Shelf Lives: Shakespeare’s Quatercentenary

Shelf Lives: Shakespeare’s Quatercentenary

The final event in the current Shelf Lives series took place in Liverpool Central Library on Wednesday 20 April, when three academics from the English Department spoke on texts relating to the quatercentenary of the death of William Shakespeare. Pictured are (a windblown!) Dr Rebecca Bailey, Dr Brian Gibbons and Professor Elspeth Graham, who respectively spoke on Frederick Beilby Watson’s Religious and Moral Sentences Culled from the Work of Shakespeare (1847), Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Essays and Lectures on Shakespeare (1907 Everyman edition), and an essay from the Papers of the Lancashire Historical Society entitled ‘The Elizabethan Playhouse in Prescot, Lancashire’ by F.A. Bailey (1952). Shelf Lives is a collaboration between LJMU English and Liverpool Central Library, and will return in autumn 2016 for a third series.  ...
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Shelf Lives at the Central Library: The Easter Rising

Shelf Lives at the Central Library: The Easter Rising

On 16 March 2016, colleagues from LJMU English and University of Liverpool got together with a lively and well-informed audience to explore some of the complex and moving stories that formed part of the Easter Rising in Dublin a century ago. LJMU's Dr Gerry Smyth introduced a remarkable text, James Stephens' The Insurrection in Dublin, a lyrical eye-withness account, published only four months after the events began to unfold. Michael Robinson, from University of Liverpool's Institute of Irish Studies, drew upon the issues raised by Stephen Walker's 2007 book Forgotten Soldiers: The Irishmen Shot at Dawn to remind us of those Irishmen whose battles were being fought on the European mainland. Dr Deaglán Ó Donghaile from LJMU then explored the poetry of Joseph Mary Plunkett. The Central Library holds a first edition of Plunkett's collection, published in 1916 after Plunkett had been executed for his role in the Rising, on the same morning as he married Grace Gifford. The book begins with a sketch of its author by...
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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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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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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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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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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: ‘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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