Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group: 12 February 2020 12-1.30pm

Wednesday 12 February, 12-1.30pm

Keynes Library, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square.

‘Skill and Narrative Form in Early Eighteenth-Century Adventure Fiction’

Robert Stearn

In this session we will look at how a passage from Defoe’s The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (1719), is treated in an early abridgement of the novel, undertaken for Edward Midwinter by the jobbing printer Thomas Gent, and published in 1722. Readings from these two books will be compared with a brief excerpt from The Adventures, and Surprizing Deliverances, of James Dubourdieu, and his Wife (1719) – a short novel of unknown authorship, published within months of the first two volumes of Robinson Crusoe and addressed to the same world of maritime adventure as Defoe’s fiction. The first of many similar works, Dubourdieu sought to capitalise on the success of Crusoe, while offering an intriguing revision of Defoe’s narrative poetics and ideological investments. A number of the men involved in printing and selling it would go on to publish and – in the case of Willian Chetwood – write further volumes of adventure fiction.

Taking together Defoe’s continuation of his novel, a re-written version of Crusoe, and a newly-composed piece of prose fiction that was advertised as ‘proper to be Bound up with Robinson Crusoe’, we can ask: what might the alternations made to Crusoe by abridgements and supplements tell us about eighteenth-century ways of reading in general, and about critical assessments of Defoe’s fiction in particular? How might the formal choices of Defoe, Gent, and the author of Dubourdieu  – including their decisions about the representation of speech and audience and about the segmentation of narrative episodes – produce or reflect different concepts of skill and practical knowledge? How are these ideas about skill shaped by their elaboration in relation to imagined colonial violence? And, how should we understand the place of commercial and material constraints in all these choices?

Robert Stearn is a PhD student in English at Birkbeck, working on skill and service in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. His thesis draws on a range of verbal and visual sources – visual satire, material culture, life-writing by employers and servants, poetry, and prose fiction – in order to chart the changing shapes of skill and its everyday, non-artisanal and non-professional, consistency.

Readings: if you would like to attend this Reading Group, please email Kate Retford, at k.retford@bbk.ac.uk, to be sent a PDF copy of these texts

  1. Daniel Defoe, The Farther Adventures of Robinson Crusoe (London, 1719), pp. 120-24.
  2. The Life And most Surprizing Adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, Mariner (London, 1722), pp. 252-55.
  3. ‘Ambrose Evans’, The Adventures, and Surprizing Deliverances, of James Dubourdieu and his Wife (London, 1719), pp. 1-16
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Georges Bataille Essay Reading Group – Spring Term 2020

All are welcome to attend the newly arranged Bataille Essay Reading Group this term.

For more details please email Chris Milton on: cmilto02@mail.bbk.ac.uk.

Suggestions for essays to discuss in subsequent meetings are welcome. We may move from Bataille’s essays to longer texts in subsequent terms.

Wednesday 22 January 2020

7-9pm

Room 106

The first essay to discuss will be The Passage from Animal to Man and the Birth of Art, which can be found in the volume Bataille, Georges, The Cradle of Humanity: Prehistoric Art and Culture, Zone Books, 2009. Photocopies of the essay can be picked up from Anthony Shepherd  on request.

Future dates:

Wednesday 26 February 2020: 7-9pm, Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

Wednesday 25 March 2020:7-9pm Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

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CFP: Institute of Modern Languages Research Graduate Forum, Senate House 2017-18

With the new term approaching, we are glad to invite you to join the 2017-2018 Graduate Forum hosted by the Institute of Modern Languages Research, at Senate House, London.

Each session requires two speakers, who can be from any subject related to the study of modern languages and cultures. Graduate students from departments other than Modern Languages (e.g. Anthropology, History, History of Art, Film and Media, etc.) and students working on comparative projects involving one or more Germanic or Romance language are particularly welcome to join the group to develop interdisciplinary links.

Each presentation should last roughly 20 minutes followed by a Q&A session with free wine and nibbles. The Graduate Forum is a friendly and informal space for postgraduates to present work-in-progress, or practice for that big upcoming conference, and get constructive feedback from peers across languages and institutions.

The dates for 2017-2018 are as follows (all 6-7:30pm in Senate House):

  • 12 October 2017
  • 16 Nov 2017
  • 7 Dec 2017
  • 11 Jan 2018
  • 8 Feb 2018
  • 8 March 2018
  • 12 April 2018
  • 10 May 2018

Please contact forum.igrs@sas.ac.uk if you are interested in presenting a paper. Please include a working title/brief outline of the subject of your presentation, as well as an institutional affiliation and a short bio. Please also state whether any dates are preferable (we will try to be accommodating but cannot guarantee first choice for everyone).

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Best wishes,

 

Guido, Thomas and Yejun

IMLR Grad Forum Co-ordinator

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Birkbeck 19 Century Reading Group 2017-18

Please see details below of the Birkbeck 19 Century Reading Group 2017-18

October 3rd: Middlemarch (Eliot) Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

November 7th: Portrait of a Lady (James) Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

December 5th: Little Women (Alcott) Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

January 9th: The Woodlanders (Hardy) Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

February 6th: Ruth (Gaskell) Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

March 6th: Valentine Vox, the Ventriloquist: His Life and Adventures (Henry Cockton) Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

April 10th: New Grub Street (Gissing) Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

May 1st: Charlotte Mew poems and short stories Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

June 5th: The Way We Live Now (Trollope) Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

July 3rd: Anna Karenina (Tolstoy) Room 106, 43 Gordon Square

For further information please email C19@bbk.ac.uk

 

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Architecture Space and Society Centre Reading Group 2016-17

Architecture Space and Society Centre Reading Group – 2016-17

Birkbeck’s Architecture Space and Society Centre reading group, which had its first meeting in May, is a forum for wide ranging discussion of architecture, space and society, across periods, geographies and disciplines.

Each session is led by an ASSC member (or 2-3 members), who will assign preparatory tasks.  These will normally be texts to read, but preparation could also include a building, site, or set of images to look at, for instance.

All academics and research students at Birkbeck with an interest in the themes discussed are welcome to participate. We also extend a warm welcome to ASSC speakers from beyond Birkbeck, who are encouraged to invite their research students.

These are the dates and names for 2016-17.  Specifics about themes and texts, etc will be sent out closer to the time.  Scans of texts will be available.

All meetings are on Thursday, 3-4.30pm.

8 December: Leslie Topp – Keynes Library
9 February: Peter Fane-Saunders – B02, 43 Gordon Square
16 March: Mark Crinson – Keynes Library
11 May: Lesley McFadyen – G02, 43 Gordon Square
15 June: Tag Gronberg – Keynes Library

For details of the reading group and the texts/themes discussed in the first session, please see – http://www.bbk.ac.uk/assc/reading-group/

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