Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Reading Group: 13 Feb 12pm Room 106

Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Reading Group: led by Anna Jamieson, PhD Student in History of Art,  Birkbeck

‘The Sentimental Look in the Asylum: Henry Mackenzie and Sophie von La Roche at Bedlam

Wednesday 13th February, 12-2pm, room 106, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square

Anna Jamieson will introduce two texts which describe visiting Bethlem Royal Hospital, commonly known as Bedlam, during the latter decades of the eighteenth century: Henry Mackenzie’s novel The Man of Feeling (1771) and Sophie von la Roche’s diary entry of her visit in 1786 (attached).

By comparing a literary and first-hand account of a visit to Bethlem, this session will consider the ways in which eighteenth-century tourist practices surrounding medical sites (or as Mackenzie calls them, ‘sights’) were informed by preconceived behavioural ideals. Spanning a period when Bethlem had recently put an end to its infamous practice of allowing the general public to view the mad, these sources mark a crucial turning point in the display of human suffering. Situating these texts amongst a number of key contemporary themes, discourses and debates – including emerging behavioural codes and the notion of performance within certain medical spaces, and how wider concepts such as detachment, disinterestedness and consumption may have impacted a visit and subsequent response – this session will frame Bethlem as an eighteenth-century ‘Dark Tourist’ destination, aligned with, but singular from, other spectacular sites along London’s tourist trail.

The session aims to generate further discussion about the relationship between suffering and spectacle. We will consider how wider sympathetic discourses impacted viewing society’s ‘unfortunates’, which in turn led to a proliferation of texts which instructed individuals ‘how to look’ at suffering.

  • Henry Mackenzie, The Man of Feeling (Berwick upon Tweed: John Taylor, 1800), pp.51-61
  • Sophie von La Roche, Sophie in London 1786: being the diary of Sophie v. la Roche. Translated from the German, with an introductory essay, by Clare Williams; With a foreword by G.M. Trevelyan.(London: J.Cape, 1933), pp.161-173

All very welcome! Please  contact Kate Retford – k.retford@bbk.ac.uk – for any further information.

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Birkbeck 18th Century Group – Autumn Term 2016 Events

Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group, Autumn 2016

Tuesday 29 November,

6.00-9.00,

Keynes Library

Dr Kate Tunstall (Worcester College, Oxford) ‘Magots and Pagodes: The Politics and Aesthetics of Luxury in Eighteenth-Century France’

Chaired by Dr Ann Lewis

[link to illustration:]

Abstract: In this paper, which is part of a larger project on Diderot’s materialisms, I focus on Diderot’s various writings on luxury and, in particular, on the numerous and rather remarkable references he makes to magots and pagodes, objects of chinoiserie, one of which can be seen, for instance, in Boucher’s Woman on a daybed (Frick, 1743).

Bio: Kate Tunstall is University Lecturer in French at the University of Oxford and Fellow of Worcester College. She is the author of Blindness and Enlightenment (2011); she edited Self-Evident Truths? Human Rights and the Enlightenment (2012); she and Caroline Warman translated Diderot’s Le Neveu de Rameau together for the open access multimedia edition, which won the 2014 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies Prize for Best Digital Resource. Most recently, her and Katie Scott’s new edition and translation of Diderot’s Regrets sur ma vieille robe de chambre appeared in the Oxford Art Journal.

Birkbeck 18C Reading Group:

Wednesday 7 December

12.00-2.00, Keynes Library

Dr Katharina Boehme (Regensburg) will introduce Vetusta Monumenta (1747) and selections from Stukeley’s Itinerarium Curiosum (1724).

http://dl.mospace.umsystem.edu/mu/islandora/object/mu%3A478

The session will consider three plates reproduced in Vetusta Monumenta, published by the Society of Antiquaries in 1747 in the first of seven volumes of large-scale, highly-finished copper-plate engravings of many different kinds of antiquities, printed between 1747 and 1906. The reading will consist of excerpts and illustrations from two works by William Stukeley (1687-1765). Stukeley was a leading figure in antiquarian debates in the first half of the eighteenth century and the Society of Antiquary’s first secretary. The publication of Itinerarium Curiosum (1724) marked the rise of the ‘domestic tour’ – a compound of travelogue, chorography and guidebook. Stonehenge: A Temple Restor’d to the Druids (1740) presents the results of Stukeley’s fieldwork at Stonehenge and suggests that Stonehenge had been erected as a place of worship by ancient British druids.

Katharina Boehm is Assistant Professor in English Literature at the University of Regensburg. Her main research interests are in British literature of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and in the history of science. Her first monograph, Charles Dickens and the Sciences of Childhood: Popular Medicine, Child Health and Victorian Culture (Palgrave Macmillan) was published in 2013. Her current project explores antiquarian cultures of the long eighteenth century and their impact on the novel and other contemporary prose genres such as the domestic tour and the historical romance. She is currently co-editing an annotated digital edition of the antiquarian plate book Vetusta Monumenta and a special issue of Word & Image entitled “Mediating the Materiality of the Past, 1700-1930”.

Contact Luisa Calè for the readings (l.cale@bbk.ac.uk)

 

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