Sam Saunders Edits New Issue of “Law, Crime and History”

The new issue of Law, Crime and History journal has been published featuring work by LJMU PhD candidate Sam Saunders. Sam, along with Setphen Basdeo (Leeds Trinity), also edited and introduced the issue which has a broad focus crime history and crime literature. Contributors to Law, Crime and History originally presented their work at a successful conference at LJMU entitled "Lives, Trials, and Executions: Perspectives on Crime, 1700–1900" in 2017. Sam notes that “the aim of the conference was to bring together scholars working on crime history and crime fiction from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the editorial aim of the journal was really to reflect that breadth”. Sam’s own contribution to the journal is a study of mid-Victorian police memoir fiction, a largely forgotten genre of literature which helped to prepare readers for later iterations of crime and detective fiction. His interest in the subject was sparked by his ground-breaking PhD research into the lost periodical origins of detective fiction....
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Marxism Postgraduate Reading Group: This Thursday, 26th October 2017, 4pm

Marxism Postgraduate Reading Group: This Thursday, 26th October 2017, 4pm

LJMU Postgraduate students are warmly invited to the inaugural meeting of our Marxism PG Reading Group, to be held this Thursday, 26th October from 4-5.30pm in John Foster 133. The preparatory reading is Jodi Dean's article ‘Enjoying Neoliberalism’: Cultural Politics 4/1 (2008), 47-72 - available via DISCOVER from LJMU Library Services. Do come along and share your own stories of enjoyment!...
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PhD Jennie O’Reilly to give conference paper to the American Folklore Society

PhD Jennie O’Reilly to give conference paper to the American Folklore Society

LJMU English Phd student Jennie O'Reilly has just received support funding from both LJMU and the American Folklore Society to deliver a conference paper in the US. Here she describes the research underlying her proposal... Back in June of this year I received an email from the American Folklore Society informing me that my paper had been accepted at this year’s Joint Annual Meeting with the International Society for Folk Narrative Research – in Miami! What an incredible location for a conference... Addressing the theme of the conference on ‘Unfinished Stories’, my paper will focus on two ethnographies: Mules and Men by Zora Neale Hurston and Harry Hyatt’s Hoodoo Conjuration Witchcraft Rootwork, both undertaken during the 1930s. ‘Florida is a place that draws people, white people from all the world, and Negroes from every Southern state surely and some from the North and West’ claimed Zora Neale Hurston in Mules and Men. When asked ‘where [did she] want to go to collect...
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Liverpool’s Wild(e) Poet: Richard Le Gallienne Exhibition at Central Library

Liverpool’s Wild(e) Poet: Richard Le Gallienne Exhibition at Central Library

  Those of you interested in Oscar Wilde (who isn’t?), in literary Liverpool or in the 1890s might like to visit the current exhibition at the beautiful Hornby Library in Liverpool Central Library from 5 August–31 October 2016. This free exhibition celebrates the life and 150th anniversary of Richard Le Gallienne, Birkenhead boy, aesthete, poet and critic, who was inspired to lead a literary life after hearing Wilde lecture in Liverpool. You can read the Guardian review of the exhibition here. For LJMU English final year students, this would be sure to get you in the mood for our Level 6 module ‘Vamps and Villains’. LJMU PhD student, Joseph Thorne, has been working as a research assistant on the exhibition and will be blogging soon for us about his experiences curating and working in the archives.  ...
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Respectable: LJMU English launch of Lynsey Hanley’s new book

Respectable: LJMU English launch of Lynsey Hanley’s new book

We talk a lot about the role social class plays in British society, but how exactly do we move from one class to another and, if we do so, what effect does it have on us? In her latest book, Respectable (Allen Lane), Lynsey Hanley argues that class remains resolutely with us, and subjects its attendant ideas of aspiration and social mobility (routinely cast as unequivocally positive phenomena) to bracing scrutiny. Lynsey is a Visiting Fellow of the School of Humanities and Social Science, and is also studying for a PhD with LJMU English. Hilary Mantel has called Respectable 'pithy and provoking'. Lynsey is the author of Estates: An Intimate History (2007) and is a frequent contributor to the Guardian, the New Statesman, and many other publications. She makes regular appearances on tv and radio, including Newsnight, Start the Week and Night Waves. She also wrote the introduction to the Penguin Modern Classics edition of Richard Hoggart's The Uses of Literacy, an important text on LJMU English's Level 4 module 'Literature in Context'. The launch of Respectable will...
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Jennie O’Reilly

Jennie O’Reilly

I am a doctoral student based at LJMU’s Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History. My current project explores the representation of African American folk belief in the American imagination from the late nineteenth century to the present. My research is interdisciplinary and draws on a wide range of sources including newsletter publications, oral testimony, literature and film. Prior to my PhD, I graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University with a BA (Hons) in English and History, after which I went on to gain an MA in Cultural History from the University of Liverpool....
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LJMU English Masters student to speak at ‘Cityscapes’ Conference

LJMU English Masters student to speak at ‘Cityscapes’ Conference

LJMU English's MRes student Charlotte Neely has had her paper accepted by the 'Cityscapes: Media Textualities and Urban Visions' conference to be held at York St John University on 23rd April. The paper is entitled 'Re-mapping Possibilities: The Immigrant Child's Experience of New York's Urban Ghetto', and Charlotte will be speaking about Henry Roth's 1934 novel Call it Sleep and how it can be illuminated by the theory and practice of psychogeography; the study of the influence of geographical locale on the mind and behaviour. This newly emerging discipline places particular emphasis upon playfulness and drifting within the urban environment, and she will draw upon its ideas to reinterpret the movements of Roth's child protagonist David Schearl through New York's Lower East Side during the years leading up to the Great Depression. Charlotte's paper will argue that, despite facing impoverished conditions and ethnic discrimination, David locates spaces of play that transgress boundaries and disrupt mechanisms of power. As the protagonist makes his impromptu journey through the city,...
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English MRes Residential 2016: Gladstone’s Library

English MRes Residential 2016: Gladstone’s Library

Every year, LJMU English's Masters by Research students attend a residential with their supervisors and some of the department's PhD students to talk, read, and reflect on their studies on the programme so far. Here, Edward Dafnis gives his account of our (wonderful) trip in January 2016: An hour’s drive from LJMU is Gladstone’s Library in Hawarden, North Wales. Completed in 1902 to house William Gladstone’s personal collection of over 20, 000 books, periodicals and journals – all read by the man himself and with an estimated 11, 000 containing annotations, the library now houses 250, 000 texts and promised to be a reflective place of study and discussion. Articles by Walter Benjemin, Jorge Luis Borges and Alberto Manguel plus a short story by Alice Munro started the afternoon discussions before a tour of the spectacular library. Nestled amongst the rows of leather bound tomes were armchairs and simple wooden tables where people sat and read and worked in silence. Despite...
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PhD Success: Judge David Lynch

PhD Success: Judge David Lynch

Judge David Lynch, an Honorary Fellow of LJMU, gained his PhD with flying colours in May 2015. His thesis on ‘The Role of the Circuit Courts in the Development of Federal Justice’ makes a significant contribution to literature on the development of early American law and was passed without emendations. When he retired from the Bench David embarked on an MRes in Literature and Cultural History and completed his Masters in 2011. Rather than relaxing into retirement, he then began working towards his Doctorate. His Director of Studies was Dr Colin Harrison, whose own research is on North American cultural history and his supervisory team included Professor Glenda Norquay (English) and Dr Carlo Panara (Reader in Law). With the encouragement of the External Examiner, Professor Penny Darbyshire, Kingston Law School, David (now 75) is now planning to produce a book out of his research....
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This conference changed my life (or my thesis, at least)

This conference changed my life (or my thesis, at least)

I recently got back from a four day geekend that was an international conference on science fiction held in London, as the 72nd WorldCon, an event so big that countries and cities bid for it in coming years (like the Olympics, but instead of athletes you get nerds) – indeed, it was held in a venue so big that it had two – TWO – train stations. Count them… Two. The conference was on diversity in science fiction, from its conception and inception to form and content, including text and hypertext, passive and interactive narratives, and, specifically for me, narratives that operated outside of the dominant paradigm of the straight white male. As I was struggling with a dissertation on the (feminist) posthuman in Iain M Banks novels, Alice Ferrebe threw over a CFP email and I went for it with all the verve and vitriol I had. And they accepted my abstract. And then I panicked. But I had my mentors, the staff,...
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Chloé Holland

Chloé Holland

I am a PhD student at the Research Centre for Literature and Cultural History. Prior to my PhD, I graduated from the University of Salford with a first-class BA (Hons) in English Literature, and from the University of Chester’s Nineteenth-Century Literature and Culture MA, for which I achieved a distinction. My BA and MA dissertations focussed on the popular sensation fiction writer Ellen Wood (1814-1887), author of the bestselling East Lynne (1861). My main research interests are Victorian popular fiction, periodicals, and women’s writing, all ofwhich feature in my PhD thesis, which explores the professional identities with which Ellen Wood successfully negotiated the saturated Victorian literary marketplace. There is a wealth of Wood’s fiction as well as her professional strategies as an editor and writer that have yet to receive sufficient academic attention. I hope to contribute to the emerging research into the connections between women writers, periodicals, and professional identities by establishing Wood as a significant figure in terms of self-promotion,...
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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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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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Hamlet Blog by Sam Caddick

Hamlet Blog by Sam Caddick

Hamlet Blog   When considering the different characters in the works of Shakespeare, one may instantly think of the traditional monarchs, patricians, and the fools that are found in the majority of his plays.  Eric Heinze, Professor of Law at Queen Mary, University of London, however, chooses instead to focus on a less obvious type of character – that of the lawyer. Beginning his lecture, Eric drew our attention to Act 5 Scene 1 of Hamlet where the titular character comes across two skulls and muses on the possible lives of their owners.  The first he considers to have belonged to either a ‘politician’ or a ‘courtier’, upon which he delivers conventional remarks about each of the professions.  When finding the second skull Hamlet breaks into a curious lecture about the role of the lawyer in his time, which Eric suggests may link to the increasing dominance of legal power over the more martial power which is seen to be exercised in Shakespeare’s...
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‘Libraries Gave us Power’

‘Libraries Gave us Power’

Policy Provocations 2012 poses the question – do we still need libraries? When I think about what libraries have meant to me, I find myself (as many do) in emotive territory. My earliest encounter with library membership involved visits to Widnes’s Kingsway Library on Saturday mornings as a child of about 5 or 6. My mum was a nurse working night shifts, so to give her some peace to sleep, my dad would take my older sister and me off to the local market for the weekly shop and then we would stop off at the library to choose our books. My sister, in her early teens, would often get albums of her favourite bands (an embarrassing amount of All About Eve I am sorry to tell) which she would then ‘tape’ on a double cassette deck (retro) noting with care the tracks on the new sleeve and making compilations. I joined the book club, gamely reviewing the classic The Owl...
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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: 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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