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.


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Making use of unpublished letters of Byron, to be presented on this occasion for the first time, this talk will discuss how the poet cooperated with his friend and patron Francis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)

Tuesday 6 March, 12.00 - 14.00, Room 243

Tuesday 17 April, 12.00 - 14.00, Room 243

Tuesday 22 May, 12.00 - 14.00, Room 234


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.