Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies – Autumn Term 2019

Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies

18 November 2019

Kirstie Blair (Strathclyde), ‘Excelsior! Inspirational Verse and the Victorian Industrial Worker’.

Our first Birkbeck Forum for Nineteenth-Century Studies event of the new academic year takes place at 7.30 on Monday 18th November 2019, in room 106 of the School of Arts building, 43 Gordon Square. Professor Kirstie Blair (Strathclyde) will give a paper titled: ”Excelsior! Inspirational Verse and the Victorian Industrial Worker’.

This paper uses research from the ‘Piston, Pen & Press’ project to discuss the enormous popularity of inspirational, motivating verse, a genre usually critically disregarded. It examines the role such poetry played in the cultures of working-class self-improvement and mutual improvement, for both working-class writers and readers.

Prof Kirstie Blair is the author of numerous articles/chapters and three books on Victorian poetry and its wider impacts on Victorian culture: her latest study, Working Verse in Victorian Scotland: Poetry, Press and Community, has just been published by OUP. She is the PI on a 2-year AHRC project, ‘Piston, Pen & Press: Literary Cultures in the Industrial Workplace’, on which she works closely with a number of industrial heritage museums and creative partners. She is currently running a series of MOOCs on ‘Working Lives’, exploring the history of Victorian workers on the railways, in coal-mining, and in textile factories and mills.

The session is free and all are welcome, but since the venue has limited space it will be first come, first seated.

Forthcoming Events

Alison Booth (Virginia): ‘Illustrating the Life and Complete Works of George Eliot: Homes and Story-Worlds.’

Wednesday 5th February 2020, 6.00pm. The Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square

 

Deborah Lutz (Louisville): ‘Marginalia and Other Forms of Graffiti.’

Wednesday 11th March, 2020, 6.00pm. The Keynes Library, 43 Gordon Square.

For more information on the Centre and its activities, see www.cncs.bbk.ac.uk

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New issue of 19: The Arts and Feeling

19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century, 23 (2016)

The Arts and Feeling – Issue 23

This issue of 19 on ‘The Arts and Feeling’ explores the ways in which Victorian writers, artists, composers, sculptors, and architects imagined, conceptualized, and represented emotion. Its diverse articles respond to and extend recent interdisciplinary work on emotions, sentimentality, and the senses, locating such work within wider debates about the physiology and psychology of aesthetic perception, the historicization of aesthetic response, and the role of media specificity in the production of affect. What were the expressive codes and conventions that resonated for the Victorians? And what of the terminology used today in academic discourse to locate, recognize, and describe feeling? ‘The Arts and Feeling’ interrogates such questions in relation to canonical artworks, like John Everett Millais’s Autumn Leaves or William Holman Hunt’s The Awakening Conscience. It investigates the role of feeling in religious visual and material culture, and in John Ruskin’s vision of architecture as an emotional art; it looks at Victorian exhibition culture and the ‘hurried’ nature of aesthetic response, and at women viewing art and the gendering of perception. Vernon Lee offers us ‘historic emotion’, while George Eliot’s The Mill of the Floss makes us think about feeling hungry. Richard Dadd’s Passions series stages interaction between madness, visual culture, and theatricality; and the Aesthetic Movement provides opportunity to reflect on the relationship between art and music and how, together, they both produce and repress emotion.

Victoria Mills

Introduction: Curating Feeling

Kate Flint

Feeling, Affect, Melancholy, Loss: Millais’s Autumn Leaves and the Siege of Sebastopol

Kate Nichols

Diana or Christ?: Seeing and Feeling Doubt in Late-Victorian Visual Culture

Sophie Ratcliffe

The Trouble with Feeling Now: Thomas Woolner, Robert Browning, and the Touching Case of Constance and Arthur

Lesa Scholl

‘For the cake was so pretty’: Tactile Interventions in Taste; or, Having One’s Cake and Eating It in The Mill on the Floss

Tim Barringer

Art, Music, and the Emotions in the Aesthetic Movement

Karen Lisa Burns

The Awakening Conscience: Christian Sentiment, Salvation, and Spectatorship in Mid-Victorian Britain

Karen Stock

Richard Dadd’s Passions and the Treatment of Insanity

Katherine Wheeler

‘They cannot choose but look’: Ruskin and Emotional Architecture

Sarah Barnette

Vernon Lee’s Composition of ‘The Virgin of the Seven Daggers’: Historic Emotion and the Aesthetic Life

Meaghan Clarke

On Tempera and Temperament: Women, Art, and Feeling at the Fin de Siècle

To download the articles, see: 19 – The Arts and Feeling

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Victorian Supernatural Reading Group Autumn Term 2015 details

Our informal, student-run group sets out to consider different ways in which notions of the supernatural were tied in with Victorian ideology. Our definition of the ‘supernatural’ is very broad and we always welcome reading suggestions.

Our first session this term will take place at 7.30pm on Thursday 19 November in room 112, 43 Gordon Square, and is entitled ‘Strangers on a Train: Fear and loathing in Victorian travel fiction’.

We will be reading the following stories, both of which can be accessed online:
– Rhoda Broughton, ‘Under the Cloak’ (1873): http://gaslight.mtroyal.ab.ca/undrclok.htm
– Katherine Mansfield, ‘The Little Governess’ (1920): http://digital.library.upenn.edu/women/mansfield/bliss/governess.html

Students can join our mailing list by writing to victoriansupernatural@gmail.com. We have a Facebook group as well (Victorian Supernatural Reading Group).

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