Jessica Sage (Newcastle, Seven Stories) ‘Edith Morley: Writing the Female Professor’

In 1908, at what was then Reading University College, Edith Morley was appointed as the first female professor in the UK, 37 years after Harriette Cooke achieved the same distinction in the USA and 5 years before Caroline Spurgeon was appointed to the role at King’s College London.  Far from being feted as a landmark decision, Morley’s appointment was met with resistance and calls for retraction and is only now starting to become more widely known.

This paper examines the 1908 letters between Morley and William Childs the principal of Reading at the time, as well as the letters and paperwork regarding Reading’s discussion of demoting Morley in 1912 in preparation for becoming a university.  In doing so it considers the ideas at stake in naming a woman as professor for the first time and the ways in which these identities are produced as conflicting and contradictory.  It also examines Morley’s construction of her career in her memoir Looking Before and After, which was rejected by Allen & Unwin when she first wrote it and has recently been published by Two Rivers Press.  The talk focuses on selfhood and identity and the ways in which constructions of Morley as female, an academic, a writer and a colleague intersect and it considers the implications this has for our thinking about female professors then and now.

Tuesday 3rd May, 1.10pm – 2.30pm, HumSS 181. All welcome!

Morley - young

Professor James Raven (Essex) ‘Compose Yourself: Pages of Laughter in Eighteenth-Century Britain and France’

Professor Raven is a leading figure in many fields and the author of numerous books, his most recent being Bookscape: Geographies of Printing and Publishing in London before 1800 [the Panizzi Lectures 2010] (Chicago and London, 2014); Publishing Business in Eighteenth-Century England (Boydell, 2014); and Lost Mansions: Essays on the Destruction of the Country House(Palgrave Macmillan 2015).

Other of his publications examine social, economic and communications history, historical mapping, approaches to media and literary history, the spatial organisation of knowledge, historical bibliography, and colonial cultural history.

As part of a major long-term project re-examining the spatial history of Enlightenment global networks, he is completing a book on reading and commercialisation, is currently completing research for an OUP history of chancing, gambling and state lotteries; and is launching a major European network project on the historical geographies of communications and social media.

https://www.essex.ac.uk/history/staff/profile.aspx?id=1809

Monday 18th April, 4-5.30pm in Humss 181. All welcome!

Laughter

Fran Baker (University of Manchester Library) and Florence Impens (John Rylands Research Institute) ‘A dual perspective on the Archive of Carcanet Press’

These related talks on the archive of Carcanet Press provide a dual perspective in two different ways. One speaker is the archivist who curates the collection, and the other a researcher using it in her work. One paper focuses on the earliest days of the Press and the development of its translation series, based largely on evidence found in archival correspondence; the other discusses a recent project to acquire the email of Carcanet Press with the aim of ensuring that recent and contemporary archival correspondence is preserved for researchers of the future.

Florence Impens, ‘Retracing the Development of a Translation Series through the Archive of Carcanet Press’

Shortly after it was founded in 1969 by Michael Schmidt, Carcanet Press began to develop a translation series, at a time when poetry in translation, notably from Eastern European countries, was rapidly gaining momentum in the United Kingdom. The series was the fruit of a collaboration between Schmidt and Daniel Weissbort, co-founder with Ted Hughes of Modern Poetry in Translation in 1965, and a poet and translator himself.

Their collaboration was brief but intensive: by the end of the 1970s, when Weissbort’s input on the series stopped due to increasing work commitments in the United States, Carcanet had published nearly twenty volumes of poetry in translation, many of which were informed by joint editorial decisions.

Based on archival material, the talk will show how this collaboration was instrumental in shaping Carcanet’s translation series, as well as in the early successes of the Press. It will also provide elements of reflection as to how researchers in contemporary literature can approach archival material to invigorate their work.

Biography

Florence Impens is a Research Associate at the John Rylands Research Institute, University of Manchester, where she is working on a history of the publication of poetry in translation in the UK and Ireland after 1962. A specialist of twentieth- and twenty-first-century British and Irish poetry, she received her Ph.D from Trinity College, Dublin in 2013, and has since also held a NEH Keough Fellowship at the University of Notre Dame.

Fran Baker, ‘Emails to an Editor: Preserving the Digital Correspondence of Carcanet Press’

The Archive of Carcanet Press is one of the most significant modern collections held by The University of Manchester Library, and the correspondence in the archive provides a rich and unique source for researchers working in a range of disciplines.

However, since the late 1990s, the quantity of hard copy correspondence in this living archive has been steadily diminishing. Most correspondence is now conducted by email, often including textually significant manuscripts and proofs exchanged as attachments. This digital archive was residing on hard drives and local networks at the Carcanet office, increasingly at risk of obsolescence.

This talk will provide a case study of the Carcanet Press Email Preservation Project, which tackled the acquisition and preservation of 215,000 emails and 65,000 attachments. As well as raising both curatorial challenges and opportunities, email also poses interesting questions about the future of literary research: what will editions of literary correspondence look like? How has email changed the way in which writers communicate? Is the value of a digital literary archive diminished by the fact that it is so easy to duplicate? Can meaningful research be carried out using quantitative data (like visualisations) rather than having access to the full content of correspondence?

Biography

Fran Baker is an archivist at The University of Manchester Library, with responsibility for literary, social/political history, and born-digital archives. She has an MA in Archive Administration and an MPhil in English Literature which focused on textual scholarship. She was a co-founder of the Group for Literary Archives and Manuscripts.

Monday 7th March (week 9) 1-2.15pm, HBS G03

All welcome!

Carcanet%20cat%20logo

Richard Bates (University of Nottingham), ‘How does one become a parenting guru? Exploring the childhood and archives of a French child-rearing authority, Françoise Dolto’.

Since the 1970s, millions of French children have been reared following the ideas and advice of Françoise Dolto (1908-1988), a psychoanalyst who rose to prominence on French state radio in 1976. Dolto presented herself as a radical advocate of children’s autonomy and liberal education, in opposition to a supposedly-dominant authoritarian approach.

This paper looks at how Dolto’s later career and attitudes were shaped by her childhood and adolescence in the interwar French bourgeoisie, and her encounters with the ‘Victorian’ values of the social and medical elite of that period. It will compare her experiences to those of others including her close French contemporary Simone de Beauvoir, and her American counterpart, Benjamin Spock. It will draw on correspondence, archival evidence and sociological studies to nuance, and sometimes undermine, the narratives put forward Dolto’s carefully-framed memoirs. This raises broader questions about the role of archival fragments in the creation and challenging of personal and collective myths.

Monday 22nd February (week 7) URS 2s26, 1.10 pm

All welcome!

Dolto%20enfances

Judith Watts (Reading, English) ‘Making Love: reading for pleasure and publishing for profit’

The household name of Mills & Boon invites a wry smile. It can also provoke a heartfelt defence from romance scholars and genre addicts, or equally passionate criticism from feminists and literary critics. Research into the company’s archive shows how the both the brand and romance genre developed, and their impact on publishing, authors and readers.

“No more doubts! No more disappointments!”

The romance made by Mills & Boon was crafted as mainstream entertainment and the company was one of the first in the industry to develop a relationship with the reader.  The correspondence offers a fascinating insight into how the firm constantly balanced the weight of plots and the measured out the desires of characters and authors to produce a profitable reading experience. Despite their conservative reputation, the company understood the value of the emerging categories that catered to changing tastes, and were innovative in adapting to the changing supply chain.  In this seminar Judith Watts explores some of the heavy work that went into maintaining light fiction and ‘Romances That Fill The Till’.

Monday 8th February, 6-7pm, Special collections, Museum of English Rural Life (MERL), Redlands Road.

All welcome!

happy with either

Dr Clare Broome Saunders (Oxford) ‘Through many dreary volumes of archives has she waded’: Louisa Stuart Costello and the 19th Century Literary Market

Louisa Stuart Costello (1799-1870) was a popular and critically acclaimed poet, novelist, travel writer, historian, biographer, artist, and medieval scholar. Her wide-ranging choice of genre demonstrates her acute understanding of contemporary reading trends and publishing markets: Costello offered the first original nineteenth-century version of the ‘Lady of Shalott’, preceded FitzGerald with her adaptations of Omar Khayyam’s verses, and was one of the first of the ‘Lady Travellers’ who demonstrated their connoisseurship and scholarship in the rapidly growing travel book market in the 1840s.

In this seminar, Clare Broome Saunders will share her experience of archival research in piecing together Costello’s life and work, and explore how Costello manipulated contemporary literary markets to make the most out of every piece of archival research she herself undertook, so that she could disseminate her academic medieval scholarship in commercially and critically successful outputs.

http://www.english.ox.ac.uk/about-faculty/faculty-members/research-centre-college-staff/broome-saunders-clare

Monday 25th January (week 3) 1.10-2.15 URS 2s26

All welcome!

Magnus Qvistgaard (European University Institute) ‘The Dissemination of Henrik Ibsen’s Dramas 1850-1900: Agents, Markets and Reception’

During the last decades of the nineteenth century, the plays of the Norwegian dramatist Henrik Ibsen were staged with tremendous success across the western world. Yet, although the success of his plays was noteworthy in itself, what makes it truly remarkable is the fact that it was initiated from Norway, a country that at the time seemed located at the very edge of European cultural space. In my talk, I explore how Ibsen’s pan-European success was possible. Utilising the perspective of ‘transfer history’, I focus on the middlemen involved in the transferral of the dramas; the cultural markets through which they were disseminated; and the way in which they were integrated into local cultural fields. As a movement from the European cultural periphery towards its various centres the history of Ibsen’s success may be used as a prism for the investigation of cultural circulation, hegemonic structures and agency. Furthermore, the transnational perspective on Ibsen’s success offers a chance to challenge the national categories which often dominate the study of literature.

Magnus Ibsen Freie Bühne

Monday 11th May 1pm-2.30pm

Henley Business School, G03

All welcome!