Not had a chance to read it yet, but I met Cesare while at the Folger and his work sounds very interesting. Also, as per previous posts, it’s still pretty hard to find good recent history PhD’s on-line, though that is slowly changing.
As per previous posts, I’ve just finished reading Malcolm Chase’s new history of Chartism. It’s a great piece of work, which achieves the difficult task of offering a clear narrative without sacrificing cogent analysis of the movement. The interspersing of Chartist biographies into the text helped to humanise a story, which, inevitably as a treatment of a mass political organisation might have become a bewildering blizzard of names. Chase also has a great eye for detail: the text is larded with evocative quotations and telling anecdotes, (this one in particular obviously grabbed my attention):
‘Reflecting on Oliver Cromwell and the parliamentarian cause, Hanson jolted awake. He rushed to find Elizabeth: ‘I say, lass, thah mun find me a white handkerchief for my neck ready for next Sunday; I am going to praech.’ To this she replied, ‘What ar’ta going to turn Methody na?’ ‘Noa,’ said Abram, ‘but I am going to praech for all that. I’ve just fun aght that t’Charter is to be gotten by praeching and praying.’ (p. 29)
BUT, Chase’s book doesn’t really have a conclusion, only a series of further biographies and a final ‘comment.’ And it’s not just Chase. I’ve been noticing that a large number of recent books that I have been reading are, well, inconclusive (see my review of Mike Braddick’s God’s Fury below.)
Of course, both Braddick and Chase make good cases for leaving their books open-ended. As Braddick suggests, aiming for over-arching conclusions about a period as historiographically contested as the 1640s is a somewhat fatuous task. Equally, as Chase points out, like many works on the success or failure of the English reformation, works on Chartism tend to offer either pessimistic or optimistic conclusions on the movement largely depending on where the authors draw the “finishing-line” chronologically. This makes such summaries inevitably rather artificial.
Reflecting on these historiographical uncertainties and/or issues of focus is valid and worthwhile. On the other hand, there a books like Diane Purkiss’s People’s History, which just, well, stops, with no thorough reflection on what the reader is supposed to have gained from the proceeding 570 pages. I’ve seen this trend in recent scholarly monographs too, so it appears to be a disease that doesn’t only afflict works written for a popular audience.
Where is all this inconclusiveness coming from?
It looks like the judges have Vallance and Dillon even on points at this stage…
Monday, 7 July 2008
Devon and Exeter Institute, Exeter
Organised by the University of Exeter, Dept. of English
There is no fee for this conference.
*Prof. Nick Groom (Exeter): “Jug Jug”
*Dr. Christine Kenyon Jones (King’s College London): “Animals and Romanticism”
*Prof. Donna Landry (Kent): “English Brutes, Eastern Enlightenment”
*Prof. David Punter (Bristol): “Imagining Animals: Romanticism from Pliny to Deleuze”
*Dr. Sharon Ruston (Keele): “‘How grossly do they insult us who thus advise us only to render ourselves gentle, domestic brutes!’: Women and Domesticated Animals in Mary Wollstonecraft’s Vindication”
*Prof. Jane Spencer (Exeter): “Animal Experience in Narrative”
This conference has no registration fee, but please complete a booking form to reserve your place. Coffee, lunch, and tea will be provided. More details will be available online.
The Devon and Exeter Institute is located in the heart of Exeter’s city centre. You may find it on Google maps:
If you have any questions, please email the conference organisers at: firstname.lastname@example.org
‘The Representation of the Islamic World on the British and American Stage’
Prof. David Worrall, Nottingham Trent University.
Wednesday 4 June 2008, 3.30-5.
Venue: John Rylands Library, 150 Deansgate, Manchester
Time: 3.30 start (tea from 3 in the library cafe), 5pm finish, followed by drinks and dinner, ending in time for a return to most parts of England from London to Carlisle. All welcome.
The interdisciplinary NW Long 18th Century Seminar season finishes in style on 4 June. David Worrall is a leading scholar of the romantic period and a pioneer of genuinely interdisciplinary work on theatre and society. His Radical Culture (1992) is well-known, and the years of archival work that followed have resulted in four well-reviewed recent books: Theatric revolution : drama, censorship and Romantic period subcultures, 1773-1832 (2006); Harlequin Empire: race, ethnicity and the drama of the popular Enlightenment (2007); The Politics of Romantic Theatricality 1787-1832 (2007); and an edited book of essays, Blake, Nation and Empire (2006). His visit to Manchester is thus timely and of wide interest, especially as his paper deals with a topic with contemporary resonance, related to the subjects explored in Linda Colley’s recent Captives.
Synopsis. This paper will examine theatrical representations of the north African Islamic states on the British and North American stage, c, 1794-1830. White Americans in Barbary captivity provided a contradictory moment in American history; not only an experience of the limits of naval power but also an exposure of contradictory ideologies of the New Republic’s natural rights and black enslavement. Susanna Haswell Rowson’s Philadelphia Slaves in Algiers (1794), like David Everett’s Slaves in Barbary (Boston, 1817), contained fantasies of ‘regime change;’ in Newport, Rhode Island, benefit nights were performed to help ransom American slaves; in New York, Barbary pirates were exhibited in the theatre boxes; Lord Exmouth’s bombardment of Algiers in 1816 stimulated a further flurry of British dramas about Barbary.
Suggestions of papers for next year’s season are welcome.
is what I am currently reading. It is very good. Mile Taylor at THES agrees.
I particularly like the structuring of it, with a broad narrative interspersed with biographies of lesser-known Chartist figures.
Good that MUP have made an affordable paperback edition available too.
Unfortunately, not a talk which reveals that Shakey actually had a fondness for Hofmeister lager, calling other men “John” and girls wearing white stillettos….
“Professor Jonathan Bate will deliver his lecture ‘Was Shakespeare an Essex Man?’ (British Academy Shakespeare Lecture 2008), on Tuesday 3rd June 2008 at 5.30 p.m. in Lecture Theatre 1, Sherrington Building. All welcome. The lecture will be followed by a drinks reception.
Jonathan Bate, one of the world’s leading Shakespearian scholars and critics, is Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick, and was King Alfred Professor of English Literature at Liverpool University from 1991-2003.
Abstract: This lecture will offer a reinterpretation of one of the most important but misunderstood episodes in Shakespeare’s career: the specially commissioned performance of Richard II at the Globe on the eve of the Earl of Essex’s ‘rebellion’ in February 1601. It will refute the recent suggestion that the play performed was not by Shakespeare, will reveal who commissioned the performance and why, will make a new proposal about the relationship between Shakespeare’s play and Sir John Hayward’s controversial History of Henry IV, will set the performance in the larger context of Shakespeare’s representations of the codes of honour, chivalry and politic history that were associated with Essex and his circle, and will suggest that the famous encounter between Queen Elizabeth and William Lambarde, in which she purportedly compared herself to Richard II, was in all probability embroidered long after the event.”
Some will remember the lengthy spat between Frank Kermode and Blair Worden about this in the LRB (which starts here.) Of course, as any fule kno, the play in question was actually written by one of Elizabeth I’s many illegitimate children.
A couple of interesting ones coming over the wires:
This one here at Leicester on Renaissance (broadly defined to include late 17thC) humour. Scheduled for 18th July 2008.
Another to be held on 2nd July at Roehampton on the Gordon Riots of 1780. Details below:
To: From the British Society of Eighteenth-Century Studies The Gordon Riots and British Culture A One-Day Conference Roehampton University, London Wednesday 2nd July 2008 There is no charge for this conference Conference organisers: Ian Haywood (English Literature): email@example.com John Seed (History): firstname.lastname@example.org Programme 1). 10.00 :11.00 Ronald Paulson (Johns Hopkins University) 'The British Art of the Riot' 11.00-11.30: Break (self-service) 2). 11. 30 :1.00: Panel 1: Historical reconsiderations Nicholas Rogers (York University, Toronto) "The Gordon Riots and the Politics of War." Matthew White, (University of Hertfordshire) " 'For the safety of the City'. The geography and social politics of public execution: 1780 and the Gordon rioters." Tim Hitchcock, (University of Hertfordshire) "Re-Negotiating the Bloody Code: Mutiny, Newgate and the Old Bailey in the 1780s" Lunch: 1.00-2.00 (self-service) 3). 2.00 :3.00: Panel 2: Eye-Witnesses Brycchan Carey (Kingston University) " 'The worse than Negro barbarity of the populace': Ignatius Sancho witnesses the Gordon Riots" Keri Davis (Nottingham Trent University) "Moravian Eye Witnesses of the riots" 4). 3.15-4.15: Panel 3: Narrative and Memory John Seed (Roehampton University London) "Fanatical and tumultuous associations': Dissenters, Methodists and anti-popery in the Gordon Riots|." Miriam L. Wallace (New College of Florida) "Narrating the Mob in Law and Fiction: Political Agency and Composite Subjectivity" 4.15 :4.45: Break (self-service) 5). 4.45-6.15 : Panel 4: Dickens and the Victorian imagination Sally Ledger (Birkbeck College, University of London) The Gordon Riots and the Rejection of Paternalism in Barnaby Rudge Jon Bowen (University of York) "Barnaby Rudge and the Gordon Riots" Michael Wheeler "Dickens, Catholicism, and the 'Popular Credibility'" 6.15 Conference ends After the Conference: There are three bars on the campus. In the aftermath of the conference everyone is invited for a drink in the bar at Froebel College - about 4 minutes walk south from Howard Block.. Getting to Roehampton University: * It is easy to get to Roehampton from Central London (Waterloo, Vauxhall, Clapham Junction), and also from Hammersmith Tube. Details: http://www.roehampton.ac.uk/about/location/directions/index.asp * By Train: Barnes Station is about 15 minutes walk from the Roehampton Lane Campus or a short bus ride on bus No. 72 or 265. Trains from Barnes go to Clapham Junction and Waterloo in central London and Staines and Windsor to the south west. * By Tube: From Hammersmith Tube Station: District/Piccadilly/Hammersmith & City Lines: take the 72 bus from the first floor of the shopping centre. (The tube station and shopping centre are below the bus station.) Alight at Queen Mary's Hospital, Roehampton Lane. * From Putney Bridge Tube Station: District Line: take the 265 bus outside the station. Alight at the University, Roehampton Lane, opposite Queen Mary's Hospital. Finding the Conference Venue: * Howard Block. Roehampton Lane Campus. * http://www.roehampton.ac.uk/about/location/campuses/digbysouthlands.asp * (Howard Block is Number 30 on the map) Food and Drinks on the Day: * Wired Café (also known as Nando's) is located in the Library and will be open all day. * There are other cafes and shops open in Howard Block in the immediate vicinity of the conference room.
I can confirm that I do own several records by the Fall. The shirt, however, was made by Mr. Ted Baker, which isn’t really an improvement on Ben Sherman. Apparently, I also look a bit like this bloke from Spooks.
I await the outcome of this historical showdown with baited breath, but where, oh where, is Tim Harris in all this?