28 August 2013This is my last week at McGill University, my intellectual home for the last eight years. Thanks to all the colleagues, friends and students who made my time here so enjoyable. Next month I'll be starting my fellowship at the Institute of Advanced Study at Durham University, and then in January I'll move to the University of Edinburgh full time.
9 August 2013Check out a new set of fifteen video interviews with leading figures in the field of Book History on the Interacting with Print website.
22 July 2013Just back from the annual conference of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing (SHARP) in Philadelphia. Mark Algee-Hewitt and I presented the Book History BiblioGraph in public for the first time. There seemed to be a lot of enthusiasm for the project, and the feedback we got was very good. Thanks to everyone who came to look at this new tool.
19 June 2013In 2014, I will be moving to the University of Edinburgh, where I have been appointed Reader in English Literature and Director of the Centre for the History of the Book. I've greatly enjoyed the last eight years in Montreal, but I'm happy to be moving back to the UK and I'm excited about the new opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.
27 May 2013Next week I'll be in Venice for the joint NAVSA/BAVS/AVSA conference on Victorian Studies. I'll be giving a paper and taking part in a seminar called 'Knowledge on the Mantelpiece'. You can see the seminar papers here. The seminar is being organised by Alan Rauch, who has also set up a blog about it here.
9 May 2013New Publication. My article '"We Solemnly Proscribe this Poem": Performative Utterances in the Romantic Periodicals' has appeared in the European Romantic Review. In it, I argue that many of the characteristic procedures of periodical writing in the Romantic period, such as accusing, ridiculing, insulting, libelling, condemning, judging, applauding, indicting, recommending, advising, or censuring, are best understood as performative utterances. Once we recognise this, we can see the periodical writers grappling with questions of authority, style and accountability, as they formulate a self-authorising style that will enforce their pronouncements. If your institution subscribes, you can access the article here; there are also a limited number of copies available to non-subscribers here.
7 May 2013Today I'm giving a lecture for the Friends of the McGill Library, on 'The History of Celebrity'. The lecture takes place in the Colgate Room of the Rare Books and Special Collections Division, McLennan Library, at 5.30pm. Friends of the Library may RSVP to 514-398-4681 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The library has produced this rather nice poster to advertise my talk.
1 May 2013Yesterday the Interacting with Print group met for its annual Away Day in Montreal. We discussed our programme of events for next year, reviewed the progress of our different research projects, and made plans to apply for a renewal of our funding from FQRSC.
22 April 2013Here's a picture of me introducing Alberto Manguel at the Faculty Club of McGill University last month. He gave a superbly wide-ranging, erudite and compassionate lecture about 'The Uses of Curiosity', suggesting that curiosity has always been divided into 'good' and 'bad' curiosity, and that the division has often been made along gendered lines.
12 April 2013Last night I joined a fascinating group of storytellers at an event called 'Ten Stories (and more) about Markets, Creativity and Transformative Possibilities', organised by the Institute for the Public Life of Art and Ideas and the Marcel Desautels Institute for Integrated Management. The event brought together people working in management and the arts within and beyond the academy. The other speakers were: Nancy Adler (S. Bronfman Chair in Management), Darin Barney (Canada Research Chair in Technology and Citizenship), Tyrone Benskin (MP for Jeanne-Le Ber and former Director, Black Theatre Workshop), Bettina Forget (Artist and Owner/Director, Visual Voice Gallery), David Brackett (Associate Professor and Area Chair, Music History), Henry Mintzberg (John Cleghorn Professor of Management Studies (Strategy and Organization)), Roger Parent (President, Realisations), Jui Ramaprasad (Assistant Professor, Desautels Faculty of Management), and Roy Surette (Artistic Director, Centaur Theatre).
18 March 2013This Wednesday, I'll be introducing Alberto Manguel when he gives the keynote lecture at the symposium organised by McGill's Rare Books and Special Collections Division called "Meetings with Books". His lecture is called "The Uses of Curiosity" and it takes place at 5.30pm on Wednesday 20 March in the Ballroom of the Faculty Club on McTavish Street.
14 March 2013Earlier this week I gave a presentation at the Dept of English Faculty Colloquium at McGill about the work of the Interacting with Print research group. Here's part of my presentation.
28 February 2013The Interacting with Print research group is hosting a conference on 'Interpersonal Print' on 21-22 March in Arts 160 at McGill University. The speakers are: Angela Borchert (Western), Michael Gamer (University of Pennsylvania), Denise Gigante (Stanford University), Matthew Grenby (University of Lancaster), Leslie Howsam (Windsor), Jon Klancher (Carnegie Mellon), Jon Mee (Warwick University), and Catherine Sama (University of Rhode Island). For more details, including the schedule and abstracts, see here.
4 February 2013I'm heading to Toronto later this week to give a talk at the University of Toronto's Work in Nineteenth-Century Studies forum (WINCS). I'll be discussing photographic illustrations to Wordsworth's poems, and how they structure the reader's/viewer's experience of time. My paper is called 'Illustration, Renovation and Obsolesence: Photographic Illustrations of Wordsworth' and it's at 5pm on Thursday in the Jackman Humanities Building, room 616. You can see more details here.
29 January 2013New Publication. My essay on 'Blackwood's "Personalities"' appears in a new collection of essays called Romanticism and Blackwood's Magazine: An Unprecedented Phenomenon, edited by Robert Morrison and Daniel S. Roberts. This is the first collection of essays devoted to the place of Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine in the Romantic period. It includes essays by almost all the scholars who have worked on Blackwood's in recent years and should be a landmark publication in the modern reassessment of Blackwood's and Romantic periodicals more generally. My essay is about the discourse of 'personalities', or ad hominem attacks, in the magazine's early issues. I reconstruct the debate about personalities in the Romantic periodical press, and argue that Blackwood's sought to transform this debate by offering a radical new account of the relationship between authors and their works.
16 January 2013Interacting with Print held a graduate work in progress symposium yesterday, with excellent papers from four graduate students working on aspects of book history in Europe and America between 1700 and 1900. You can see abstracts here.
7 January 2013Just back from the MLA in Boston, where I took part in a great roundtable discussion on 'Romantic Media Studies' organised by Lauren Neefe and Yohei Igarashi. Also taking part were Miranda Burgess, Mary Helen Dupree, Kevis Goodman, Celeste Langan, and Maureen McLane. You can see more about the roundtable, including our preliminary statements, on the "mediageist" website Lauren and Yohei put together.
7 January 2013Notes and Queries has published a review of my edited collection of essays Romanticism and Celebrity Culture, by John Gardner. He writes: "this collection of twelve essays examines a period when 'celebrity' shifted from being something that you possessed to something you could be. [...] the significance of this book is that it strikingly blends 'interdisciplinary breadth with historical specificity' by including essays on fashion, theatre, music, boxing, art, literature, and just being famous." He concludes: "The strength of this collection is in its diversity and in the fact that each essay presents new information and subjects. In some ways it is a fascinating commonplace book, diverse, rich, and full of memorable insights." You can see the whole review here (doi: 10.1093/notesj/gjs265).
Romanticism and Celebrity Culture
Byron's Romantic Celebrity
Blackwood's Magazine, 1817-1825