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CALL FOR PAPERS—EVIDENCE NAVSA 2013, Pasadena, CA, Oct 23-27
The North American Victorian Studies Association Conference for 2013,
in Pasadena, California, October 23rd-27th, invites papers on the theme of evidence. Evidence is central to all our work: we use texts, images, objects, the built environment to support our arguments. We also interpret, select, arrange, and juxtapose such evidentiary material. The Victorians strenuously looked for evidence to support their beliefs, social policies, and colonial projects. Our program will include optional workshops at the Getty Research Institute and material culture sessions at the Huntington. Conference attendees will be able to enter the Huntington and its wonderful gardens free of charge.
Proposals for individual papers or panels should be submitted electronically by March 1, 2013. Proposals for individual papers should be no more than 500 words; panel proposals should include 500-word abstracts for each paper and a 250-word panel description. Applicants should submit a one-page cv. All documents should be submitted in .pdf format through the online form linked to the conference website: <http://dornsife.usc.edu/conferences/navsa/>
Conference threads might include:
•What is evidence? How do different disciplines identify and use evidence? How does the use of evidence draw boundaries and bridges between disciplines? How does interdisciplinary work deal with evidence?
•How has the use of evidence changed (new evidence and new ways to use old evidence)?
•Evidence and the humanities: interpretation, analysis, scientific and historical method, supporting arguments
•Digitization and the changing nature of the archive, museum and library
•Teaching and evidence: sources, assessment, pedagogies
•Lost evidence: wars and other research inconveniences
•Imagined evidence and historical fictions
•Science: method, demonstration, essentialism/Social Darwinism
•Religion: belief, faith and intuition
•Personal evidence: autobiographies, letters and diaries
•Visual evidence: photography, painting, theater, film and other displays
•The building, the city and the village: architecture, urban planning and historic preservation
•Archaeology, fossils, bone, tracks, spoor
•The body as evidence
•Material culture: clothes, pottery, and other everyday objects
•Crime and Justice: police, detectives, witnesses and the press
•Politics: parliamentary inquiries, select committees
•Ghosts and revenants: evidence of the supernatural and of the afterlife
•The press: scandal and public opinion
•Evidence and the colonial project
The summer 2012 issue (vol. 46 no. 1) of Blake/An Illustrated Quarterly features:
- “William Blake and His Circle: Publications and Discoveries in 2011,” by G. E. Bentley, Jr.
- “Translating Blake’s Jerusalem into Polish,” by Eliza Borkowska
- Sarah Haggerty, Blake’s Gifts: Poetry and the Politics of Exchange, reviewed by Grant F. Scott
- Robert N. Essick, ed., Blake: Songs of Innocence and of Experience, reviewed by Alexander S. Gourlay
- Beginning with this issue Blake is being published online only. But a hard-copy version of the issue–in color, like the online version–can be purchased from the print-on-demand vendor MagCloud. We are making it available to subscribers only at the moment, and at cost (the summer issue is $12.00 for 60 pages at 20c each).
- From the homepage, a news feature and a variety of bonus content are available to nonsubscribers as well as subscribers .
- Upcoming issues will include articles on Blake’s Hebrew calligraphy (Abraham Samuel Shiff) and on sympathy and pity in The Book of Urizen (Sarah Eron).
- The editors encourage nonsubscribers to take a look at the homepage and table of contents of the current issue. Subscribers have access to the fully searchable, illustrated content in both HTML and PDF formats.
Forty years of back issues (1968-2008) are being integrated into the William Blake Archive. Access to the most recent five years of back issues will be restricted to subscribers only.
Morris Eaves and Morton D. Paley, Editors
Sarah Jones, Managing Editor
Alexander S. Gourlay, Book Review Editor
G.E. Bentley, Jr., Bibliographer
The Troubled Future of the Nineteenth-Century Book
Andrew M. Stauffer
What is the future of the general collections in academic research libraries in the wake of wide-scale digitization? The question has particular urgency for scholars who work on materials from the long nineteenth century. In most cases, pre-1800 books have been moved to special collections, and post-1923 materials remain in copyright and thus on the shelves for circulation. But college and university libraries are now increasingly reconfiguring access to public-domain texts via repositories such as Google Books and the HathiTrust Digital Library. As a result, library policy makers are anticipating the withdrawal of large portions of nineteenth-century print collections in favor of digital surrogates. This massive transition is occurring with little input from the students and faculty, for whom the library serves as their primary research lab. Scholars with an interest in the printed record of the nineteenth-century need to get involved now, before the sudden reconfiguration of the academic research library system makes that record inaccessible.
In January 2011, the OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) released a report written by Constance Malpas, entitled, “Cloud-sourcing Research Collections: Managing Print in the Mass-digitized Library Environment.” This report focuses primarily on the HathiTrust Digital Library as a potential source for academic research library collections. Comprised primarily of the library-contributed content from the Google Books project , the HathiTrust is a consolidated digital repository that includes approximately 2.2 million public domain volumes. As Malpas states, “One of the hypotheses that this study set out to test is that the HathiTrust Digital Library represents a potentially rich source of digital surrogates that might, over time, effectively replace a substantial proportion of low-use print collections in academic libraries” (25). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the report finds that yes, the replacement of “low-use print collections” with HathiTrust surrogates makes a lot of sense. Malpas concludes that “It is in the interest of all academic libraries that mass-digitized collections…improve to the degree that low-use print inventory can be retired in favor of increased reliance on digital surrogates” (64). Such recommendations from leading policy makers in the academic library community suggest the seriousness of the challenge to public-domain print collections in the coming decade.
Other library policy organizations have produced similar or related visions of the academic research library’s digital future. In September 2009, an ITHAKA Strategy and Research report appeared, written by Roger Schonfeld and Ross Housewright, with the ominous title, “What to Withdraw,” and subtitled “Print Collections Management in the Wake of Digitization.” Recently merged with JSTOR to provide access to scholarly journals online, ITHAKA made the case that university libraries should start de-accessioning collections of print journals and rely solely on digital versions: “The large-scale digitization of print journal collections has led to most access needs being met via digital surrogates. Numerous libraries would therefore like to reassign the space occupied by print collections towards higher-value uses” (2). Although the recommendations are ostensibly confined to journals, the language of the report encourages a slide towards print collections generally., in line such as, “we do not assume that there is any intrinsic value to the maintenance of collections of print artifacts but rather take a critical perspective to analyze why the community might want to keep any print at all” (3). In a 2001 report, “The Evidence in Hand,” Stephen G. Nichols and Abby Smith of the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) take a more generous view of faculty involvement in library decision-making, but warn, “Scholars may not see preservation of research collections as their responsibility, but until they do, there is a risk that many valuable research sources will not be preserved” (82). This same report concludes that, “It is not too early to plan for the eventual disposition of the scores, or even hundreds, of duplicate copies of individual items that scholars, voting with mouse clicks, prefer to use online”(28). Of course, what counts as a “duplicate copy” or indeed an “artifact” should be the subject of much debate. It seems inevitable that, from the scholars’ perspective, inadequate principles of redundant or duplicate copies will be employed in culling the collections.
Of course librarians have always “weeded” the stacks; professional de-accessioning is part of the process of maintaining a healthy library system. But we are now facing a much larger and more sudden transformation. The movement of circulating collections to off-site storage is now standard practice at many academic research libraries; and regional repositories for little-used print collections (such as ReCAP serving Columbia, Princeton, and the NYPL) are a growing phenomenon. The idea of a network of a small number of national repositories has been widely suggested as the next stage in this process, meaning wide sharing and many fewer printed books held. Cue the widespread de-accessioning of public domain books. One gets the impression that academic research libraries are weaning users from material formats, encouraging trends already in place and effectively ensuring the reduced call for and access to the physical objects they hold. As students and researchers visit the stacks less frequently and demand ever-greater digital access to materials, libraries are under pressure to justify money spent on their print holdings.
Books, and especially nineteenth-century books printed on poor paper, are expensive to shelve, preserve, and circulate. If few people are using them, and no one is making a convincing case for their retention, budgetary pressures (including the mushrooming expenses associated with providing digital access to materials) will inevitably force the physical books off the shelves.
As the director of NINES (Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-century Electronic Scholarship) at the University of Virginia, I work daily with projects involved in digitizing the historical record of the great age of industrial printing. Our collective goal is to open up these materials to various kinds of search, discovery, visualization, commentary, contextualization, and collaborative research. At the same time, NINES has always stressed that such digital archives are not replacements for the material texts they represent; rather, they are simulations or models, close relatives of the traditional scholarly edition. The books on the shelves carry plenty of information lost in the process of digitization, no matter how lovingly a particular copy is rendered for the screen. And in the case of Google Books and HathiTrust, the emphasis has been squarely placed on quantity over quality. If our academic research libraries replace large swaths of their original nineteenth-century artifacts with these hastily-executed scans, they will be trading away irreplaceable legacies and gutting certain disciplines that rely on the evidence of the past. They will also be putting the real world of the historical book ever further out of reach of the students, even as they ostensibly are providing access to it via surrogates. In such a future, nineteenth-century books will be simultaneously instantly accessible and out of reach, splayed and untouched, so that, as things of paper and ink, they will be even more difficult to remember or rediscover than things truly forgotten.
To be effective, the case for the retention of nineteenth-century printed books in academic research libraries cannot take the form of general laments or calls to save everything. Rather, academic library policy makers should work closely with scholars who specialize in the history of the nineteenth-century book, recognizing that this particular set of materials (published roughly from 1800-1923) is under threat, given the rise of digitized public domain texts. Such collaborative policy groups could address the following topics: 1) the place of the historical library collections in the university’s mission; 2) guidelines for retaining or disposing of books, including plans for discovering what is really on the shelves; and 3) the public case for increased funding for the libraries. Such groups will have to form and move quickly: library policies are changing now, and in a decade or two, it will likely all be over, as the wide-scale reliance on digitized surrogates pushes the public domain physical collections to the margins or out of the libraries completely.
At this moment, humanities scholars whose work touches the long nineteenth-century have a vested interest in lobbying for the retention of the printed record in the general collections of academic research libraries. Such collections are their labs, places for discovery and the foundation of entire disciplines. Scholars of the book know that there are vitally significant orders of variation and signification in the stacks: editions, printings, issues, states, bindings, illustrations, paper type, size, marginalia, advertisements, and other customizations in apparently identical copies. This archive of the history of the making and consumption of books cannot be replaced by single-copy scans; and new scholars of the historical record cannot be trained on simulations. It may be that, as a constituency, the scholars simply do not have the political power to keep these materials in place, as priorities shift and the culture of digital information transforms the idea of the university. Yet such projected de-accessioning raises larger definitional questions that should engage us all: what are academic research libraries for? To what extent is the university invested with the stewardship of the past? How will the humanities change in a digital age, for better and worse? What was a book? Searching conversations should be had, priorities agreed upon, and avenues for collaborative fundraising explored, before the trucks come to take away the nineteenth-century printed record for good.
BAVS 2011 Conference schedule and registration (9/1-3/2011)
The program and schedule for the BAVS 2011 Conference, hosted by the University of Birmingham, are now available for viewing and downloading from our Google Docs site.
We are very excited about this wide an interdisciplinary programme, in which we are hosting around 120 papers over three days at the University of Birmingham Business School, on our Edgbaston campus. We have also schedule special sessions at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts:http://www.barber.org.uk/ and the Cadbury Research Library, home of our Special Collections: http://www.special-coll.bham.ac.uk/index.shtml
Keynote speakers are:
- Professor Tracy Davis (Northwestern), “Amelia Chesson Enters the Fourth Estate: ‘She must, therefore, be considered a pioneer in lady journalism’” http://www.communications.northwestern.edu/faculty/?PID=TracyDavis
- Professor Herbert Tucker, (Virginia), on “Compost Happens: A Synthetic Analysis”http://www.engl.virginia.edu/faculty/tucker_herbert.shtml
- Dr Colin Cruise (Aberystwyth), on”’Arranging Meanings: Pre-Raphaelite Compositions and Narratives”http://www.aber.ac.uk/en/art/staff/coc/
- Professor Shearer West, and panel, “The Value of Victorian Studies”http://www.ox.ac.uk/media/news_stories/2011/110902.html
You can register for the Conference via our online shop at:http://bit.ly/oxnKHv
Midwest Victorian Studies Association Annual Conference
Bloomington, Indiana, April 20-22, 2012
In commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Dickens’s birth, we invited papers on his writings and influence, but the conference will also consider issues of Victorian reflexivity and self-representation. Among topics to be considered might be: Victorian ideas of progress and degeneration; social commentators, ethnologists and journalists; parliamentary reports and reform movements; mirrors, disguises, and masquerades; visions of heaven and hell; utopias/dystopias; photography and portraiture; autobiographies, biographies and histories; museums and exhibitions; and Victorian psychology and theories of identity. The conference will include a panel on teaching the Victorians, and proposals for topics and speakers are also invited.
Our keynote speaker will be John R. Reed, whose many academic publications include Dickens and Hyperreality (2011), Victorian Conventions (1975), The Natural History of H. G. Wells (1982), Decadent Style (1985), Victorian Will (1989), and Dickens and Thackeray: Punishment and Forgiveness (1995).
Held on the beautiful campus of Indiana University, the conference will include unique evening entertainment honoring Dickens, including a special film screening of the 1917 A Tale of Two Cities with live piano accompaniment, and a “Charles Dickens Variety Show” including music and magic lanterns. Accommodations will be on campus in the Indiana Memorial Union.
Please submit an abstract! Papers or full panels are welcome, and should include 500-word abstracts and 1-page (only) vitas by November 1, 2011to firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information, see our website http://www.midwestvictorian.org/
Studying the Nineteenth Century at King’s College in the heart of London
The MA in Nineteenth-Century Studies at King’s College London is a new interdisciplinary degree that focuses on the history, literature, visual culture, built environment and legacy of the nineteenth-century world. Taught by specialists from History, English and Geography, the programme offers an exceptionally wide range of modules. Students take a core module called Doing Nineteenth-Century Studies, which introduces a range of topics and concepts based on themes such as “nation, state and empire”, “the country and the city”, and “representing the nineteenth century”. They also complete a 15,000 word research dissertation and can choose from more than 15 optional modules. Students can also work as an intern with key cultural and heritage organisations in London including English Heritage, the National Maritime Museum, the Museum of London Archaeology Service, the Post Office Museum and the Royal College of Surgeons Hunterian Museum. These internship projects are counted as part of the degree.
One bursary of £6000 is available for applicants intending to enter the degree in 2011.
To apply please visit our website at
For any questions please contact Dr Niall O’Flaherty by email at niall.o’email@example.com
Here are the articles (with abstracts) in the most recent issue of European Romantic Review (February 2010). Editor Regina Hewitt also announces “they will publish six issues instead of five, the first and fourth numbers of each volume will feature expanded book review sections, and the fifth and sixth numbers will contain articles only.”
Joanna Baillie’s Rayner and Romantic Spectacle. By: Murray, Julie. European Romantic Review, Feb 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p65-76, 12p;
Abstract: This essay considers Joanna Baillie’s 1804 Rayner, a play about a public execution that never actually occurs, in the context of the dynamics of punishment in the romantic period. Analyzing how the play depicts the scaffold but renders it inaccessible by refusing to represent the death it portends, I argue that Baillie develops a kind of “romantic spectacle” that moves from the visual to the imaginary. Weaning spectators from their reliance on external forms, it effects their moral regulation by disciplining the imagination to produce such terrifying images on its own.
“A Labor of Death and a Labor against Death”: Scott’s Cenotaphic Paratexts. By: Tredennick, Bianca. European Romantic Review, Feb 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p49-64, 16p;
Abstract: Shortly before his death, Walter Scott began work on a new edition of his collected works that came to be known as the Magnum Opus edition (1830). For this edition, Scott added paratexts in the form of notes, new introductions, a new general preface and so on. The Magnum Opus apparatus thus adds yet another layer to the already ornate framing apparatus and paratextual glosses Scott had included with the original publication of the Waverley Novels. This essay argues that these paratexts must be seen as essential components of his historiography. Through the paratexts, Scott offers a complex reading of his own historiographic work, one that denies any simple claims to recapturing or revivifying the past in favor of an honest reckoning with the way in which all historical projects become cenotaphic replacements for that which they seek to memorialize.
William Blake’s Visual Sublime: The “Eternal Labours”. By: Ibata, Helene. European Romantic Review, Feb2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p29-48, 20p; Abstract: This essay examines Blake’s visual aesthetics in the light of recent theories of the sublime. The latter, by seeing the sublime as a dynamic process located within creative activity itself, rather than as an experience that transcends the human, shed new light on Blake’s practice and theory. In particular, they make it possible to view the high degree of medium reflexivity in the illuminated books, as well as the artist’s original conception of linearism, as apt illustrations of such a sublime process. This essay shows how these well-known features of Blake’s art reveal his heightened awareness of the incommensurability between material representation and the forms of his imagination, and of the necessity to sustain artistic production nevertheless. Such an experience of the terrifying and energetic struggle towards an ever-elusive formal perfection, we argue, is a forceful expression of the sublime dynamics of visual creation.
Hybrid Gardens: Travel and the Nationalization of Taste in Ann Radcliffe’s Continental Landscapes. By: Gephardt, Katarina. European Romantic Review, Feb 2010, Vol. 21 Issue 1, p3-28, 26p;
Abstract: This essay interprets Ann Radcliffe’s revision of her continental settings as a response to the experience of European travel during the Revolutionary Wars of the 1790s. In Radcliffe’s earlier novels, particularly The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), imaginary South European settings serve as a stage for fictional resolutions of British class conflicts. Following Radcliffe’s only journey to the Continent, described in A Journey Made in the Summer of 1794 (1795), the setting of The Italian (1797) becomes more geographically specific, and the novel, while stereotyping Italy as its title suggests, includes cross-cultural representation involving British travelers and Italians. In the conclusion of the novel, Radcliffe superimposes an English garden onto an Italian landscape. I argue that Radcliffe’s evolving treatment of landscapes in travel writing and fiction reflects the tension between nationalist and cosmopolitan attitudes toward the Continent that translated into competing standards of taste. These standards, which I illustrate with examples from landscape painting, travel writing, and the discourse of landscape aesthetics, invested landscapes with national values and inspired Radcliffe and other writers to differentiate between the British Isles and the Continent.
CALL FOR PAPERS
ROBERT BROWNING AMONG THE VICTORIANS – AND AFTER
Browning Bicentenary issue of Victorian Poetry
Robert Browning is a quintessentially Victorian poet, deeply rooted in the
period’s culture, and conscious of its politics and intellectual and religious
debates. At the same time, he is a significant – though not always duly
acknowledged – influence on later authors. He has also lent himself well to
twentieth-century critical theory, having been claimed by approaches as wide-
ranging as Deconstruction, New Historicism and feminism. How do we assess
him 200 years after his birth, in an age when a variety of critical theories
coexists with a strong interest in broader issues of Victorian culture?
For this special issue of Victorian Poetry, the editors invite articles that offer
fresh considerations of Browning’s work within its Victorian context – and
Subjects may include, but are not limited to:
Browning and contemporary poetics
Browning among the modernists
Postmodern theory reframing Browning’s poetics
Historicisms, old, new, and revisionist
Browning in the empire
Browning in Europe
Poetic language and culture
Rereading Browning’s religious casuistry
Browning’s (sexual) politics
Reassessing the dramatic monologue
Browning on the stage
Deadline for finished essays: 1 November 2011.
Please address proposals and inquiries to one of the editors:
Mary Ellis Gibson
Professor of English
University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Greensboro NC 27402-6170
Department of English
University of the West of England
St. Matthias Campus, Fishponds
Bristol BS16 2JP
Today in London, a collection of letters from British poet Lord George Byron sold at auction for $459,110.67, exceeding the highest pre-sale estimates by more than $160,000 and selling for more than any other letters or manuscript by a British Romantic poet. Although the letters were written to a clergyman, they were — in keeping with Lord Byron’s reputation — somewhat scandalous.
In the letters — more than 71 handwritten pages — Byron mocks fellow Romantic poet Wordsworth, a rival, calling him “Turdsworth” and, according to the Guardian, pens “details of a squalid affair with a serving girl, fruity remarks about foreigners and literary vitriol.”
Sotheby’s specialist Gabriel Heaton told the Guardian, “Byron clearly enjoyed writing slightly outrageous things to a clergyman, but you do also get a very strong sense of the depth of friendship they had. There’s a real intimacy.”
Born poor and with a club foot in 1788, Byron grew up to be legendary lover of both women and men, to inherit a Lordship and then overspend his wealth. And, also, to write “Don Juan” and “She Walks in Beauty.” The Poetry Foundation gushes:
He created an immensely popular Romantic hero—defiant, melancholy, haunted by secret guilt—for which, to many, he seemed the model. He is also a Romantic paradox: a leader of the era’s poetic revolution, he named Alexander Pope as his master; a worshiper of the ideal, he never lost touch with reality; a deist and freethinker, he retained from his youth a Calvinist sense of original sin; a peer of the realm, he championed liberty in his works and deeds, giving money, time, energy, and finally his life to the Greek war of independence…. In his dynamism, sexuality, self-revelation, and demands for freedom for oppressed people everywhere, Byron captivated the Western mind and heart as few writers have, stamping upon nineteenth-century letters, arts, politics, even clothing styles, his image and name as the embodiment of Romanticism.
Lord Byron remains one of the most dynamically faceted and colorful figures in English letters, one who has been studied up and down. About 15% of the letters have never been published, and remain unstudied. No doubt scholars would love to get their hands on this set of letters, which has been owned by a single family since 1855 — but so far, the buyer’s name remains under wraps.
– Carolyn Kellogg
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