community with the tools to effectively communicate its values and aspirations with government and public institutions. This is only made possible because of the Survey’s aim to conduct the largest poll of the Sikh community in the UK.

This is an opportunity for staff and students, Sikh and non-Sikh to engage with politicians, Councillors, and the Sikh Network over matters of concern to the British Sikh community.

Although this is a free event, registration is encouraged via this Eventbrite link.

For more information, please contact Dr Opinderjit Kaur Takhar, Department of Religion, Philosophy and Cultural Heritage (School of Humanities).

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Public Lecture: 24 Nov. 2016, Jay Griffiths in Conversation (Tristimania)

jay-griffithsAcclaimed novelist and writer Jay Griffiths reads from and discusses her latest book, Tristimania: A Diary of Manic Depression, in conversation with CTTR novelist Professor Niall Griffiths. The event will take place on Thursday, 24 November 2016, from 6:00 p.m. in the Lecture Theatre, MX004, at City Campus North, University of Wolverhampton. This event is free and open to the public.

Tristimania tells the story of a devastating year-long episode of manic depression, showing how the condition is at once terrifying and also profoundly creative, both tricking and treating the psyche. Griffiths explores its literary influence, including Shakespeare and Gerard Manley Hopkins, and also examines the Trickster role, tracing the mercuriality of manic depression through the character of Mercury.

About the Speaker:

Jay Griffiths was born in Manchester and studied English Literature at the University of Oxford. She is the author of Pip Pip: A Sideways Look at Time, for which she won the Discover award for the best new non-fiction writer to be published in the USA; Wild: An Elemental Journey, an evocation of the songlines of the earth, which won the inaugural Orion Book Award; Kith: The Riddle of the Childscape; and most recently Tristimania: A Diary of Manic Depression. Her fiction includes A Love Letter from a Stray Moon, about the Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, and Anarchipelago, about the road protests. She has written for the comment and feature pages of The Guardian and has contributed to other publications including The Observer, the London Review of Books and Radiohead’s newspaper the Universal Sigh.

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Communities of Authorship Update: The Marchioness Solari and the Royal Literary Fund

This post is the second of a series of profiles in which Dr Benjamin Colbert will feature an author and her work from Women’s Travel Writing, 1780-1840, as well as an update on the research underway for the British Academy project, Women’s Travel Writing: Communities of Authorship.

No. 2: Catherine Hyde (or Hyams), Marchioness Govion Broglio Solari, c. 1755-1844.

solari-1From the 39 items making up the Royal Literary Fund’s record (Loan RLF 1/435) of its dealings with the travel writer and memoirist Catherine Hyde, Marchioness Govion Broglio Solari (c1755-1844), emerges a portrait of the artist that is at once consistent with Solari’s self-representations in her published works, yet also details her day-to-day struggle for solvency over the twenty-one-year period covered by the archive (1821-1842). Her first letter to the RLF of 18 May 1821 is dated from the ‘king’s bench prison’ where she had been confined four months unable to pay her printer (Howlett & Brimmer) for a pamphlet on Wellington, the national hero of Waterloo. Hardly eight years later, in November 1829, she writes on a dirty scrap of paper in blotted ink from Palace Court Prison – the old Marshalsea – this time in arrears with rent. There is no evidence that either letter moved the committee although stipends were apportioned from time to time in what became almost an annual appeal for help from Solari to her occasional benefactors.

The letters from both sides tell us a good deal about Solari’s publications and plans for publication, her supporters among the bookselling and medical community, her sense of grievance at being a titled member of the aristocracy down on her luck and forced to plead for subsistence. The story she rehearses to the committee seems fantastical (and, as we shall see, may very well be so). The daughter of a scion of the Clarendon family and a mother related to the Polish royal family, she was sent to France at 11 to receive her education, her musical talents attracting the attention of Marie Antoinette and her confidante, the Princess Lamballe, for whom she became a Maid of Honour. Entrusted with the Princess’s journals, Solari was bundled off to Italy when the French Revolution erupted, learning of her patrons’ executions second hand. In Italy she met a Venetian nobleman, the Marquis Solari, who became her husband, but who lost his fortune after the French invasion of Italy and Napoleon’s subsequent abolition of entailed estates. Separated from her husband by Napoleon’s persecutions and forced to flee Venice by boat, she was shipwrecked and returned to England penniless, supporting herself by her literary talents. Her just deserts (she continued to claim that the Austrian government owed her compensation of above £100,000 for her husband’s confiscated estates), her English patriotism (instanced by her pamphlet on Wellington), her infirmities and failing eyesight, became the refrains of her frequent appeals to the committee.

Perhaps understandably, the committee showed signs of charity fatigue, and refusals of assistance became more common than the small sums at times voted for her. Then on 1 November 1832 came a renewed campaign from an unexpected quarter. The RLF received a letter on Solari’s behalf from Barbara Hofland (1770-1844), the prolific children’s writer and poet who also features in the Women’s Travel Writing database for her storybook travelogues for children. Hofland informed the RLF that Solari’s nephew, a Mr. Hyde, had offered her asylum in New Orleans, and that she required funding for the passage which Hofland and her friends could not supply. Having prepared the ground, Hofland then submitted the appeal itself on 12 November, again in her hand, but dictated and signed by Solari. Perhaps breathing a collective sigh of relief that the American scheme would put an end to her  annual appeals, the committee voted the sums, and received an effusive letter of thanks, this time in Solari’s own hand, dated 20 February 1833, from Liverpool on the eve of her departure.

If the RLF thought this was an end to it, they were disappointed. Whatever happened Continue reading

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