The Work in Progress seminar series provides an opportunity for the Institute's MPhil/PhD and MA/MRes students, as well as staff and fellows, to talk informally about their research and receive feedback from peers. Each seminar will feature three short talks or papers by students, staff, or fellows at different stages of their research followed by a question and answer session. Lunch will be provided and all students, staff and fellows in the institute are welcome to attend.

Please note this series is restricted to students, staff and fellows of the Institute.

Sessions

2017 - 2018

Tuesday 31 October, 12.00 - 14.00, Room G21A

William St Clair (Senior Research Fellow, IES): ‘Lord Byron and Francis Hodgson, co-authors’

Making use of unpublished letters of Byron, to be presented on this occasion for the first time, this talk will discuss how the poet cooperated with his friend and patron Francis Hodgson, the editor of Juvenal and of the Monthly Review, in critiquing the then prevailing attitudes to travel writing. He will also discuss how the older man, in his own attempt to follow the tradition of Juvenal in giving advice to his intractable protegé, shows how little he understood the conventions of satire.  Copies of some of the actual books will be on show.

Tuesday 5 December, 12.00 - 14.00, Room 243

Aaron Rosenberg (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, IES): ‘Nitrogen Fixations from Conrad to Wells’

Before 1909, guano was the world’s major source of nitrogen, a scarce element that was essential for agriculture and the manufacture of explosives. After 1909, the ‘Haber process’ yielded an almost unlimited supply of nitrogen; it promised a utopian solution for eradicating world hunger, but it also produced the ammunition that fuelled both World Wars. This talk puts this discovery into a literary context, tracing a vision of utopian/apocalyptic technoscience through Joseph Conrad and H.G. Wells. I discuss how both authors confront ecological disasters that follow a ‘change of scale in human affairs’. 

Laurel Brake (Research Fellow, IES): Title TBD

Tuesday 30 January, 12.00 - 14.00, Room 243

Dr Alan McNee (Postdoctoral Research Fellow, IES): 'Isaac and Maggie, out on a spree: Trippers and Cook's Tourists in the late-Victorian Visitors' Book'

This paper will focus on my work on visitors’ books from inns and hotels, as well as museums, stately homes, monuments, and other buildings open to the public in the late nineteenth century. My research aims to uncover accounts of late-Victorian travel by visitors who did not possess the cultural capital required to publish books or articles. Visitors’ books were among the relatively few texts in which members of the lower middle classes who were enjoying new-found access to leisure time and the ability to travel could record their experiences and impressions. Often characterized as ‘trippers’, ‘Cookites’, or ‘Cockneys’, these new travellers had markedly different attitudes and approaches to their more socially elevated peers, and while some demonstrated an ethos of respectability and self-improvement, others were unabashed in their celebration of the pleasures of a ‘spree’ at the English seaside, Scottish Highlands or the Lake District. The surviving visitors’ books from this period, in archives and private collections scattered around the country, provide a rare unmediated and uncensored first-hand account of popular tourism in this period.  

Dr Christopher Ohge (Lecturer in Digital Approaches to Literature, IES): 'Digital Text Analyses of Melville's Marginalia in Shakespeare's Plays'

Many high-profile studies of “distant reading” to date have been aimed at broad swaths of social literary output oriented by regions and decades. Yet a lifetime of an author’s reading is one of the more fascinating big data sets. The analysis, quantification, and visualization of data relating to Herman Melville’s reading will illustrate complementary digital approaches to the study of reading evidence and literary influence, as well as illuminating starting points for in-depth study and close analysis. This presentation will focus on Melville’s marginalia in his 7-volume set of the Hilliard, Gray Dramatic Works of William Shakespeare (1837). He read these plays carefully before and during his composition of Moby-Dick. Scholars have long known this, and it is generally uncontroversial that his reading Shakespeare––in addition to Hawthorne’s influence––helped to shape Moby-Dick into a masterpiece. However, using the methodologies of digital text analysis, coupled with close readings of the marginalia, yields surprising new insights into Shakespeare’s effect on Melville’s thinking and style.

Summer 2018:

Weds 9th May: Yvonne Lewis and Michael Slater

Yvonne Lewis (MRes HoB supervised by David Pearson):

‘Hidden Hardwicke’

An examination of the collecting habits of the 1st Earl of Hardwicke from various sources (provenance in remaining books at the family home, Wimpole Hall, plus the catalogues for known 19th century sales).  I aim to place Harwicke in context with other early/mid- 18th century collectors.

Professor Michael Slater (IES, RF):

’Editing Unfamiliar Dickens’

I am editing for OUP’s ongoing Clarendon Dickens (inaugurated 1966) five pieces of short fiction by Dickens that remained uncollected at his death and have, with one exception, since received little critical or scholarly attention.

 

Weds 16th May: Sara Charles and Jane Roberts

Sara Charles (MRes HoB supervised by Pamela Robinson):

'The martyrology of London, British Library, Cotton MS Claudius D. III'   

A textual and palaeographic overview of a martyrology from a thirteenth-century manuscript that belonged to a Cistercian nunnery in Hampshire. 

Professor Jane Roberts (IES, RF)

Guthlac on a roll: BL, Harley MS Y. 6

Guthlac, a Mercian royal and successful warlord, lived as a hermit at Crowland for fifteen years, where he died in 714. This we know from the Felix’s Vita S. Guthlaci, written within the next few decades. Later Latin writings of substance include simplified versions of Felix’s vita by Orderic Vitalis (1110-24), who visited Crowland, as did William of Malmesbury (c.1125); later in the century a Crowland manuscript now in Douai records Miracula and a Translatio. There was a mrked flurry of activity in early thirteenth century, sparked off by Abbot Henry de Longchamp (1190–1237), as like as not the time-frame for the Harley Roll.

 

Weds 30th May: Gillian Neale and Jad Adams

Gillian Neale (MA HoB supervised by Andrew Nash):

'On the trail of Annie S. Swan: writer, editor and brand name'

Annie S. Swan, a popular Scottish novelist and short story writer of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century has been largely over-looked by the academic community, yet she achieved great public acclaim in her day as the putative editor of The Woman at Home, an illustrated monthly feature and fiction magazine, sub-titled Annie. S. Swan’s Magazine. This session will present a research framework for an examination of Swan as a example of a high-achieving journalist and author and brand name of the Victorian and Edwardian period.

Jad Adams (IES, RF)

'Decadent Women: Lives of the Lost Generation'

 A biographically-based study of literary women of the 1890s who were critically acclaimed at their time but have subsequently been neglected.

 

Weds 6th June: Luna Liu and Stephen Thompson

Luna Liu (IES PhD candidate supervised by Dr Andrew Nash)

George Allen & Unwin, the Finance Side of the Story

My research examines the intersection between the publishing output and the wider business context of the 20th-century British publishing house George Allen & Unwin, between 1914-1968. At this stage, my talk will concentrate on the business side of the story, which includes Unwin’s non-book business interests as well as the firm’s financial history. Making use of the financial records preserved in the company archive, I am attempting to analyse the publisher’s performance as a business concern during the major part if 20th-century, by isolating the firm’s operational income (proceeds from publishing activities) from its total income; and, in doing so, if possible, to untangle Unwin’s personal/family finances from those of his publishing business. My talk will conclude with possible aspects/angles for studying the firm’s publishing output, as I move on to the next stage of my research.

Steve Thompson (IES PhD candidate supervised by Professor Rick Rylance)

Informing, motivating and diverting the citizen-soldier: The provision and use of books, pamphlets, newspapers and periodicals by the British Army in the Second World War (1939-1945)

From September 1939, a huge influx of conscripted civilians created a British citizen-army of 2.2 million men that required moulding into a disciplined and effective fighting force. However, following the retreat from Dunkirk (May 1940) most conscripts waited to defend Britain against an attack that never came and many became bored, mutinous and indifferent to the war. The army leadership addressed these issues through new education and welfare programmes which required an extensive range of printed material in order to educate the citizen-soldier in the cause he was fighting for and entertain him when he was off duty. The paper will provide a brief overview of this topic before examining two areas of current research – army newspapers and army education pamphlets – in more detail.

 

2016 - 2017

Wednesday, 12 April, 12:00 - 14:00, Room G26

  • Sharon Ellis: "The ecstasy and the agony: turning private passion into rigorous research and academic writing: The transition of humanist script into roman type"
  • Margaret Joachim
  • Tony Russ
  • Christianna Thompson

Wednesday, 10 May, 12:00 - 14:00, Room G26

  • Matthew Fay: 'The Fay Archive: Towards a Copy Specific Analysis of Key Research items by WB Yeats, Lady Gregory and JM Synge'

I plan to catalogue and introduce a new archive of interest to scholars of Irish Theatre History and the work of W.B. Yeats. This archive belonged to Frank Fay (1870-1931), actor and producer, who with his brother, helped to found the Abbey Theatre, still Ireland’s national theatre, and one of the first such in the world. Using provenance analysis, I will try to explain how some of Yeats plays reached a recognisable final form and the contribution of the Fays to this process.

  • Carey Karmel: 'Prufrock as Metaphor of Displacement'

Eliot writes his break-through poem 'The Love Song of J.Alfred Prufrock' in three different locations: Cambridge, Paris and Munich.  I examine the composition of the poem through the lens of  psychogeography to develop through the analysis of locale a fresh critical understanding of the poem. 

  • Grace Touzel: 'A Hardback Herbarium: Establishing Provenance in Specimen Volumes at the Natural History Museum'

Historical specimen collections, such as those held by the NHM, give scientists valuable information on biodiversity, geographic dispersal, and evolution. However, although studied intensively by natural historians, the 330 volumes of Sir Hans Sloane’s herbarium (or Horti sicci), have never been examined as physical objects or analysed from the perspective of a book historian. The research proposed for this paper seeks to address this, using physical characteristics and archival resources to determine the provenance of volumes from their collation up until the present day. 

Wednesday, 7 June, 12:00 - 14:00, Room 349

  • Bonnie Walker
  • Sadaf Fahim: 'That Divine Stare': Fitzgerald, The Devil, and Rupert Brook
    This paper argues that Rupert Brooke appears to have played a more extensive and lasting role in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s artistic development than is currently acknowledged. Although there has been little or no consideration of Brooke’s non-fiction writing in relation to Fitzgerald, I have found evidence that some key passages significantly influenced Fitzgerald’s thinking.
  • Martina Mastandrea: "Echoes of the Silent Movie Age: F. Scott Fitzgerald on the 1920s Silver Screen." 
    I'll present a power point with images of posters and other materials related to the subject of my thesis, the six silent film adaptations of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work that were released between 1920 and 1926.