LJMU English Help Set Up Northern Postcolonial Network

LJMU English Help Set Up Northern Postcolonial Network

Kate Houlden from LJMU English has been integral in bringing the department into collaboration with a range of new colleagues across the North of England (from Salford, Sheffield and Manchester Universities). Working with Michael Morris and Fiona Tolan, she is part of the newly established Northern Postcolonial Network, which aims to support knowledge exchange and networking amongst scholars and other individuals and groups in the field. LJMU will be hosting the network’s inaugural event in the Spring of 2015, with an exciting programme to follow. Kate says ‘We’re very pleased to be working with these partner institutions. Such collaboration will allow us to engage with key questions in postcolonial studies, benefitting staff and students alike. For more information, please visit the group's website, or follow them on Facebook or Twitter.  ...
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Shelf Lives: Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Shelf Lives: Wednesday, 15 October 2014

LJMU English will be running the next in the series of Shelf Lives talks on the top floor of Liverpool City Library on Wednesday 15th October 2014, from 3PM to 4.30PM. Jon Cranfield will talk about Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles (1902), followed by Deaglán Ó Donghaile on Joseph Conrad's The Secret Agent (1907), and Elspeth Graham on Izaak Walton's The Compleat Angler (1653). We hope to see you there.! ...
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How We Used To Live: LJMU English Hosts Northern Film Premiere

How We Used To Live: LJMU English Hosts Northern Film Premiere

First shown at the 2013 London Film Festival, How We Used To Live is a poetic collage-history of London, setting colour footage from the BFI National Archive to the hazy, beautiful music of Saint Etienne. Produced by the filmmaking collective of the band with writer Travis Elborough and director Paul Kelly, it looks back at Britain from the 1950s to the 1980s, with some scenes lost to contemporary Britain, but some still profoundly resonant. The film will be screened on Thursday, 14th October 2014 at 5.30pm in John Foster 121, and Travis Elborough will answer questions afterwards. You can watch a trailer of the film here. ...
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‘The best academics’: Helen Rogers in the THE

‘The best academics’: Helen Rogers in the THE

Dr Helen Rogers has been named in the Times Higher Education as an academic making exemplary use of blogging in her research. In the article 'Twitter and Blogs are Not Add-ons to Research', published on 28th August 2014, Tim Hitchcock, professor of digital history at the University of Sussex, praised Helen's Conviction blog, which shares ideas and excerpts from her forthcoming book Conviction: Stories from a Nineteenth-Century Prison. Professor Hitchcock claims that the most impressive thing about Helen's blog (and her career more widely) 'is that there is no waste – what starts as a blog, ends as an academic output, and an output with a ready-made audience, eager to cite it'. Last year Helen received a Teaching Grant from the Higher Education Authority to develop her innovative approach to fostering collaborative student research in two of LJMU English's undergraduate modules. Visit 'Prison Voices' and 'Writing Lives' to see what her students have achieved. You can also find out more about both...
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Shelf Life (It’s the Only Life We Know)

Shelf Life (It’s the Only Life We Know)

Beginning on Wednesday, 17 September, LJMU English Staff will be giving a series of talks at the (dazzling) Liverpool Central Library. Organised by Dr Gerry Smyth, LJMU English's Reader in Cultural History, each session will feature three presentations on books and other material held by the library, with plenty of time for discussion afterwards. Gerry said: 'We decided that eclecticism - something for everybody – rather than a shared theme or period, would be the best means to structure each session. I guess if there is a theme animating the series it's a love of books, of reading, and a celebration of libraries'. This 'Shelf Life' series will take place on 17 September, 15 October, 12 November and 10 December 2014, beginning at 3pm, on the top floor of the Central Library. Look out for more details on the topics and texts we'll be discussing. We'd love to see you there.  ...
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Graduate Teaching Assistantships

Graduate Teaching Assistantships

The Faculty of Arts, Professional and Social Studies at Liverpool John Moores University is offering up to 10 full time Graduate Teaching / Research Assistant Studentships in a range of disciplines to start in October 2014. This studentship scheme offers a valuable opportunity to study for a PhD while teaching in subjects broadly related to your PhD research. The studentship covers full tuition fees and a bursary of £13,863 for three years, based on successful PhD progression. GTAs work with academic staff in a range of teaching, learning and assessment activities to support student learning for up to 180 hours in each academic year. These activities include supporting lectures, leading seminars, providing tutorial support, demonstrating in practical classes, marking student assessments and exam invigilation. GTAs will undertake a programme of teaching and learning skills development during the first year, and will be encouraged to attend a range of researcher development sessions in line with the Vitae Researcher Development Framework throughout their...
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‘Print Culture and Gender in the British Empire’, University of Warwick, 5 June 2014

‘Print Culture and Gender in the British Empire’, University of Warwick, 5 June 2014

‘Print Culture and Gender in the British Empire’, University of Warwick, June 5th 2014. Conference report by Sam Caddick With my train leaving Liverpool at 6 am and several changes deep in the bowels on the Midlands, I planned my journey to Warwick University and the Gender and Print Culture in the British Empire conference in the manner of a military manoeuvre. My meticulous planning was undone at the eleventh hour, I alighted the shuttle bus too early and found myself dashing from the University’s science department over to the humanities department on the other side of the campus. Arriving just before registration closed, the conference opened with a keynote from Priti Joshi, hailing from the University of Puget Sound. Professor Joshi’s paper focused on The Mofussilite, one of the 14,000 newspapers that came out of Anglo-India. The paper was founded by John Lang, considered to also be the first Australian born novelist. Lang founded the paper in 1845 and frequently used this...
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Writing Lives Students on BBC Radio

Writing Lives Students on BBC Radio

LJMU English students and lecturer recently featured on BBC Radio 4’s major new series Five Hundred Years of Friendship Level 6 students Cleo Chalk, Steve Clark, John England and Victoria Hoffman co-wrote a blog post on ‘Memories of Improvement’ and LJMU Reader, Dr Helen Rogers, was interviewed by Radio 4 presenter Dr Thomas Dixon for the programme on ‘Felons and Oddfellows’ While developing the series Thomas asked Helen whether working-class autobiographers wrote about their friends. Since this is a question that researchers have yet to study, Helen decided to ask her students on the ‘Writing Lives’ module. On Writing Lives, students have selected an author from the unpublished manuscripts in the John Burnett Collection of Working Class Autobiography and have researched and written about an aspect of their author’s life and memoir and published their findings each week on the Writing Lives website. ‘The Memories of Improvement’ article explores what friendship meant to four of these authors. Along with Helen’s Level 5 module, Prison...
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On Location: Gladstone’s Library Trip 2014

On Location: Gladstone’s Library Trip 2014

The Students Report: Overview: Anthony Robson Over the course of January 23rd and 24th the English Literature and Cultural History MRes found itself relocated to the beauty and elegance of Gladstone’s Library. The essence of the relocation was to get us to think about reading, libraries and our own individual research. Once at the library and checked in, we were treated to a quick tour of the library and the history of it, and how the collection was sorted, based upon Gladstone’s collection of books. Once the tour was done, we were left to browse the collection and see for ourselves the amount of literature and books held there. From books on specific authors to books on the history of English counties to the volumes of Punch, we all found something which engaged us as researchers. This was followed up by a discussion upon selected reading, in which the main question was “Where did the elephant go?” Next came the unusual role reversal were...
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Dr Gerry Smyth Wins Prestigious Essay Competition

Dr Gerry Smyth Wins Prestigious Essay Competition

Dr Gerry Smyth from LJMU's English Department has won a UK and Ireland essay competition. The essay entitled ‘Place-naming and Space-knowing: An Analysis of Two Irish Poems’ has won the Society for Name Studies in Britain and Ireland Essay Competition for 2012. The judges commented: "This is an intelligently written and thoughtful essay, which offers a sustained analysis of the use of the term tuaim in ‘Suibne the Lunatic’ and Seamus Heaney’s ‘Toome’." ...
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Research Seminar: Professor Margaret Topping (QUB), ‘A Sense of Place in Travel Narratives, or Travelling in 4D’ (10 December 2013)

Research Seminar: Professor Margaret Topping (QUB), ‘A Sense of Place in Travel Narratives, or Travelling in 4D’ (10 December 2013)

Professor Margaret Topping, Queen's University Belfast ‘A Sense of Place in Travel Narratives, or Travelling in 4D’ LJMU English Research Seminar 10 December 2013 Professor Margaret Topping presented an involving and thematically transitory lecture on travel writing and its place in an increasingly digitised society. Through outlining where Francophone travel writing has come from and where it stands, Topping then looked at how themes and sensitivity within travel writing as a text are explored through installation art – almost the flip side of the coin, where instead of people seeking out the text to explore other worlds, the other worlds are brought to them. Topping deftly brought wo supposedly polar art forms together in an encompassing and thoroughly convincing argument that considered the possibilities and plasticities of negotiating debates on intercultural mobility. Looking at the written works of Flaubert, Maspero, Proust and Sebar, and the visual works of Kader Attia, Mounir Fatmi and Majida Khattari, Topping selected and entwined already moving and powerful works...
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Nineteenth-Century Periodicals Research Day

Nineteenth-Century Periodicals Research Day

On November 8th 2013 LJMU held the Nineteenth-Century Periodicals Research Day. Organised by Brian Maidment (English), Val Stevenson (Library), and Clare Horrocks (Media, Culture, and Communication), the symposium generated a forum in which many of the contemporary issues relevant to periodical research could be discussed. In addition the event celebrated ‘Punch Re-Rooted’—the new archive collection and exhibition of nineteenth-century periodicals at the Aldham Robarts Library. The first speaker was James Baker from the British Library’s digital research department. James’s presentation emphasised the advanced ways in which Digital Humanities enables us to engage with primary source material and how these modern research methods may lead to opening up and crafting a new canon. Next up was Jonathan Canfield (English, LJMU). Jonathan’s study of Arthur Conan Doyle’s work for The Strand Magazine was helpful in evaluating my own approach to archival research. Focusing on a specific period of The Strand’s publication Jonathan identified a transition in the voice of the magazine as it...
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Research Seminar: Lynsey Hanley (Visiting Fellow) – ‘A Look In The Mirror – Reflections on Tabloid Observations & Broadsheet Prejudices, 1980-2010’ (29 October 2013)

Research Seminar: Lynsey Hanley (Visiting Fellow) – ‘A Look In The Mirror – Reflections on Tabloid Observations & Broadsheet Prejudices, 1980-2010’ (29 October 2013)

‘A Look In The Mirror, Reflections in Tabloid Observations and Broadsheet Prejudices, 1980 – 2010’ by Lynsey Hanley On 29th October 2013, Liverpool John Moores University were more than proud to welcome new Visiting Fellow in the Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History, Lynsey Hanley, to discuss her most recent work ‘A Look In The Mirror, Reflections in Tabloid Observations and Broadsheet Prejudices, 1980 – 2010’. Having previously heard of Hanley’s work with Estates her 2007 book published under Granta Books and acknowledged her contributions to The Guardian newspaper; it was interesting to hear her latest piece of research from the author herself. When Hanley began her presentation to a room filled with Liverpool John Moores staff and students, she tapped into nostalgia to ensure that the entire room was entranced by her research. Introducing her research with the statement that The Mirror was the publication that she and her family grew up with, allowed us, the audience, to recall our...
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Professor Joe Moran’s ‘Intimate History’ of British TV Gets Rave Reviews

Professor Joe Moran’s ‘Intimate History’ of British TV Gets Rave Reviews

Professor of English and Cultural History, Joe Moran, has just released his latest book, ‘Armchair Nation: An Intimate History of Britain in Front of the TV’, which tells the story of television over the generations. A follow-up to his critically-acclaimed book, ‘Queuing for Beginners’, Joe’s fascinating and perceptive observations on British life chart viewing habits and programme developments throughout the years, covering major milestones such as the Queen’s Coronation and the first televised FA Cup Final in 1953, the first moon landing, telly going colour, Ted Heath’s proposed 10.30pm TV curfew in 1973, the popularity of the Sopranos and US imports of the ‘naughties’ and the impact shows like the X Factor has had on the viewing public. Read a full review of the book here from Saturday’s Observer Commenting on the book, Joe said: "It’s not so much a history of TV as a history of watching TV. The challenge for me was to write about something that is such an everyday feature of...
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Life Beyond the PhD: My Stay at Cumberland Lodge

Life Beyond the PhD: My Stay at Cumberland Lodge

I was delighted to have recently had the opportunity to attend a residential conference at Cumberland Lodge.  Life Beyond the PhD is an annual event that gives early career researchers practical advice and offers them the chance to reflect on their future within academia.  Compelled to share my experiences I thought I would begin by giving some background to the place itself.  Set against a spectacular landscape the seventeenth-century lodge is situated on the Royal estate in Windsor.  The decision by George VI to make the house and its grounds available to students and universities was largely influenced by Amy Buller’s book Darkness Over Germany (1943).  Critical of the ways in which National Socialist ideologies were promoted and reinforced by German universities during the Second World War, Buller’s study persuaded the King to create an academic retreat where researchers could discuss contemporary ‘social matters, ethics, and international issues’, within an open and democratic environment.   The conference was scheduled to start at...
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Conference Report: Victorian Orientalism(s)

Conference Report: Victorian Orientalism(s)

27th-29th June Ragusa Ibla, Sicily, Lois Thomas In June this year, with the support of a postgraduate travel bursary, I packed my bags and merrily boarded a well-known budget airline flight for Trapani, Sicily to attend the inaugural conference of the Universities of Ghent and Catania. The subject was ‘Victorian Orientalism(s)’ and presented an opportunity for me to finally commit to paper my thoughts about the persistence of oriental imagery in the accounts of transgressive and revelatory experience that form the basis of my PhD thesis. Arriving on the west coast of the island, the first challenge was to negotiate Sicily’s bus service to travel across to the tiny, perfect baroque town of Ragusa Ibla in the South East. This turned out to be no great hardship. Cruising along through the Sicilian countryside accompanied by wonderful views, good tunes and air conditioning, I was able to take in the cities of Palermo and Catania en route to the conference venue. A new...
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Postgraduate Research Seminar (2013)

Postgraduate Research Seminar (2013)

This year’s postgraduate research seminar, led by the MRes students of the Research Centre, brought together an exciting mix of themes, genres, and periods. As is so often the case, it was a pleasant surprise seeing how well our postgraduates handled their nerves in presenting their work-in-progress to a room full of well-wishing – yet in the speakers’ eyes probably slightly terrifying – academics. The challenge of being first on the afternoon’s programme was one Liam Mushrow handled competently with a paper entitled “Pullman and Literary Realism: The Sally Lockhart Mysteries”. Focusing on The Lockhart Quartet (1985-1994) and the novels’ move from being marketed first as detective fiction and later as children’s literature, Mushrow’s talk provided a discussion of Philip Pullman representations of violence. More specifically, Mushrow’s careful analysis was concerned with Pullman’s descriptions of violence as a means of achieving narrative realism, raising wider questions about the novels’ claims to “historical authenticity” and their moral and educational responsibilities to young...
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On Location: Gladstone’s Library Trip 2013

On Location: Gladstone’s Library Trip 2013

In late April MRes students went on an overnight reading party field trip to Gladstone’s Library, Hawarden.  The Library, established by Gladstone himself in his later years, provides a wonderful resource for scholars of the nineteenth century but also, for us,  an ideal environment in which to discuss, argue, reflect and to extend debates that had emerged during the taught elements of the Masters programme.  The schedule for the visit included an information session on doctoral study; a short story analysis; a poetry seminar, where everyone present chose, read and led discussion on a particular poem; a research paper given by a member of staff; and a theory session where we engaged in particular with the work of Stanley Fish. We also had time to sit around the fire, in enormous leather armchairs, seeing a large moon outside the gothic windows and pondering many things.   What follows are student impressions and accounts of some of these sessions.  Liam Mushrow Short story Discussion: The Elephant...
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Research Seminar: Dr David Tyrer (LJMU) – “The Politics of Phobia”

Research Seminar: Dr David Tyrer (LJMU) – “The Politics of Phobia”

Why we fear what we fear is a question that has long fascinated LJMU’s own David Tyrer. Coming from an interdisciplinary background, David studies the phenomenon of phobias from a cultural, historical, and sociological perspective.  His studies range from the depiction of phobias in pieces of art, to the sociological use of the word as a byword for hatred- such as homophobia and xenophobia. David opened his talk with a discussion of the history of phobias.  Coming from the Greek for “fear”, the term was popularised during the 19th century with many being intrinsically connected to historical events.  For example, the concept of claustrophobia and agoraphobia first materialise during the Franco-Prussian War – claustrophobia during the siege of Paris, and agoraphobia following the relief of the city. As well as their relationship to historical events, David also detailed how phobias were used as political tools.  With the modern classification of phobia occurring in 1871, the concepts then went under a medicalization during...
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English Students Write Blog Posts for Journal of Victorian Culture Online

English Students Write Blog Posts for Journal of Victorian Culture Online

Six Level 5 English students have written a series of blog posts about crime and punishment in Victorian Liverpool for the Journal of Victorian Culture Online, the blog for the respected Journal of Victorian Culture. As part of the second year English module, Prison Voices: Crime, Conviction and Confession 1700-1900, students took to the city’s streets to explore the spaces of Victorian crime and punishment. The module, which is led by Dr Helen Rogers, explores both real and imagined prison voices investigating, for example, Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations (1861) alongside the criminal confessions and historical debates about confinement that Dickens drew upon. Zoë Alker, an LJMU doctoral student whose thesis examines violent street robbery in mid-Victorian Liverpool, was asked to run three sessions related to her research and decided to organise field trips to the places that featured so heavily in her case studies: the nineteenth-century Assize court in St George’s Hall, and the former bridewell on Argyle Street. During these sessions, students...
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Punch Ledgers Launch

Punch Ledgers Launch

Valerie Stevenson, Head of Research and Learner Support at LJMU's Aldham Roberts Learning Resource Centre, introduced the Punch and the Victorian Periodical Press Collection. A satirical magazine, Punch or the London Charivari ran from 1841-2002. It was printed weekly in a standardised format, containing text and image. It is a highly useful resource in that the magazines can be used to give context to literary or historical moments. For example, the case of Jack the Ripper and serial killers in London give historical insight into the social concerns surrounding the novella Doctor Jekyll and Mister Hyde. It can also be used solely on its own merits, as a primary resource. Liverpool John Moores’ database of the Punch Ledgers, on which Clare Horrocks has been working for a number of years,  offers a special insight into the inner workings of Punch. As Clare demonstrated, the Ledgers, and their digitised excel counterparts,  contain such details as the names of contributors, their pay, the...
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Research Seminar: John-Paul Zaccarini – ‘Circus on the Couch’  (30 October 2013)

Research Seminar: John-Paul Zaccarini – ‘Circus on the Couch’ (30 October 2013)

On Tuesday 30th October, we were proud to welcome to LJMU the internationally renowned and multi-talented circus performer John-Paul Zaccarini. Having already enjoyed considerable successes as a circus artist, director and choreographer, John-Paul began a foray into the remarkably different (but arguably equally as challenging!) world of academia by studying for a PhD, with his invention of the concept he entitled ‘Circoanalysis’. It was this term which formed the basis of his fascinating paper ‘Circus on the Couch’. John-Paul began by playing us a film of a dramatic scene involving rope work from his award-winning solo performance, Throat (which can be accessed here: http://vimeo.com/39268206). The video was visually stunning and served as an excellent introduction to his previous profession as a critically acclaimed circus artist. Having retired from performing, John-Paul is now a visiting lecturer at the University of Stockholm. Exploring the idea that aspects of psychoanalysis can bed applied to the circus arts he conceived a new method of theorising...
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Research Seminar: Feeling Cold: Phenomenology, Spatiality, & The Politics of Sensation

Research Seminar: Feeling Cold: Phenomenology, Spatiality, & The Politics of Sensation

En route to this week’s research seminar, I begin to fancy I understand a lot about ‘feeling cold’ and very little about spatiality. Icy needles of relentless rain drip down my neck and flood my shoes while the Dean Walters building seems to have mysteriously relocated to a space far further from my new job at London Road than I had remembered. Still, I scurry on through sodden Liverpool, crashing through the door thankfully just in time to catch the beginning of Stephanie Clare’s thoughtful and stimulating first paper of seminar season. And not a moment too soon. Stephanie has a lot of ground to cover with us this evening and she carefully guides us through her interesting and challenging concept by dividing her paper into three distinct sections. Using examples from Frantz Fanon’s Black Skin, White Masks and Sandra L Bartky’s work on feminism and phenomenology; she shows how characters who become suddenly aware of being objectified in some way,...
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Research Seminar: Dr Bella Adams (LJMU), ‘Wrack & Ruin’ (2008) by Don Lee – An Ecocritical Reading (28 February 2012)

Research Seminar: Dr Bella Adams (LJMU), ‘Wrack & Ruin’ (2008) by Don Lee – An Ecocritical Reading (28 February 2012)

Research Seminar Blog –Dr  Bella Adams (LJMU): ‘Wrack and Ruin’ (2008) by Don Lee: an ecocritical reading,  28th Feb 2012 Michael Harley Dr Bella Adams’ research seminar was about the novel Wrack and Ruin (2008) by Don Lee, a Korean-American novelist and professor of creative writing at Temple University.  Works preceding Wrack and Ruin include a short story collection Yellow (2001), set in the same fictional Californian town as Wrack and Ruin, and the novel Country of Origin (2005). The presentation was based on a chapter for a book entitled Asian American Literature and the Environment that Bella is co-editing.  Bella’s central premise was to review the book on eco-critical terms, which means, as succinctly as I can for those uninitiated like myself in eco-criticism, a reading of the novel that focused on the depiction of the environment in regards to relationships between space and place and anthropomorphic depictions of nature or the ‘non-human.’ Wrack and Ruin is a satirical comedy that depicts...
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Research Seminar: A Rantin’, Drinkin’ Bard: Robert Burns & the (Scottish) Supernatural

Research Seminar: A Rantin’, Drinkin’ Bard: Robert Burns & the (Scottish) Supernatural

Dr Sonny Kandola began her paper by introducing us to the role of Gothic literature in the formation of the United Kingdom.  Reading Robert Burns’ ‘Address to the Deil’ and ‘Tam O’Shanter’, alongside Julia Kristeva’s theoretical conception of the ‘Abject’, Sonny mapped Burns’ central themes of the Supernatural to Scottish identities, cultural alienation, and the loss of independence.  The seminar raised complex questions around nation and colonial constructions of the self.  Though we traced Burns’ imagery to folkloric and Scottish oral traditions, Sonny also showed us how the Gothic could be used to reveal the poet’s ‘slippery politics’ and his movement between Jacobitism and Unionism.  Starting with ‘Address to the Deil’ Sonny focused on Burns’ heavy use of dialect and the poem’s carnivalesque transgression of Paradise Lost. Burns’ own reading practices were highly sophisticated, and we were reminded how his dialect was an ‘option not a necessity’. By transforming Milton’s vision of hell into a ‘jocular and domestic idiom’ Burns’ poem...
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Research Seminar: ‘Censoring Intimacy: British Cinema of the 1960s’

Research Seminar: ‘Censoring Intimacy: British Cinema of the 1960s’

Dr Tracy Hargreaves (University of Leeds) delivered a paper charting the work of the British Board of Film Censors and of its secretary John Trevelyan over a decade. She put to good use her 300 odd pages of research notes compiled from the Board’s archives which enabled her audience to lift the curtain and look beyond the urbane diplomacy of Trevelyan’s delicate dealings with directors, producers and scriptwriters to the highly critical comments of the Boards examiners. Trevelyan was able to resolve many disputed cuts over a pleasant lunch although, as Dr Hargreaves pointed out, from time to time he exceeded his brief and thought of himself as a scriptwriter. Dr Hargreaves’s in-depth analysis of the Board’s records allowed her to enliven the seminar with many examples of the cuts demanded by the examiners and how the issues were eventually resolved. Although the paper covered the 1960s, I was delighted that Dr Hargreaves began a little earlier with one of my...
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Research Seminar: Beauty, Ugliness, & the Psychology of Aesthetics

Research Seminar: Beauty, Ugliness, & the Psychology of Aesthetics

Research Seminar, November 15th, 2011: Dr Carolynn Burdett, ‘Miming, Breathing, Balancing: the art of empathy and the Victorian fin de siècle’. I’ll begin at the end, if you will allow.  Dr Carolynn Burdett’s intriguing seminar had finished.  In it, she had discussed the research of Vernon Lee.  In a radical enterprise exploring aesthetics, Lee travelled Europe with her cohort (which seems a reasonable descriptor after hearing of their experiences; companion or lover doesn’t seem appropriate somehow) Kit Anstruther-Thomson, recording physical responses to art.  My mind was racing.  The question of how we react to art, or beauty and ugliness, was central to both Dr Burdett’s paper and Lee’s research, and something in particular Dr Burdett said played on my mind: ‘interacting with art should be hard work’ (I’m paraphrasing here).  It would be easy, wouldn’t it, to stroll around a gallery muttering ‘that’s nice’ or ‘I don’t get that’, but what if we really looked.  Stopped.  And looked.  With intent.  How...
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Research Seminar: Oh, What Beautiful Books!

Research Seminar: Oh, What Beautiful Books!

‘Oh, What Beautiful Books!’: Captivated Readers in an Early-Victorian Gaol As November ushered in its customary chill, a warm welcome awaited the delegates who gathered for the first paper in this year’s series of seminars. The turn-out was impressive, featuring staff and students from both LJMU and our neighbours at the University of Liverpool, all eager to hear Dr Helen Rogers’s fascinating research into the impact of nineteenth-century prison visitor Sarah Martin and her work with the inmates of Yarmouth Gaol. What followed was a hugely affecting paper, felt all the more keenly owing to Helen’s presentation of the material, which revealed her own emotional response to the scholarly research. We learned how the literally ‘captive’ boys were simultaneously captivated by the reading material offered by Sarah Martin. She sought out books that they could keep and they in turn made the learning process their own, jostling to pore over the illustrations depicting simple moral tales featuring characters seemingly like themselves and...
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