London 18th-Century Postgraduate Reading Group: 10th November 2016


Image credit: William Daniell, ‘Near Beachy Head’ (etching with aquatint), 1823. London: British Museum, Department of Prints & Drawings. © Trustees of the British Museum.

London 18th-Century Postgraduate Reading Group, 10th November – Everyday Geology in Beachy Head (1807)

Join us for this term’s first session of the London 18th-Century Postgraduate Reading Group. We will be meeting  3.30 – 5 pm on Thursday 10th November, in the Small Committee Room, King’s Building at the Strand Campus of King’s College London.

The loose theme of the reading group this year is ‘the everyday’. On the 10th, we will be looking at Charlotte Smith’s posthumously-published Beachy Head, together with a recent article on the poem by Kevis Goodman, which argues that Smith uses geology as a means through which to think about everyday experience and ‘comprehend the ground of Beachy Head as simultaneously local and global’. The readings are:

Charlotte Smith, Beachy Head (1807)

Kevis Goodman, ‘Conjectures on Beachy Head: Charlotte Smith’s Geological Poetics and the Ground of the Present’, ELH, 81.3 (2014), 983-1006.

A text of Beachy Head can be viewed here; Goodman’s article is available here.

Topics for discussion might include: Goodman argues that the kinds of quotidian experience she is discussing (and Smith is writing) have complex historical conditions of possibility; how useful is her approach for thinking about the history mediated by writing, or the situation of writing in history? How productive is it to think about literature through the category of the everyday, or a ‘complex historical present’? How does natural history / science figure in Goodman’s account of Smith’s poetry?

The London 18th-Century Postgraduate Reading Group is a student-run reading group organised in collaboration with the Centre for Enlightenment Studies at King’s and Birkbeck Eighteenth-Century Research Group. Staff and students at all London universities are very welcome. The reading group concentrates on a different theme each academic year, with an emphasis on primary texts and recent criticism. For more informations, view the reading group’s blog.

If you have any queries about the readings or the reading group, please contact Robert Stearn ( or Jess Frith (

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